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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effects of vegetation cover on runoff and erosion under simulated rain and overland flow on a rehabilitated site on the Meandu Mine, Tarong, Queensland

R. J. Loch

Australian Journal of Soil Research 38(2) 299 - 312
Published: 2000

Abstract

This research was carried out to quantify the role of vegetative cover in reducing runoff and erosion from rehabilitated mined land. Duplicate plots 1.5 m wide and 12 m long were prepared on a rehabilitated area of the Meandu Mine, Tarong, with vegetative cover of 0, 23%, 37%, 47%, and 100%. The area had a uniform 15% slope, and there were no rill or gully lines present. Simulated rain equivalent to a 1 : 100 year storm was applied to the plots, and runoff and erosion were measured.

Infiltration totals and rates increased strongly with increasing vegetative cover. There was visibly greater infiltration under vegetation. Erosion from the simulated storm was greatly reduced by vegetative cover, declining from 30–35 t/ha at 0% vegetative cover to 0.5 t/ha at 47% cover. Reductions in erosion at lower levels of vegetative cover were greater than predicted by the cover/erosion relationship used in the USLE. The dominantly stoloniferous growth habit of the grass at this site may have increased the effectiveness of vegetative cover in this study.

To allow the data to be extrapolated to slopes longer than 12 m, a series of overland flows were applied to the upslope boundaries of the plots, simulating flows on slopes up to 70 m long. Detachment and transport of sediment by applied overland flow was similarly reduced by vegetative cover, and results from the overland flow study also indicate that for slopes up to 70 m long with grass cover of 47% or greater, erosion rates will be minimal, even under extreme rainfall/runoff events.

Keywords: mine rehabilitation, erosion processes, sediment size, infiltration, USLE, C-factors.

https://doi.org/10.1071/SR99030

© CSIRO 2000


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