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Land 2015, 4(3), 711-736; doi:10.3390/land4030711

Modelling the Potential of Integrated Vegetation Bands (IVB) to Retain Stormwater Runoff on Steep Hillslopes of Southeast Queensland, Australia

1
Centre for Spatial Environmental Research, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
2
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), PO Box 780, Atherton, QLD 4883, Australia
3
School of Earth and Environment (M004), University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Audrey L. Mayer
Received: 13 February 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [19870 KB, uploaded 20 August 2015]   |  

Abstract

Rainfall intensity is predicted to increase under a changing climate, leading to increased risks of hillslope erosion, downstream sedimentation and flooding. For many catchments used for grazing and agricultural land uses, it will become increasingly important to maintain ecohydrological functioning despite climatic extremes. One means to achieve this is through strategic reforestation using locally endemic species, in spatial configurations that effectively intercept, retain or and redistribute overland flows. This paper adopts a modelling approach for investigating the potential of one such design termed “integrated vegetation bands” (IVB), to increase the retention of runoff across steep hillslopes, particularly in the sub-tropics where rainstorms are becoming increasingly intense. A spatially distributed simulation model (MIKE-SHE) was applied to a steep, grazed catchment (Maronghi Creek catchment, Southeast Queensland, Australia) to compare stormwater runoff characteristics between: (1) the existing pasture land cover; and (2) a series of hypothetical IVB added across this pasture land. The IVB were approximately 20 m wide, and configured at 5% gradient towards ridgelines. Results for estimates of overland flow depth and infiltration (spatial), and accumulative water balance (temporal), confirm that the area of hillslope retaining > 10 mm/day more runoff increased by 22% under IVB compared to the pasture land use. Excluding the IVB themselves, the area of hillslope where runoff retention increased was 11%. During the most intense rainfall, IVB held up to 25% greater water depth and had 10% greater infiltration at the hillslope scale. At the sub-catchment scale, discharge decreased by 7% and infiltration increased by 23%. The findings for sub-tropical landscapes presented here are consistent with studies conducted in temperate regions. Based on the results of this preliminary modelling work, the IVB concept has been established as a paired-catchment field trial in a high rainfall catchment in Southeast Queensland, Australia. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation bands; grazing land; stormwater runoff; water retention; ecohydrology; hillslopes; simulation modelling vegetation bands; grazing land; stormwater runoff; water retention; ecohydrology; hillslopes; simulation modelling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ryan, J.G.; McAlpine, C.A.; Ludwig, J.A.; Callow, J.N. Modelling the Potential of Integrated Vegetation Bands (IVB) to Retain Stormwater Runoff on Steep Hillslopes of Southeast Queensland, Australia. Land 2015, 4, 711-736.

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