Lahcen Daoudi

Abstracts

2 Soil with Carbonate Accumulation in Tensift Al Haouz Lowland (Morocco): Characterization, Genesis and the Environmental Significance

Authors: Lahcen Daoudi, Soukaina Elidrissi, Nathalie Fagel

Abstract:

The calcareous accumulations in the surface formations of the soil, are a very widespread phenomenon in the arid and semi-arid regions. Many aspects of physical and chemical evolution of these soils were debated for more than one century. The last two decades have witnessed a remarkable interest in the study of the calcrete. In Morocco, as in most Mediterranean countries, soils with carbonate accumulation cover large areas of the territory. The isohumic subtropical soils and red Mediterranean soils include always a horizon of calcrete accumulation. In the lowland of Tensift Al Haouz located in the central part of Morocco, the arable lands are underlain by indurate pedogenic calcrete of various thicknesses; this constitutes a serious handicap for agricultural development in the region. Our aims in this study is to analyze the characteristics of the crusts developed in this area in order to identify the various facies, their geographic distribution and the factors that played a significant role in the differentiation of these calcareous accumulations. The characterizations were based on various techniques including field observations, X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) for both raw materials and clay fractions, SEM analysis, Calcimetry and Loss On Ignition (LOI). The analysis of encrusting calcrete in a rich and varied observation field as the region of Tensift Al Haouz enabled us to specify the important types of accumulations: diffuse, nodular and massive encrusting. The shape of encrusting as well as their consistency and hardness is clearly related to the contents of CaCO3 of the profiles. Among these facies, the hardpan which results from a complex succession of processes is certainly the most morphologically advanced form of encrusting. The vertical and lateral distribution of these forms in the Tensift Al Haouz area indicates that they do not appear randomly but seem related to well defined environmental conditions. The differentiation and evolution of encrusting is under the influence of two major factors: 1) the availability of carbonate rich solution which is controlled by the topography, the nature and texture of underlying host rock and the detrital processes; 2) the climate which is responsible for the evaporation and crystallization of carbonate.

Keywords: Characterization, Morphology, Morocco, soil calcrete, Tensift Al Haouz

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1 Evaluation of Soil Erosion Risk and Prioritization for Implementation of Management Strategies in Morocco

Authors: Lahcen Daoudi, Fatima Zahra Omdi, Abldelali Gourfi

Abstract:

In Morocco, as in most Mediterranean countries, water scarcity is a common situation because of low and unevenly distributed rainfall. The expansions of irrigated lands, as well as the growth of urban and industrial areas and tourist resorts, contribute to an increase of water demand. Therefore in the 1960s Morocco embarked on an ambitious program to increase the number of dams to boost water retention capacity. However, the decrease in the capacity of these reservoirs caused by sedimentation is a major problem; it is estimated at 75 million m3/year. Dams and reservoirs became unusable for their intended purposes due to sedimentation in large rivers that result from soil erosion. Soil erosion presents an important driving force in the process affecting the landscape. It has become one of the most serious environmental problems that raised much interest throughout the world. Monitoring soil erosion risk is an important part of soil conservation practices. The estimation of soil loss risk is the first step for a successful control of water erosion. The aim of this study is to estimate the soil loss risk and its spatial distribution in the different fields of Morocco and to prioritize areas for soil conservation interventions. The approach followed is the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) using remote sensing and GIS, which is the most popular empirically based model used globally for erosion prediction and control. This model has been tested in many agricultural watersheds in the world, particularly for large-scale basins due to the simplicity of the model formulation and easy availability of the dataset. The spatial distribution of the annual soil loss was elaborated by the combination of several factors: rainfall erosivity, soil erodability, topography, and land cover. The average annual soil loss estimated in several basins watershed of Morocco varies from 0 to 50t/ha/year. Watersheds characterized by high-erosion-vulnerability are located in the North (Rif Mountains) and more particularly in the Central part of Morocco (High Atlas Mountains). This variation of vulnerability is highly correlated to slope variation which indicates that the topography factor is the main agent of soil erosion within these basin catchments. These results could be helpful for the planning of natural resources management and for implementing sustainable long-term management strategies which are necessary for soil conservation and for increasing over the projected economic life of the dam implemented.

Keywords: watershed, Morocco, RUSLE, soil loss, GIS-remote sensing

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