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Open AccessArticle

The Influence of Soil Compaction on Runoff Formation. A Case Study Focusing on Skid Trails at Forested Andosol Sites

Department of Geography, Institute for Integrated Natural Sciences, University Koblenz-Landau, Campus Koblenz, 1, 56070 Koblenz, Germany
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Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050204
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
This study discusses the influence of soil compaction on runoff generation with a special focus on forested Andosol sites. Because of their typical soil physical characteristics (low bulk density, high pore volumes) and the existent land use, these areas are expected to show low to no measurable overland flow during heavy rainfall events. However, due to heavy machinery traffic in the course of forestry actions and pumice excavations, skid trails have been established. Here, a distinct shift of soil dry bulk density (DBD) was observable, using a detailed soil mapping and data interpolation in order to generate in-depth DBD-cross profiles. Additionally, infiltration measurements and rainfall simulations (I = 45 mm·h−1, t = 30 min) were conducted to evaluate effects of observed soil compaction on infiltration rates and overland flow formation. Results show that soil compaction was increased by 21% on average in skid trail wheel ruts. As a consequence, observed runoff was 8.5-times higher on skid trails, while saturated hydraulic conductivity was diminished by 36%. These findings show, that soil compaction leads to a higher possibility of runoff formation during heavy rainfall events, especially at sites which showed initial conditions with presumably low tendencies of runoff formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainfall simulation; soil compaction; overland flow; forest hydrology; Andosol; soil hydrology; infiltration rainfall simulation; soil compaction; overland flow; forest hydrology; Andosol; soil hydrology; infiltration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zemke, J.J.; Enderling, M.; Klein, A.; Skubski, M. The Influence of Soil Compaction on Runoff Formation. A Case Study Focusing on Skid Trails at Forested Andosol Sites. Geosciences 2019, 9, 204.

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