Location: Southwest Watershed Research CenterTitle: Vegetation, ground cover, soil, rainfall simulation, and overland-flow experiments before and after tree removal in woodland-encroached sagebrush steppe: the hydrology component of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation
|Williams, Christopher - Jason
|Pierson Jr, Frederick
|KORMOS, P.R. - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
|AL-HAMDAN, O.Z. - West Texas A & M University
|JOHNSON, J.C. - University Of Arizona
Submitted to: Earth System Science Data
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2019
Publication Date: 5/30/2020
Citation: Williams, C.J., Pierson Jr, F.B., Kormos, P., Al-Hamdan, O.Z., Johnson, J. 2020. Vegetation, ground cover, soil, rainfall simulation, and overland-flow experiments before and after tree removal in woodland-encroached sagebrush steppe: the hydrology component of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP). Earth System Science Data. 12(2):1347-1365. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-1347-2020.
Interpretive Summary: A series of vegetation, hydrology, and erosion experiments were conducted over a 10 yr period across multiple rangeland sites in the Great Basin to evaluate the ecological impacts of tree encroachment into sagebrush steppe vegetation. The study is part of a larger regional study, the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP, www.sagestep.org), evaluating ecological impacts of invasive species and woodland encroachment into sagebrush ecosystems and the effects of various sagebrush restoration practices. Results from the experiments advance understanding of vegetation, hydrology, and erosion interactions for these ecosystems in response to various management actions. The resulting database is a valuable data source for developing and testing hydrology and erosion models for applications to diverse vegetation and ground cover conditions on rangelands. Further, the repeated measures in the dataset provide a unique data source for exploring long-term landscape vegetation and hydrologic and erosion responses to various land management practices and disturbances. The data source is valuable in these regards for land managers and scientists alike.
Technical Abstract: Simulated rainfall and overland-flow experiments are useful for enhancing understanding of surface hydrologic and erosion processes, quantifying runoff and erosion rates, and developing and testing predictive quantitative models. We present an extensive dataset (1021 experimental plots) of rainfall simulation (1300 plot runs) and overland flow (838 plot runs) experimental plot data coupled with associated measures of vegetation, ground cover, and surface soil properties across point to hillslope scales. The experimental data were collected at three sloping woodland-encroached sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) rangelands in the Great Basin, USA, each with conditions representative of intact wooded-shrublands and 1 yr to 9 yr following wildfire, prescribed fire, and/or mechanical tree-removal treatments. The methodologies applied in data collection and the multi-scale experimental approach uniquely provide scale-dependent isolated measures of interrill (rainsplash and sheetflow processes) and concentrated overland-flow runoff and erosion rates as well as collective rates for combination of these processes over the patch scale (tens of meters). The dataset is a valuable source for developing, evaluating, and validating runoff and erosion models for diverse vegetation, ground cover, and surface soil conditions. The experimental data contributes to quantifying and understanding of surface hydrologic and erosion processes for the research domain and potentially for similar sparsely-vegetated rangelands elsewhere around the World. Lastly, the unique nature of repeated measures across multiple treatments over time yields a valuable dataset for exploring long-term landscape vegetation and hydrologic and erosion responses to various conservation practices and disturbances.