Developing generalized parameters for post-fire erosion risk assessment using the revised Morgan-Morgan-Finney model : A test for north-central Portuguese pine stands

Hosseini, Mohammadreza; Nunes, João Pedro; Pelayo, Oscar González; Keizer, Jan Jacob; Ritsema, Coen; Geissen, Violette


Models can be useful for predicting the hydrological impacts of natural phenomenon such as wildfires and to help implement effective post-fire land management options. In this research, the revised Morgan–Morgan–Finney (MMF) model was used to simulate runoff and soil erosion in recently burned maritime pine plantations with contrasting fire regimes, in a wet Mediterranean region of north-central Portugal. The MMF model was adapted for burnt areas by implementing seasonal changes in model parameters in order to accommodate seasonal patterns in runoff and soil erosion, attributed to changes in soil water repellency and vegetation recovery. The model was then evaluated by applying it for a total of 18 experimental micro-plots (0.25 m2) at 9 once burned and 9 four times burned slopes, using both previously published and newly calibrated parameters, with observed data used to evaluate the robustness and wider applicability of each parameterization. The prediction of erosion was more accurate than that of runoff, with an overall Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency of 0.54. Slope angle and the soils' effective hydrological depth (which depends on vegetation and/or crop cover) were found to be the main parameters improving model outcomes, and different parameters were needed to differentiate between the two contrasting fire regimes. This case study showed that most existing benchmark parameters can be used to apply MMF in burned pine forest areas with moderate severity fires to support post-fire management, but indicated that further efforts should focus on mapping soil depth and vegetation cover to improve these assessments.