An integrated sediment export quantification approach for sustainable management agroecosystems

November 2021 to October 2024
fingerprinting modelling
radiometric dating techniques
land use-based tracers
soil erosion
food security
water quality
Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (Congo-Kinshasa)
Centre de Recherche en Geothermie (CRGeo) (Congo-Kinshasa)
Research fields
Agriculture and Food Sciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences

Soil erosion and subsequent transport of sediment and pollutants are important challenges for food security and water quality. Controlling sediment and particle-bound substance export requires the implementation of improved ecological restoration schemes, especially in areas experiencing drastic increases of erosion rates. To this end, we propose the design of an ensemble technique that combines the use of sediment fingerprinting together with radionuclide dating and remote sensing data to fill these critical knowledge gaps. This project will focus on testing and developing powerful specific land use tracers, such as Compound Specific Stable Isotopes (CSSI) and environmental DNA (eDNA) for improving the land cover discrimination of sediment provenance, through the collection and dating of sediment cores in sink areas. This research will be conducted in two contrasting catchments with different history and land use changes allowing to test the effectiveness of this novel approach: i)Isabena catchment (Spain), representative of areas experiencing sediment export decrease due to land abandonment, and ii) Kihira catchment (DR Congo), representative of intensively unsustainable cultivated areas experiencing increasing sediment export. By combining these two contrasting catchments and applying state-of-the-art and methods, I will be able to evaluate the main driving factors of the past and present erosion rates and predict the effects of human management and climate change.