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Quantification of sediment source contributions in two paired catchments of the Brazilian Pampa using conventional and alternative fingerprinting approaches

Abstract : The knowledge of the contribution of sediment sources to river networks is a prerequisite to understand the impact of land use change on sediment yield. We calculated the relative contributions of sediment sources in two paired catchments, one with commercial eucalyptus plantations (0.83 km$^2$) and the other with grassland used for livestock farming (1.10 km$^2$), located in the Brazilian Pampa biome, using different combinations of conventional [geochemical (G), radionuclide (R) and stable isotopes and organic matter properties (S)] and alternative tracer properties [spectrocolorimetric visible‐based‐colour parameters (V)]. Potential sediment sources evaluated were stream channel, natural grassland and oat pasture fields in the grassland catchment, and stream channel, unpaved roads and eucalyptus plantation in the eucalyptus catchment. The results show that the best combination of tracers to discriminate the potential sources was using GSRV tracers in the grassland catchment, and using GSRV, GSV and GS tracers in the eucalyptus catchment. In all these cases, samples were 100% correctly classified in their respective groups. Considering the best tracers results (GSRV) in both catchments, the sediment source contributions estimated in the catchment with eucalyptus plantations was 63, 30 and 7% for stream channel, eucalyptus stands and unpaved roads, respectively. In the grassland catchment, the source contributions to sediment were 84, 14 and 2% for natural grassland, stream channel and oats pasture fields, respectively. The combination of these source apportionment results with the annual sediment loads monitored during a 3‐year period demonstrates that commercial eucalyptus plantations supplied approximately 10 times less sediment (0.1 ton ha$^{−1}$ year$^{−1}$) than the traditional land uses in this region, that is, 1.0 ton ha$^{−1}$ year$^{−1}$ from grassland and 0.3 ton ha$^{−1}$ year$^{−1}$ from oats pasture fields. These results demonstrate the potential of combining conventional and alternative approaches to trace sediment sources originating from different land uses in this region. Furthermore, they show that well‐managed forest plantations may be less sensitive to erosion than grassland used for intensive livestock farming, which should be taken into account to promote the sustainable use of land in this region of South America.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 7:39:54 AM
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Mirian Lago Valente, José Miguel Reichert, Cédric Legout, Tales Tiecher, Rosane Barbosa Lopes Cavalcante, et al.. Quantification of sediment source contributions in two paired catchments of the Brazilian Pampa using conventional and alternative fingerprinting approaches. Hydrological Processes, Wiley, 2020, nc, pp.13768. ⟨10.1002/hyp.13768⟩. ⟨cea-02569258v2⟩

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