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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Partitioning Small Scale Spatial Variability of Runoff and Erosion on Sage-Brush Rangeland

Authors
item PIERSON, FREDERICK
item Blackburn, Wilbert
item VAN VACTOR, STEVEN
item Wood, James - SCS

Submitted to: Water Resources Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 1994
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A great deal of variation exists in soil properties and vegetation characteristics across a landscape. To collect data which represents that landscape variability is very costly and time consuming. This study defined a surface soil classification scheme which separates soil and vegetation properties into easily identifiable zones across a Big Sagebrush hdominated landscape. The identified zones also explained the majority of variation in runoff and erosion found on the site. The defined surface soil classification scheme defined in this study can help management agencies and other land managers save time and money by: 1) defining better and more efficient sampling procedures; 2) aiding in quantifying and understanding hydrologic and erosion processes; and 3) determining estimates of soil and vegetation parameters used in hydrologic models on sagebrush rangeland.

Technical Abstract: The estimation of parameters which represent large-scale landscapes is very difficult, particularly on rangeland. Improved parameter estimation procedures are needed which incorporate the small-scale spatial and temporal variability found on rangeland. This study used a surface soil classification scheme to partition the spatial variability in hydrologic and interrill erosion processes in a sagebrush plant community. Four distinct microsites were found to exist within the sagebrush coppice-dune/dune-interspace complex. The microsites explained the majority of variation in hydrologic and interrill erosion response found on the site and were discernable based on readily available soil and vegetation information. The variability within each microsite was quite low and was not well correlated with soil and vegetation properties. The defined surface soil classification scheme defined in this study can be quite useful for defining sampling procedures, for understanding hydrologic and erosion processes, and for parameterizing hydrologic models for use on sagebrush rangeland.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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