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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342843

Research Project: Improved Management to Balance Production and Conservation in Great Plains Rangelands

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: Wind erosion processes and control

item Tatarko, John
item TRUJILLO, WILMA - Colorado State University
item SCHIPANSKI, MEGAN - Colorado State University

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2018
Publication Date: 2/28/2019
Citation: Tatarko, J., Trujillo, W., Schipanski, M. 2019. Wind erosion processes and control. Colorado State University Extension Publication. 18pp.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion continues to threaten the sustainability of our nations' soil, air, and water resources. To effectively apply conservation systems to prevent wind driven soil loss, an understanding of the fundamental processes of wind erosion is necessary so that land managers can better recognize the why, when, and where of designing wind erosion control systems for individual situations. The physical basis of wind as a force and its interaction with the surface to cause detachment, transport, and deposition of soil particles can be described as processes that affect various modes of transport (i.e., surface creep, saltation, and suspension) that are critical to understanding the on-site and off-site effects of wind erosion. Conservation practices are designed to either reduce the wind force at the soil surface, or create a soil surface more resistant to wind forces. The most effective conservation practice for wind erosion is one that preserves crop residue or keeps growing vegetation on the field surface. When vegetation is sparse as a result of drought or some cropping practices or crop types, ridges and large soil clods (or aggregates) are frequently the only means of controlling erosion on large areas. Other practices such as strip cropping, windbreaks or other barriers are also effective in some circumstances. In addition, wind erosion simulation models can be useful for the design of wind erosion control systems. Although conservation practices can be successful in controlling erosion, droughts can cause a shortage of residue, and erosive winds will not always blow in a prevailing direction. L and managers must be ever vigilant and combinations of practices may need to be considered when planning a wind erosion control system.