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A Review of Concentrated Flow Erosion Processes on Rangelands: Fundamental Understanding and Knowledge Gaps
AuthorNouwakpo, Sayjro K.
Williams, Christopher J.
Al-Hamdan, Osama Z.
Weltz, Mark A.
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Concentrated flow erosion processes are distinguished from splash and sheetflow processes in their enhanced ability to mobilize and transport large amounts of soil, water and dissolved elements. On rangelands, soil, nutrients and water are scarce and only narrow margins of resource losses are tolerable before crossing the sustainability threshold. In these ecosystems, concentrated flow processes are perceived as indicators of degradation and often warrant the implementation of mitigation strategies. Nevertheless, this negative perception of concentrated flow processes may conflict with the need to improve understanding of the role of these transport vessels in redistributing water, soil and nutrients along the rangeland hillslope. Vegetation influences the development and erosion of concentrated flowpaths and has been the primary factor used to control and mitigate erosion on rangelands. At the ecohydrologic level, vegetation and concentrated flow pathways are engaged in a feedback relationship, the understanding of which might help improve rangeland management and restoration strategies. In this paper, we review published literature on experimental and conceptual research pertaining to concentrated flow processes on rangelands to: (1) present the fundamental science underpinning concentrated flow erosion modeling in these landscapes, (2) discuss the influence of vegetation on these erosion processes, (3) evaluate the contribution of concentrated flow erosion to overall sediment budget and (4) identify knowledge gaps.
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