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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 38(2)

Impact of vegetative cover and slope on runoff, erosion, and water quality for field plots on a range of soil and spoil materials on central Queensland coal mines

C. Carroll, L. Merton and P. Burger

Australian Journal of Soil Research 38(2) 313 - 328
Published: 2000


In 1993, a field study commenced to determine the impact of vegetative cover and slope on runoff, erosion, and water quality at 3 open-cut coal mine sites. Runoff, sediment, and water quality were measured on 0.01-ha field plots from 3 slope gradients (10, 20, 30%), with pasture and tree treatments imposed on soil and spoil material, and 2 soil and spoil plots left bare.

The greatest soil erosion occurred before pasture cover established, when a large surface area of soil (>0.5 plot area) was exposed to rainfall and overland flow. Once buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) colonised soil plots, there were negligible differences in soil erosion between slope gradients. On spoil, Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) reduced in situ soluble salt content, and reduced runoff electrical conductivity to levels measured in surrounding creeks. Where spoil crusted there was poor vegetative growth and unacceptably large runoff and erosion rates throughout the study.

Full text doi:10.1071/SR99052

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