Relationship of Runoff and Soil Loss to Ground Cover of Native and Reclaimed Grazing Land1
- L. Hoffman,
- R. E. Ries and
- J. E. Gilley2
Vegetation cover is a dominant factor in controlling runoff and water erosion from agricultural land and an important criterion for determining adequate reclamation of strip−mined land. A simulated rainfall study was conducted near Center, N.D. to determine the relationship of ground cover factors to runoff and soil loss. The point frame technique was used to estimate vegetation cover as measured by either the first contact (first hit) of the sliding pins with live vegetation, litter, or bare soil and rock or by a similar contact of the sliding pins at the soil surface (surface hit). Artificial rainfall was applied at the rate of 46 mm/h to 4.0 × 22.1 m runoff plots located on 9 to 12% slopes within reclaimed and unmined pastures. Reclaimed treatments were ungrazed or grazed at light, moderate, or heavy intensity plus vegetation and litter removed by burning. Native range treatments were ungrazed, closely grazed, and burned. Native ungrazed plots had greater live surface cover than ungrazed or lightly grazed reclaimed plots but similar soil loss, runoff, and soil loss/runoff ratio (SL/RO). Best fit techniques revealed some cover factors linearly related to soil loss, runoff, and SL/RO; others logarithmically related. Live surface cover estimates were poorly related to runoff and soil loss. Adequacy of soil protection can be best estimated by percentage of bare soil. Runoff or soil loss estimates were similar whether total cover was estimated by surface hits or first hits; however, surface hits were easier to determine in tall vegetation under windy conditions. The point frame technique is satisfactory for estimating whether the cover is adequate to maintain soil stability on reclaimed land or native range. Its use can be extended to estimate ground cover in other erosion studies.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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