Chipped branches [Spain]

technologies_1269 - Spain

Completeness: 59%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Morera Antonio Giménez

Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Universidad de Valencia (Universidad de Valencia) - Spain

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Chipped branch application on bare soil in order to prevent soil erosion, reduces overland flow, and increase the soil organic matter.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


In a Persimmon crop area from Valencia (south-east Spain), the research team of the University of Valencia set up an experiment in order to test the effect of chipped branches lying on soil surface to avoid soil water erosion and improve soil properties.

Purpose of the Technology: The increase in ground cover will decrease soil erosion by reducing raindrop impact over the bare soil. Runoff amount also decrease by increasing water surface storage, decrease of runoff velocity, and increase infiltration. Its application must to be done after the pruning season and before Mediterranean high-storm events; namely end summer to early autumn, in order to protect raindrop impact and detached by bare

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: Chipped branches will be obtained after pruning and harvesting.

Natural / human environment: The persimmon production in the area has been implemented in recent dates due to the market prices. There has been a quick land use change from citrus orchards to persimmon orchards. The landscape reflects the long history of management where several constructions related with wine production depicted its importance on this region. Since the late 1960´s, chemical agriculture with use of fertilizers and herbicides, and new orchards plantations as Persimmon, lead to a seasonally bare soil surface, triggering huge erosion rates.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:


3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Tree and shrub cropping
Main crops (cash and food crops):

persimmon, citrus


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Increased runoff and soil erosion, resulting in a decrease of on-site fertility, water reservoir, and weakness of hydrological soil properties.
Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Loss of soil water resources and productivity.

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • mixed rainfed-irrigated
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 180, Longest growing period from month to month: February to July

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
management measures

management measures

  • M2: Change of management/ intensity level

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion

Main causes of degradation: soil management, Heavy / extreme rainfall (intensity/amounts)
Secondary causes of degradation: crop management (annual, perennial, tree/shrub), deforestation / removal of natural vegetation (incl. forest fires), over-exploitation of vegetation for domestic use, overgrazing, industrial activities and mining, urbanisation and infrastructure development, discharges (point contamination of water), release of airborne pollutants (urban/industry…), disturbance of water cycle (infiltration / runoff), over abstraction / excessive withdrawal of water (for irrigation, industry, etc.), other human induced causes (specify), change in temperature, change of seasonal rainfall, wind storms / dust storms, floods, droughts, population pressure, land tenure, poverty / wealth, labour availability, inputs and infrastructure: (roads, markets, distribution of water points, other, …), education, access to knowledge and support services, war and conflicts, governance / institutional

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology


Artemio Cerdà, University of Valencia. Dept. of Geography

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

Chipped branches must be spread homogeneously in bare soil areas between trees lines in order to keep as much as possible the soil covered.

Location: Valencia. Spain
Date: 09/03/2015

Main technical functions: control of raindrop splash, control of dispersed runoff: retain / trap, improvement of ground cover, increase of surface roughness, increase in organic matter, sediment retention / trapping, sediment harvesting
Secondary technical functions: control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, control of concentrated runoff: retain / trap, control of concentrated runoff: impede / retard, control of concentrated runoff: drain / divert, reduction of slope angle, reduction of slope length, improvement of surface structure (crusting, sealing), improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), improvement of subsoil structure (hardpan), stabilisation of soil (eg by tree roots against land slides), increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, increase of groundwater level / recharge of groundwater, water harvesting / increase water supply, water spreading, improvement of water quality, buffering / filtering water, reduction in wind speed, increase of biomass (quantity), promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder), control of fires, reduction of dry material (fuel for wildfires), spatial arrangement and diversification of land use

Change of land use practices / intensity level: New practices must be implemented through the application on the chipped branches on bare soil areas.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Mediterranean climate with concentred precipitation in february-may and september-december months. Drought from june to september

Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: temperate (Transition zone between semiarid and subhumid)

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Altitudinal zone: 101-500m a.s.l. (300 meters above sea level)

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is medium
Soil drainage/infiltration is medium
Soil water storage capacity is medium

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Relative level of wealth:
  • average

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-cultural impacts

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff


soil moisture


soil cover


soil loss


soil crusting/ sealing


soil compaction


soil organic matter/ below ground C


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding


downstream siltation


wind transported sediments


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase not known

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm not known
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not known

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period not known

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Use of the chipped branches as a treatment to cover soil and decrease erosion. It also keep higher soil moisture levels.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
It is a technology very easy to apply, with low failure possibilities and a strong soil erosion control and local soil properties improvement.
It will prevent sediment movement and accumulation over roads and down slope properties and values at risk.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The use of specific machinery to produce chipped branches.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
A low application rate must be enough to decrease erosion. Testing different application rates to decrease soil-water erosion.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

Links and modules

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