Ecosystem effects of integrating human-made runoff-harvesting systems into natural dryland watersheds Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Abstract Runoff-harvesting systems (RHSs) design to collect runoff water and nutrients from small rocky watersheds into ponds bounded by soil dikes (termed limans ) that are used as an afforestation grove. Our study aimed at quantifying the influence of RHSs using two indicators: soil quality (SQ) and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in a small watershed scale. The SQ index was estimated by 13 physical, chemical, and biological soil properties. ANPP was evaluated by a spaceborne-derived vegetation index of total biomass (woody and annual) and field measurements of annuals. The study was conducted in four small RHS watersheds, as well as in a reference watershed without a liman , located in the Negev Desert, Israel. Our findings are: (1) there is a significantly higher soil organic matter, total water content, and phosphorus values in all the limans than in the other locations (upstream and downstream area); and (2) significantly higher SQ and total ANPP values in the liman s than in the downstream areas, amplifying the overall watershed fertility and enhance ecosystem services. We conclude that integrating RHS as a fertility island, be adjusted their size and location, can be essential techniques to sustain ecosystem services and maintain the natural ecosystem in the watershed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017