The impact of rural land management changes on soil hydraulic properties and runoff processes: Results from experimental plots in upland UK

Marshall, M. R., Ballard, C. E., Frogbrook, Z. L., Solloway, I., Mcintyre, N., Reynolds, B. and Wheater, H. S. (2014) The impact of rural land management changes on soil hydraulic properties and runoff processes: Results from experimental plots in upland UK. Hydrological Processes, 28 4: 2617-2629. doi:10.1002/hyp.9826


Author Marshall, M. R.
Ballard, C. E.
Frogbrook, Z. L.
Solloway, I.
Mcintyre, N.
Reynolds, B.
Wheater, H. S.
Title The impact of rural land management changes on soil hydraulic properties and runoff processes: Results from experimental plots in upland UK
Journal name Hydrological Processes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0885-6087
1099-1085
Publication date 2014-02-15
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/hyp.9826
Volume 28
Issue 4
Start page 2617
End page 2629
Total pages 13
Place of publication Bognor Regis, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Abstract To develop an evidence base to help predict the impacts of land management change on flood generation, four experimental sites were established on improved grassland used for sheep grazing at the Pontbren catchment in upland Wales, UK. At each site, three plots were established where surface runoff was measured, supplemented by measurements of soil infiltration rates and soil and vegetation physical properties. Following baseline monitoring, treatments were applied to two of the plots: exclusion of sheep (ungrazed) and exclusion of sheep and planting with native broadleaf tree species (tree planted), with the third plot acting as a control (grazed pasture). Due to a particularly dry summer that occurred pre-treatment, the soil hydrological responses were initially impacted by the effects of the climate on soil structure. Nevertheless, treatments did have a clear influence on soil hydrological response. On average, post-treatment runoff volumes were reduced by 48% and 78% in ungrazed and tree-planted plots relative to the control, although all results varied greatly over the sites. Five years following treatment application, near-surface soil bulk density was reduced and median soil infiltration rates were 67 times greater in plots planted with trees compared to grazed pasture. The results illustrate the potential use of upland land management for ameliorating local-scale flood generation but emphasise the need for long-term monitoring to more clearly separate the effects of land management from those of climatic variability.
Keyword Broadleaf trees
Climatic variability
Infiltration rates
Land management change
Overland flow
Sheep grazing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry
Official 2014 Collection
 
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