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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Roughness Effects on Runoff and Sediment Production

Authors
item Darboux, F - INRA, OLIVET, FRANCE
item Reichert, J - UNIV. FEDERAL SANTA MARIA
item Huang, Chi Hua

Submitted to: International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2004
Publication Date: July 4, 2004
Citation: Darboux, F., Reichert, J.M., Huang, C. 2004. Soil roughness effects on runoff and sediment production. In: 13th International Soil Conservation Organization Conference Proceedings, July 4-9, 2004, Brisbane, Australia. 2004 CDROM.

Technical Abstract: The effect of soil surface roughness on runoff and sediment production is an area not yet fully quantified. Current erosion prediction models, such as the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, predicts a reduced erosion from an increased soil roughness, without considering the functionality associated with different roughness forms. In this research, we used a mechanistic approach in which soil roughness is partitioned into depressions and mounds and their effects on runoff and sediment production are quantified separately. A laboratory rainfall simulation experiment was conducted using paired rough versus flat surfaces in a 5 meter soil box. Depressions delayed the runoff initiation by storing water into puddles and enhancing infiltration. Surface mounds did not delay runoff initiation. Once runoff reached a steady state, rough surfaces either with depressions or mounds produced mostly greater runoff with either an increased or decreased sediment flux, despite a high degree of data scatter. This effect persisted until the roughness elements disappeared, suggesting the flow concentration on rough surfaces was a likely cause. Surface roughness, subsurface condition (i.e., seepage or drainage), flow erosivity and rainfall intensity and duration all affected the soil losses. Our results show no simple relationship between roughness, flow and erosion exists and the net effect on runoff and erosion depends on the dominant form and its functionality.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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