Submitted to: News of Agrarian Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Environmentalists and conservationists use computer models to evaluate ecosystems. Soil erosion, for example, is normally evaluated using an erosion model. For example, when a farmer goes to his or her local county conservation office, the conservation officer in that office will use an erosion model to help him/her select the type of management practices for the farm which best conserve the soil resource. In order to develop better models of erosion which give the user more information, we need to understand the best ways to measure soil properties to provide the most reliable estimates of soil erosion that are possible. The purpose of this study was to better understand and quantify the resistance of the soil to erosive forces, or soil erodibility. The impact of this research is that we will have better predictions of soil erosion, and thus we will better know where and when severe erosion is occurring so that we can target those areas and spend less money to conserve more soil. Society will benefit from the better and cheaper conservation of the soil resource needed to grow food and because of less water pollution from farmlands.
Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate and potentially improve the methods currently used to measure soil erodibility for the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. We found certain conditions under which current methods were not entirely effective in terms of providing rill erodibility values, which produced effective soil loss estimates. In particular, we found that soil resistance to erosive forces tended to change with depth in the topsoil layer. An alternative method was proposed along with a new formula for erodibility as a function of soil physical and agronomic properties as a function of depth. We investigated the new method for the condition of a non-homogeneous soil till-layer during summer.