Assessing conservation practices in Amalacaxco Gorge (Izta-Popo National Park, Central Mexico) using fallout 137Cs and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Assessing conservation practices in Amalacaxco Gorge (Izta-Popo National Park, Central Mexico) using fallout 137Cs and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL)

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Vol15 No.3: 447-460

TitleAssessing conservation practices in Amalacaxco Gorge (Izta-Popo National Park, Central Mexico) using fallout 137Cs and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL)

AuthorMUÑOZ-SALINAS E; CASTILLO M

Addresses1 Departamento de Geología Regional, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad de México, Mexico; 2 Laboratorio Nacional de Geoquímica y Mineralogía, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad de México, Mexico

Corresponding authorMUÑOZ-SALINAS E

CitationMuñoz-Salinas E, Castillo M(2018) Assessing conservation practices in Amalacaxco Gorge (Izta-Popo National Park, Central Mexico) using fallout 137Cs and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). Journal of Mountain Science 15(3). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-017-4635-1

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-017-4635-1

AbstractThis study aims to assess conservation practices in Izta-Popo National Park (Central Mexico) by evaluating the mechanisms of sediment transfer. We applied a methodology based on fallout 137Cs and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) analysis. This was tested in the upper catchment of Amalacaxco Gorge, selected for being one of the sectors of the park in which man-made actions have been implemented in last decades to favor forest growth in the alpine grassland and to reduce the effect of water runoff. We quantified the 137Cs activity using gamma and beta spectrometry of fine sediment grains extracted from the surface of parcels of 0.4 m2 in areas of natural forest, natural alpine grassland, alpine grassland with conservation practices, ravines and trails. In general, 137Cs values increases as local slope decreases as it was expected. The natural forest is the most stable area in terms of soil erosion and sediment accumulation and, mean 137Cs activity was taken as reference to assess cumulative zones, with higher 137Cs values and erosive, with lower. We found that trails are accumulative surfaces but in other areas, erosion predominates. Man-made ditches, trenches and afforestation in the alpine grassland have higher 137Cs values than the natural grassland, which indicates that conservation practices are limiting the sediment transfer from hillslopes to channels, however, soil retention is less than in the natural grassland. Additionally, we evaluated the luminescence (OSL) values obtained from samples extracted from the sediment transported in ravines that are cutting into different sectors of the study area to assess the grade of resetting of fluvial materials. These luminescence results indicated that the sediment transported in ravines that are cutting into the natural forest and alpine grassland is bleached more efficiently than the sediment transported in the alpine grassland with conservation practices. Results of fallout 137Cs and luminescence strongly suggest that man-made actions in this part of the Izta-Popo National Park are dramatically modifying the natural mechanisms of sediment transfer and favoring soil erosion. We conclude that made ditches, trenches and afforestation are not an effective conservation practice in Amalacaxco Gorge because they are promoting soil erosion instead of reducing it.

KeywordsSediment transfer; Soil erosion; Natural protected areas; Alpine grassland; Caesium-137; Optically stimulated luminescence