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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344675

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Vegetation in drylands: Effects on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport

Author
item Mayaud, Jerome - Oxford University
item Webb, Nicholas - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Land
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/14/2017
Publication Date: 9/15/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5863765
Citation: Mayaud, J., Webb, N. 2017. Vegetation in drylands: Effects on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport. Land. 6(3):64. https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030064.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030064

Interpretive Summary: Drylands are characterised by patchy vegetation, erodible surfaces and erosive aeolian processes. Empirical and modelling studies have shown that vegetation elements provide drag on the overlying airflow, thus affecting wind velocity profiles and altering erosive dynamics on desert surfaces. However, these dynamics are significantly complicated by a variety of factors, including turbulence, and vegetation porosity and pliability effects. In this paper we review recent progress in our understanding of the effects of dryland vegetation on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport processes. In particular, wind transport models have played a key role in simplifying aeolian processes in partly vegetated landscapes, but they remain challenging in some respects. We identify opportunities for future research that would help to identify the roles of vegetation distribution, geometry and scale in shaping the entrainment, transport and redistribution of wind-blown material at multiple scales. Gaps in our collective knowledge must be addressed through a combination of field, wind tunnel and modelling experiments.

Technical Abstract: Drylands are characterised by patchy vegetation, erodible surfaces and erosive aeolian processes. Empirical and modelling studies have shown that vegetation elements provide drag on the overlying airflow, thus affecting wind velocity profiles and altering erosive dynamics on desert surfaces. However, these dynamics are significantly complicated by a variety of factors, including turbulence, and vegetation porosity and pliability effects. This has resulted in some uncertainty about the effect of vegetation on sediment transport in drylands. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of the effects of dryland vegetation on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport processes. In particular, wind transport models have played a key role in simplifying aeolian processes in partly vegetated landscapes, but they remain challenging in some respects. We identify potential future avenues for research that would help to elucidate the roles of vegetation distribution, geometry and scale in shaping the entrainment, transport and redistribution of wind-blown material at multiple scales. Gaps in our collective knowledge must be addressed through a combination of rigorous field, wind tunnel and modelling experiments.