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Gerard Govers

Gerard Govers
KU Leuven | ku leuven · Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

PhD

About

473
Publications
191,474
Reads
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33,679
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2001 - December 2012
KU Leuven
October 2000 - present
KU Leuven
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (473)
Article
Full-text available
The extent to which the central highlands of Madagascar were once covered by forests is still a matter of debate: while reconstructing past environments is inherently difficult, the debate is further hampered by the fact that the evidence documenting land cover changes and their effects on carbon and sediment dynamics in Madagascar has hitherto mai...
Article
Full-text available
Mangroves are widely recognised as key ecosystems for climate change mitigation as they capture and store significant amounts of sediment organic carbon (SOC). Yet, there is incomplete knowledge on how sources of SOC and their differential preservation vary between mangrove sites in relation to environmental gradients. To address this, sediment dep...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past few decades, developments in remote sensing have resulted in an ever-growing availability of topographic information on a global scale. A recent development is TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for digital elevation measurements), an interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mission of the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, prov...
Article
Full-text available
Although estuaries are considered important pathways in the global carbon cycle, carbon dynamics in tropical estuaries is relatively understudied. Here, the tidal, seasonal and spatial variability of particulate organic carbon (POC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), among other biogeochemical variables relat...
Preprint
Full-text available
The extent to which the central highlands of Madagascar were once covered by forests is still a matter of debate: while reconstructing past environments is inherently difficult, the debate is further hampered by the fact that the evidence documenting land cover changes and their effects on carbon and sediment dynamics in Madagascar has hitherto mai...
Article
Full-text available
Ons voedselsysteem, en meer in het bijzonder de manier waarop we aan landbouw doen, legt momenteel een onhoudbare druk op milieukwaliteit, biodiversiteit en klimaat. In deze bijdrage formuleren de auteurs eerst een reeks bedenkingen bij een eerder in Natuurfocus verschenen artikel waarin als oplossing voor dit probleem de agro-ecologische landbouw...
Article
Full-text available
Land use and land cover changes (LUCC) can drastically alter various components of the critical zone, including soil thickness and soil chemical weathering processes. Often these studies, however, tend to focus on extreme cases, not representing what actually happens on average at larger, regional scales. Here, we evaluate the impact of LUCC on soi...
Article
Full-text available
Human activity influences both the occurrence and impact of landslides in mountainous environments. Population pressure and the associated land-use changes are assumed to exacerbate landslide risk, yet there is a lack of statistical evidence to support this claim, especially in the Global South where historical records are scarce. In this work, we...
Article
Full-text available
Lavaka (gullies) are often considered as the prime indication of a currently ongoing human-induced environmental crisis in Madagascar's highlands. Yet, lavaka are known to have existed long before human arrival and account for the majority of the long-term sediment input into the highland rivers and floodplains. The role of anthropogenic disturbanc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Over the past decades, developments in remote sensing have resulted in an ever growing availability of topographic information on a global scale. A recent development is TanDEM-X, an interferometric SAR mission of the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt providing near-global coverage and high resolution DEMs. Moreover, ongoing developments in...
Article
We compiled an extensive database of erosion and runoff measurements on erosion plots under natural rainfall in China. We used this database to analyse how soil loss by sheet and rill erosion and runoff in China were affected by land use, slope gradient, slope length and mean annual precipitation. Our results show that land use dominates the variat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mangroves are widely recognised as key ecosystems for climate change mitigation as they capture and store significant amounts of sediment organic carbon (SOC). Yet, there is incomplete knowledge on how sources of SOC and their differential preservation vary between mangrove sites in relation to environmental gradients. To address this, sediment dep...
Article
As greenhouse warming is predicted to intensify the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), it is key to understand relationships between the magnitudes and spatial distribution of ENSO events and associated extreme sea levels (ESLs). Current understanding is lacking for river deltas, where human societies and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to...
Article
Full-text available
Deforestation is associated with a decrease in slope stability through the alteration of hydrological and geotechnical conditions. As such, deforestation increases landslide activity over short, decadal timescales. However, over longer timescales (0.1–10 Myr) the location and timing of landsliding is controlled by the interaction between uplift and...
Article
Full-text available
Different erosion processes deliver large amounts of terrestrial soil organic carbon (SOC) to rivers. Mounting evidence indicates that a significant fraction of this SOC, which displays a wide range of ages, is rapidly decomposed after entering the river system. The mechanisms explaining this rapid decomposition of previously stable SOC still remai...
Preprint
Full-text available
Deforestation increases landslide activity over short, contemporary timescales. However, over longer timescales, the location and timing of landsliding is controlled by the interaction between uplift and fluvial incision. Yet, the interaction between (human-induced) deforestation and landscape evolution has hitherto not been explicitly considered....
Article
Full-text available
Human-induced soil erosion is a serious threat to global sustainability, endangering global food security, driving desertification and biodiversity loss, and degrading other vital ecosystem services. To help assess this threat, we amassed a global inventory of soil erosion rates consisting of 10,030 plot years of data from 255 sites under conventio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Rivers receive large amounts of terrestrial soil organic carbon (SOC) due to the action of different erosion processes. Mounting evidence indicates that a significant fraction of this SOC, which is often very old, is rapidly decomposed after entering the river system. The mechanisms explaining this rapid decomposition of previously stable SOC still...
Article
Full-text available
Landscape evolution models can be used to assess the impact of rainfall variability on bedrock river incision over millennial timescales. However, isolating the role of rainfall variability remains difficult in natural environments, in part because environmental controls on river incision such as lithological heterogeneity are poorly constrained. I...
Article
Full-text available
Soil thickness and residence time are regulated by a dynamic interplay between soil formation and lateral transport of soil particles and solutes. To unravel this interplay and infer patterns and rates of chemical weathering, soil physical and chemical properties can be used. Here, we present an integrated approach combining numerical modeling with...
Article
Full-text available
In the 1990s, some districts in the Northern Vietnamese highlands were opened for international tourism. The development of tourism was expected to bring a new income source to remote mountain areas. This paper analyzes the association between tourism development, local livelihoods and land cover change at the household level. Sa Pa district was se...
Article
Numerous fixed or movable flume experiments have been conducted to characterize the hydraulic resistance of concentrated flow on natural and tilled surfaces. However, few studies have elucidated how the friction factor of flow resistance evolves over time on tilled surfaces. Since hydraulic resistance and concentrated flow interact with each other,...
Article
Predicting landslide occurrence is of key importance for understanding the geomorphological development of mountain environments as well as to assess the potential risk posed by landsliding to human societies in such environments. Global landslide susceptibility models use a generic model formulation to predict landslide susceptibility anywhere on...
Preprint
Full-text available
Process-based geomorphic transport laws enable to assess the impact of rainfall variability on bedrock river incision over geological timescales. However, isolating the role of rainfall variability on erosion remains difficult in natural environments in part because the variability of rock strength and its resistance to incision are poorly constrai...
Article
Rills are generated on homogeneous hillslopes by the action of different discharges and evolve morphologically over short timescales due to a strong interaction between the flow and bed morphology. Such an interaction generates a reconfiguration of the bed geometry. Previous works suggest that bed geometry is often characterized by alternation betw...
Article
Review studies indicate that conservation tillage effectively reduces runoff generation measured on large plots, but less so on smaller plots. These tillage and scale effects have never been measured in a single study for temperate mechanized agriculture. With the objective to study how runoff production changes with scale as influenced by tillage...
Article
The efficacy of soil and water conservation measures (SWCMs) on reducing the loss of soil and water has been widely tested at the plot scale in China. However, an integrated comparison of the efficacy and an overall investigation of the controlling factors of the efficacy is absent. Therefore, an extensive dataset compiling erosion plot measurement...
Article
Tidal marshes are coastal and estuarine ecosystems that store large amounts of sedimentary organic carbon (OC). Despite the valuable ecosystem services they deliver, tidal marshes have been converted to other land use types over the past centuries. Although previous studies have reported large decreases in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks after tid...
Article
Tidal marshes are coastal ecosystems that store large amounts of sedimentary organic carbon (OC). Reducing the current uncertainty on the amount of OC stored these sediments requires the analysis of a large number of sediment samples. Soil sensing techniques, using mid infrared (MIR) spectroscopy combined with partial least squares regression (PLSR...
Article
The impact of forest conversion on soil weathering is studied in a subtropical humid setting in southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul). A geochemical tracer of mineral weathering processes, the Ge/Si ratio, was used at the pedon and catchment scales to compare a cropland and a forest catchment. Ge/Si measurements were performed on bedrock, bulk soil,...
Article
Full-text available
Gully erosion is an important process of land degradation in mountainous regions, and is known to be one of the major sediment sources in eroded catchments. Recent studies have suggested that living and dead vegetation can be effective for ecosystem restoration, and large-scale restoration projects have been implemented in the tropical Andes in rec...
Poster
The North Tanganyika and Kivu Rift zones (Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda) encompass a region where environmental factors such as heavy rainfall, tectonic activity, and steep topography favor the occurrence of landslides. These landslides have a negative impact on the livelihoods of the local population that suffers yearly from damage to infrastructure a...
Poster
Full-text available
The North Tanganyika and Kivu Rift zones (Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda) encompass a region where environmental factors such as heavy rainfall, tectonic activity, and steep topography favor the occurrence of landslides. These landslides have a negative impact on the livelihoods of the local population that suffers yearly from damage to infrastructure a...
Article
The hydrological status of river systems is expected to change due to dam operations and climate change. This will affect the riverine fluxes of sediment and carbon (C). In rivers with strong seasonal and inter-annual variability, quantification and extrapolation of sediment and C fluxes can be a challenge as measurement periods are often too short...
Article
Quick, reliable and accurate estimates of soil water content (SWC) at intermediate (slope) to larger scale (catchment) are important for understanding hydrological processes and may be provided by electromagnetic induction (EMI). EMI measures the apparent electrical conductivity of the subsurface (ECapp) which represents a depth weighted average va...
Article
Tidal marshes are vegetated coastal ecosystems that are often considered as hotspots of atmospheric CO2 sequestration. Although large amounts of organic carbon (OC) are indeed being deposited on tidal marshes, there is no direct link between high OC deposition rates and high OC sequestration rates due to two main reasons. First, the deposited OC ma...
Article
Mountains play an important role in the denudation of continents and transfer erosion and weathering products to lowlands and oceans. The rates at which erosion and weathering processes take place in mountain regions have a substantial impact on the morphology and biogeochemistry of downstream reaches and lowlands. The controlling factors of physic...
Article
Full-text available
Erosion can cause serious agricultural and environmental hazards. It can generate severe damage to the landscape, lead to significant loss of agricultural land and consequently to a reduction in agricultural productivity, induce surface water pollution due to the transport of sediments and suspended material to waterways and rivers, and alter the o...
Article
Land use/cover change (LUCC), and more specifically deforestation and multi‐decadal agriculture, is one of the various controlling factors of water fluxes at the hillslope or catchment scale. We investigated the impact of LUCC on water pathways and stream stormflow generation processes in a subtropical region in southern Brazil. We monitored, sampl...
Article
Erosion of agricultural land is estimated to have resulted in a cumulative net uptake of 78 [plusmn] 22[thinsp]Pg[thinsp]C on land (6000 BC-2015 AD), offsetting 37 [plusmn] 10% of generally recognized C emissions resulting from anthropogenic land cover change.
Article
Full-text available
Soil erosion severely threatens the soil resource and the sustainability of agriculture. After decades of research, this problem still persists, despite the fact that adequate technical solutions now exist for most situations. This begs the question as to why soil conservation is not more rapidly and more generally implemented. Studies show that th...
Article
Full-text available
Quantification of sediment and carbon (C) fluxes in rivers with strong seasonal and inter-annual variability presents a challenge for global flux estimates as measurement periods are often too short to cover all hydrological conditions. We studied the dynamics of the Tana River (Kenya) from 2012 to 2014 through daily monitoring of sediment concentr...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This study illustrates the applicability of a framework to conduct a spatially distributed inventory of suspended solids (SS) delivery to freshwater streams combined with a method to derive site-specific characterisation factors for endpoint damage on aquatic ecosystem diversity. A case study on Eucalyptus globulus stands located in Portuga...
Article
Full-text available
Landscape evolution models (LEMs) allow the study of earth surface responses to changing climatic and tectonic forcings. While much effort has been devoted to the development of LEMs that simulate a wide range of processes, the numerical accuracy of these models has received less attention. Most LEMs use first-order accurate numerical methods that...
Article
Full-text available
Rivers transport sediment and carbon (C) from the continents to the ocean, whereby the magnitude and timing of these fluxes depend on the hydrological regime. We studied the sediment and carbon dynamics of a tropical river system at two sites along the lower Tana River (Kenya), separated by a 385 km stretch characterized by extensive floodplains, t...
Article
Full-text available
Tidal marshes are sedimentary environments and are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. As a consequence they have the potential to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by sequestering organic carbon (OC). In the past decades, most research on soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in marsh environments has focused on salt marshes,...
Data
This is the supplementary information that supports Van de Broek et al. 2016, Controls on soil organic carbon stocks in tidal marshes along and estuarine salinity gradient, Biogeosciences
Article
Full-text available
Despite a multitude of studies, overall erosion rates as well as the contribution of different erosion processes on Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) remain uncertain, which hampers a correct assessment of the impact of soil erosion on carbon and nutrient cycling as well as on crop productivity. In this paper we used a novel approach, based on field evid...
Article
Full-text available
Tidal marshes are sedimentary environments that are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. As a consequence tidal marshes, and vegetated coastal ecosystems in general, have the potential to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations as they efficiently sequester soil organic carbon (SOC). In the past decades, most research has focused...
Article
Full-text available
While the implementation of soil conservation depends on a multitude of factors, it is also clear that rapid change in agricultural systems only happens when a clear economic incentive is present. This fact, as well as the fact that agriculture will change fundamentally in the Global South over the next decades, need to be accounted for when develo...
Preprint
Landscape evolution models (LEM) allow studying the earth surface response to a changing climatic and tectonic forcing. While much effort has been devoted to the development of LEMs that simulate a wide range of processes, the numerical accuracy of these models has received much less attention. Most LEMs use first order accurate numerical methods t...
Article
Full-text available
The remarkable complexity of soil and its importance to a wide range of ecosystem services presents 133 major challenges to the modeling of soil processes. Although major progress in soil models has 134 occurred in the last decades, models of soil processes remain disjointed between disciplines or 135 ecosystem services, with considerable uncertain...
Article
Full-text available
We reviewed soil modeling and the role of soil processes in quantifying ecosystem services. Key challenges were identified and the establishment of a soil modeling consortium to advance soil modeling activities, provide a data-model platform, perform model intercomparison and foster communication amongst Earth science disciplines is proposed.
Article
Full-text available
We reviewed soil modeling and the role of soil processes in quantifying ecosystem services. Key challenges were identified and the establishment of a soil modeling consortium to advance soil modeling activities, provide a data-model platform, perform model intercomparison and foster communication amongst Earth science disciplines is proposed.