Smetanová, A., Le Bissonnais, Y., Raclot, D., Nunes, J.P., Licciardello, F., Le Bouteiller, C., Latron, J., Rodríguez, Caballero, E., Mathys, N., Klotz, S., Mekki, I., Gallart, F., Solé Benet, A., Pérez Gallego, N., Andrieux, P., Moussa, R., Planchon, O., Santos, J.M., Alshihabi, O., Chikhaoui, M. & Follain, S. (2018) Temporal variability and time compression of sediment yield in small Mediterranean catchments: impacts for land and water management.Soil Use and Management, 34(3), 388-403. DOI:10.1111/sum.12437 (IF2018 1,958; Q3 Soil Science)
Increased soil erosion, pressure on agricultural land, and climate change highlight the need for new management methods to mitigate soil loss. Management strategies should utilize comparable data sets of long‐term soil erosion monitoring across multiple environments. Adaptive soil erosion management in regions with intense precipitation requires an understanding of inter‐annual variability in sediment yield (SY) at regional scales. Here, a novel approach is proposed for analysing regional SY. We aimed to (i) investigate factors controlling inter‐ and intra‐annual SY, (ii) combine seasonality and time compression analyses to explore SY variability and (iii) discuss management implications for different Mediterranean environments. Continuous SY measurements totalling 104 years for eight small catchments were used to describe SY variability, which ranged from 0 to 271 t/ha/year and 0 to 116 t/ha/month. Maximum SY occurs in spring to summer for catchments with oceanic climates, while semi‐arid or dry summer climates experience SY minimums. We identified three time compression patterns at each time scale. Time compression was most intense for catchments with minimum SY in spring to summer. Low time compression was linked to very high soil loss, low run‐off and sediment production thresholds, and high connectivity. Reforestation, grassland and terracing changed SY magnitudes and time compression, but failed to reduce SY for large storm events. Periods with a high probability of high SY were identified using a combination of intra‐annual SY variability, seasonality analysis, and time compression analysis. Focusing management practices on monthly flow events, which account for the majority of SY, will optimise returns in Mediterranean catchments.