How to make a barranco: Modeling erosion and land-use in Mediterranean Landscapes

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20 Scopus citations


We use the hybrid modeling laboratory of the Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLanD) Project to simulate barranco incision in eastern Spain under different scenarios of natural and human environmental change. We carry out a series of modeling experiments set in the Rio Penaguila valley of northern Alicante Province. The MedLanD Modeling Laboratory (MML) is able to realistically simulate gullying and incision in a multi-dimensional, spatially explicit virtual landscape. We first compare erosion modeled in wooded and denuded landscapes in the absence of human land-use. We then introduce simulated small-holder (e.g., prehistoric Neolithic) farmer/herders in six experiments, by varying community size (small, medium, large) and land management strategy (satisficing and maximizing). We compare the amount and location of erosion under natural and anthropogenic conditions. Natural (e.g., climatically induced) land-cover change produces a distinctly different signature of landscape evolution than does land-cover change produced by agropastoral land-use. Human land-use induces increased coupling between hillslopes and channels, resulting in increased downstream incision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-606
Number of pages29
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Archaeology
  • Erosion
  • Land-use
  • Landscape
  • Mediterranean
  • Modeling
  • Social-ecological system
  • Spain
  • Surface process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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