Land Units (land + unit)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Effect of soil and physiographic factors on ecological plant groups in the eastern Elborz mountain rangeland of Iran

GRASSLAND SCIENCE, Issue 2 2010
Mohammadreza Tatian
Abstract To investigate the cause of differences among ecological plant groups in the east of the Elborz mountain rangeland, the role of edaphical and topographical characteristics was considered. Two ordination techniques, detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), were used. The values of slope, aspect, altitude and lithology information were provided by Geographic Information System (GIS), and geomorphological land units were determined by intersection of overlaid data layers. Plant sampling was undertaken within nine land units with similar lithology and altitude but which differed in slope and aspect, using 30 randomly selected 1 m2 plots per land unit. Soil samples were taken from two depths (0,20 and 20,50 cm) in each plot. Organic matter, bulk density, texture, calcium carbonate, total nitrogen and available phosphorus and potassium contents were determined. The results indicated that plant species have different responses to edaphical and topographical parameters. The invader species group had a balanced amount of influence from all soil components and topographic factors, whereas the native grasses were located in productive soils, which typically have a low grazing intensity, such as the north facing slopes. Coniferous bushy trees, cushion plants and some shrub plant groups were found on steep slopes with alkaline soils. The broad-leaved bushy trees plant group was abundant in fine texture soils on low and humid slopes. [source]


GIS-based rapid assessment of erosion risk in a small catchment in the wet/dry tropics of Australia

LAND DEGRADATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Issue 5 2001
G. Boggs
Abstract Assessing the impact of various land uses on catchment erosion processes commonly requires in-depth research, monitoring and field data collection, as well as the implementation of sophisticated modelling techniques. This paper describes the evaluation of a geographic information system (GIS)-based rapid erosion assessment method, which allows the user to quickly acquire and evaluate existing data to assist in the planning of more detailed monitoring and modelling programmes. The rapid erosion assessment method is based on a simplified version of the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE), and allows the rapid parameterization of the model from widely available land unit and elevation datasets. The rapid erosion assessment method is evaluated through the investigation of the effects of elevation data resolution on erosion predictions and field data validation. The use of raster digital elevation model (DEM)-derived data, as opposed to vector land unit relief data, was found to greatly improve the validity of the rapid erosion assessment method. Field validation of the approach, involving the comparison of predicted soil loss ratios with adjusted in-stream sediment yields on a subcatchment basis, indicated that with decreasing data resolution, the results are increasingly overestimated for larger catchments and underestimated for smaller catchments. However, the rapid erosion assessment method proved to be a valuable tool that is highly useful as an initial step in the planning of more detailed erosion assessments. Copyright 2001 Commonwealth of Australia. [source]


Dynamics of soil erosion rates and controlling factors in the Northern Ethiopian Highlands , towards a sediment budget

EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, Issue 5 2008
Jan Nyssen
Abstract This paper analyses the factors that control rates and extent of soil erosion processes in the 199 ha May Zegzeg catchment near Hagere Selam in the Tigray Highlands (Northern Ethiopia). This catchment, characterized by high elevations (2100,2650 m a.s.l.) and a subhorizontal structural relief, is typical for the Northern Ethiopian Highlands. Soil loss rates due to various erosion processes, as well as sediment yield rates and rates of sediment deposition within the catchment (essentially induced by recent soil conservation activities), were measured using a range of geomorphological methods. The area-weighted average rate of soil erosion by water in the catchment, measured over four years (1998,2001), is 148 t ha,1 y,1, which accounts for 98% of the change in potential energy of the landscape. Considering these soil loss rates by water, 28% is due to gully erosion. Other geomorphic processes, such as tillage erosion and rock fragment displacement by gravity and livestock trampling, are also important, either within certain land units, or for their impact on agricultural productivity. Estimated mean sediment deposition rate within the catchment equals 92 t ha,1 y,1. Calculated sediment yield (56 t ha,1 y,1) is similar to sediment yield measured in nearby catchments. Seventy-four percent of total soil loss by sheet and rill erosion is trapped in exclosures and behind stone bunds. The anthropogenic factor is dominant in controlling present-day erosion processes in the Northern Ethiopian Highlands. Human activities have led to an overall increase in erosion process intensities, but, through targeted interventions, rural society is now well on the way to control and reverse the degradation processes, as can be demonstrated through the sediment budget. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


Modelling land use changes and their impact on soil erosion and sediment supply to rivers

EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, Issue 5 2002
Anton J. J. Van Rompaey
Abstract The potential for surface runoff and soil erosion is strongly affected by land use and cultivation. Therefore the modelling of land use changes is important with respect to the prediction of soil degradation and its on-site and off-site consequences. Land use changes during the past 250 years in the Dijle catchment (central Belgium) were analysed by comparing four historical topographic maps (1774, 1840, 1930 and 1990). A combination of land use transformation maps and biophysical land properties shows that certain decision rules are used for the conversion of forest into arable land or vice versa. During periods of increasing pressure on the land, forests were cleared mainly on areas with low slope gradients and favourable soil conditions, while in times of decreasing pressure land units with steep and unfavourable soil conditions were taken out of production. Possible future land use patterns were generated using stochastic simulations based on land use transformation probabilities. The outcome of these simulations was used to assess the soil erosion risk under different scenarios. The results indicate that even a relatively limited land use change, from forest to arable land or vice versa, has a significant effect on regional soil erosion rates and sediment supply to rivers. Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


Effect of soil and physiographic factors on ecological plant groups in the eastern Elborz mountain rangeland of Iran

GRASSLAND SCIENCE, Issue 2 2010
Mohammadreza Tatian
Abstract To investigate the cause of differences among ecological plant groups in the east of the Elborz mountain rangeland, the role of edaphical and topographical characteristics was considered. Two ordination techniques, detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), were used. The values of slope, aspect, altitude and lithology information were provided by Geographic Information System (GIS), and geomorphological land units were determined by intersection of overlaid data layers. Plant sampling was undertaken within nine land units with similar lithology and altitude but which differed in slope and aspect, using 30 randomly selected 1 m2 plots per land unit. Soil samples were taken from two depths (0,20 and 20,50 cm) in each plot. Organic matter, bulk density, texture, calcium carbonate, total nitrogen and available phosphorus and potassium contents were determined. The results indicated that plant species have different responses to edaphical and topographical parameters. The invader species group had a balanced amount of influence from all soil components and topographic factors, whereas the native grasses were located in productive soils, which typically have a low grazing intensity, such as the north facing slopes. Coniferous bushy trees, cushion plants and some shrub plant groups were found on steep slopes with alkaline soils. The broad-leaved bushy trees plant group was abundant in fine texture soils on low and humid slopes. [source]


Opportunities for manipulating catchment water balance by changing vegetation type on a topographic sequence: a simulation study

HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, Issue 6 2008
Enli Wang
Abstract This simulation study explores opportunities to reduce catchment deep drainage through better matching land use with soil and topography, including the ,harvesting' (evapotranspiration) of excess water running on to lower land units. A farming system simulator was coupled with a catchment hydrological framework to enable analysis of climate variability and 11 different land-use options as they impact the catchment water balance. These land-use options were arranged in different configurations down a sequence of three hydrologically interconnected slope units (uphill, mid-slope and valley floor land units) in a subcatchment of Simmons Creek, southern New South Wales, Australia. With annual crops, the valley floor land units were predicted to receive 187 mm year,1 of run-on water in addition to annual rainfall in 1 in 10 years, and in excess of 94 mm year,1 in 1 in 4 years. In this valley floor position, predicted drainage averaged approximately 110 mm year,1 under annual crops and pastures, whereas permanent tree cover or perennial lucerne was predicted to reduce drainage by up to 99%. The planting of trees or lucerne on the valley floor units could ,harvest' run-on water, reducing drainage for the whole subcatchment with proportionately small reduction in land areas cropped. Upslope land units, even though often having shallower soil, will not necessarily be the most effective locations to plant perennial vegetation for the purposes of recharge reduction. Water harvesting opportunities are site specific, dependent on the amounts and frequency of flows of water to lower landscape units, the amounts and frequency of deep drainage on the different land units, the relative areas of the different land units, and interactions with land use in the different slope positions. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


Using farmers' knowledge for defining criteria for land qualities in biophysical land evaluation

LAND DEGRADATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Issue 6 2001
I. Messing
Abstract The objective of this paper is to present a way of complementing empirical results with farmers' perceptions in defining limiting biophysical land properties in a land suitability evaluation using the FAO framework methodology. The farmers' perceptions were identified using rapid and participatory rural appraisal (RRA/PRA) tools. The study catchment, having a semiarid continental climate and located on the Loess Plateau in northern China, covered an area of 3.5 km2. Most of the land users were dependent on subsistence agriculture. There were important topographic variations in the catchment and arable cropping on steep slopes brought about degradation of land due to water erosion. The biophysical monitoring, soil survey and RRA/PRA survey, carried out one year prior to the present investigation, supplied the data needed for identification of preliminary limiting land properties and land evaluation units. The land properties that needed further investigation in the present study were slope aspect, soil workability, flooding hazard and farmers' criteria on choice of land-use type. The farmers were able to give a comprehensive picture of the spatial and temporal variation and the importance for land-use options of the land properties concerned, and thereby complement the information gained from empirical results (measurements). In order to guarantee good production for dry as well as wet years, both south- and north-facing sites were chosen for most crops, and the slope aspect did not need to be differentiated in the final land suitability evaluation for arable crops. Grassland, however, was considered to be more suitable than woodland on south-facing sites. Hard soil layers were found to be important, since they affected soil workability and erosion negatively, giving slightly reduced suitability for the land units in which they occurred. Flooding events affecting crops on alluvial soils negatively were considered to occur once every 5 to 10 years, which is considered to be a low rate, so this property was therefore not included in the final suitability evaluation. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]