The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

Run-Off and Soil Movement on Mid-Slopes in North-East Queensland [Australia] Grazed Woodlands.

JC Scanlan, AJ Pressland and DJ Myles

The Rangeland Journal 18(1) 33 - 46
Published: 1996


Run-off, bedload and sediment concentration data were collected over a five-year period from unbounded catchments in grazed and exclosed pastures in woodlands. Cover varied from 4% during drought conditions to almost 100% in exclosed areas after above-average rainfall. High bedload soil loss, sediment concentration and run-off percentages were associated with low cover (<30%). Run-off as a percentage of rainfall increased linearly with rainfall intensity; decreased linearly with cover; decreased slightly as soil moisture status declined; and reached a maximum at intermediate rainfall events. Interactions between these factors were observed. Run-off was up to 30% of rainfall in moderate rainfall events (30-40 mm) where maximum rainfall intensity over any 15 minute period (I15) exceeded 70 mm/h. When soil moisture status was high, mean run-off exceeded 30% for 40-80 mm rainfall events. For all rainfall event sizes, run-off exceeded 20% where I15 exceeded 60 mm/h. Cover had very little effect on run-off when rainfall intensity was low (I15<20 mm/h), soil water deficit was low (<10 mm) or when rainfall events were >75 mm or <10 mm. Bedload plus suspended sediment loads ranged from negligible to 1000 kg/ha/a, depending principally on cover. Soil movement from areas with >40-50% cover was very low. Pastures dominated by Bothriochloa pertusa (a stoloniferous, naturalised grass) had lower run-off and lower rates of soil movement than pastures dominated by Heteropogon contortus (a native tussocky perennial grass) when compared at the same level of cover. Differences between grazed and exclosed areas could be attributed solely to differences in cover.

© ARS 1996

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