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Variability of interrill erosion at low slopes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date01/2011
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


Numerous models and risk assessments have been developed in order to estimate soil erosion from agricultural land, with some including estimates of nutrient and contaminant transfer. Many of these models have a slope term as a control over particle transfer, with increased transfer associated with increased slopes. This is based on data collected over a wide range of slopes and using relatively small soil flumes and physical principals, i.e. the role of gravity in splash transport and flow. This study uses laboratory rainfall simulation on a large soil flume to investigate interrill soil erosion of a silt loam under a rainfall intensity of 47 mm h(-1) on 3%, 6% and 9% slopes, which are representative of agricultural land in much of northwest Europe. The results show: (1) wide variation in runoff and sediment concentration data from replicate experiments, which indicates the complexities in interrill soil erosion processes; and (2) that at low slopes processes related to surface area connectivity, soil saturation, flow patterns and water depth may dominant over those related to gravity. Consequently, this questions the use of risk assessments and soil erosion models with a dominant slope term when assessing soil erosion from agricultural land at low slopes. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.