SOIL LOSS FROM EROSION IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS IN KARST REGIONS OF MAYABEQUE PROVINCE, CUBA

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ABSTRACT

To date, neither the method nor diagnostic indices employed in Cuba to evaluate erosion of Red Ferralitic or Ferrasol Rhodic soil in karstic regions has taken into consideration morphogenesis in such geo-ecosystems or their relationship with erosion, which has led to sequential degradation of the most productive soils in Cuba. We explore the case for considering A + B horizon depth as one of the basic indices for evaluating the severity of erosion. There is no methodology available for estimating the volume of soil lost through karstic absorption forms (dolines). This article forecasts loss of soil cover using a model which estimates losses of 268·52 to 450·52 mm y−1 for future scenarios (periods of 25 and 50 years). A mean loss rate of 1·07 mm y−1 was found in areas cultivated as pastureland during the period from 1986 to 2009, which exceeds the tolerance thresholds proposed by the Universal Soil Loss Equation and the soil formation rates estimated for limestone in Cuba and it is likely there is with a marked tendency for this to increase. These results should be interpreted as a first estimate for setting loss tolerances as there is no similar experience with own data for a more precise definition of the erosion of soil in karstic regions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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