Description: The dramatic acceleration of erosion associated with the expansion of pinyon-juniper woodlands over the past 100 years has been widely recognized, but few process-based studies of this phenomenon have been undertaken. In an attempt to identify the underlying causes, and the factors that affect erosion processes, we have initiated an interdisciplinary study of a rapidly eroding pinyon-juniper woodland in northern New Mexico. Since July 1993, we have collected data on runoff, erosion, and weather conditions from a 1-ha catchment study area and have conducted surveys of topography, soils, and vegetation. Our preliminary results indicate that although runoff makes up less than 10% of the annual water budget, runoff events - which are frequent in the summer - are capable of moving large amounts of sediment. We estimate that between July 1993 and October 1994, between 25,000 and 50,000 kg of sediment has eroded and been transported from the catchment. The information gained from such studies is essential to our ability to formulate effective strategies for managing these rapidly eroding woodlands.
Date: Autumn 1994
Creator: Wilcox, Bradford P.; Pitlick, John & Allen, Craig D.
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