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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE PROCESSES THAT IMPACT THE QUALITY AND MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS Title: Tillage erosion: terrace formation

Authors
item Dabney, Seth
item Vieira, Dalmo

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Environmental Management
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 23, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Dabney, S.M., Vieira, D.A. 2013. Tillage erosion: terrace formation. Encyclopedia of Environmental Management. S.E. Jorgensen, ed. Taylor & Francis: New York, IV:2564-2570.

Interpretive Summary: This article describes the effects of soil movement due to the operation of tillage implements. Each tillage operation moves soil laterally as well as vertically. On sloping soils, more soil moves downslope than upslope and soil usually leaves the tilled zone in the form of clods deposited along field borders. Over time, these clods along with stones removed from the tilled area and sediment deposited by runoff, coalesce to form terraces or berms. The formation of such terraces may or may not be desirable, but can hardly be avoided if field boundaries are fixed for long periods of time. This section reviews research into terrace formation by tillage, identifies ways in which these terraces can be advantageous to soil and water conservation, and discusses problems that have been recognized with tillage terraces.

Technical Abstract: All tillage moves soil laterally as well as vertically. With each tillage operation, soil preferentially moves down slope and some soil usually leaves the tilled zone in the form of clods deposited along field borders. Over time, these clods along with stones removed from the tilled area and sediment deposited by runoff, coalesce to form terraces or lynchets. The formation of such terraces may or may not be desirable, but can hardly be avoided if field boundaries are fixed for long periods of time. This section reviews research into terrace formation by tillage, identifies ways in which these terraces can be advantageous to soil and water conservation, and discusses problems that have been recognized with tillage terraces.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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