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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Influence of a Riparian Buffer on Infiltration, Soil Erosion, and Soil Moisture

Authors
item Davis, Dedrick - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Logsdon, Sally
item Simmons, Gavin

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2005
Publication Date: November 10, 2005
Citation: Davis, D., Logsdon, S.D., Simmons, G.T. 2005. The influence of a riparian buffer on infiltration, soil erosion, and soil moisture [CD-ROM]. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts, Nov. 6-10, 2005, Salt Lake City, UT.

Technical Abstract: The ability of riparian buffers to exist as an effective conservation practice has been well documented especially in Central Iowa. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a five-year old riparian buffer located in the loess hills region of Southwest Iowa. We hypothesize that the riparian vegetation will increase soil water infiltration, soil moisture, and reduce soil erosion. Rainfall simulations were performed within 2.97 m2 plots on a Kennebec (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Cumulic Hapludoll) soil. The vegetation comparisons included a corn crop (Zea mays L.) that was part of corn-soybean (Glycine max L.) rotation, a riparian buffer of trees (cottonwoods, Populus deltoids Bartr. L.), cool season grass (smooth bromegrass, Bromus inermis L.), and warm season grass (switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L.). Rainfall simulations were replicated five times per vegetation. The cumulative infiltration was significantly higher for the riparian buffer vegetations as compared with the corn crop. The cumulative infiltration after the establishment of steady-state conditions was only significantly higher (p < .01) for the cool season grass and trees. The total amount of sediment yielded was reduced by 87%, 84%, and 79% by the cottonwoods, bromegrass, and switchgrass respectively. Sediment yielded after the establishment of steady-state conditions was also significantly reduced by the riparian buffer (p < .01). Soil moisture was significantly increased due to the presence of the riparian buffer (p < .001) and 85% of the variability in soil moisture was due to site treatment. These results indicate the ability of a riparian buffer to positively affect the above-mentioned properties in the erosion prone loess hills of Southwest Iowa.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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