Factors controlling soil erosion and runoff and their impacts in the upper Wissey catchment, Norfolk, England: A ten year monitoring programme

Evans, Robert (2017) Factors controlling soil erosion and runoff and their impacts in the upper Wissey catchment, Norfolk, England: A ten year monitoring programme. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. ISSN 0197-9337

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4182

Abstract

Monitoring of runoff and erosion in farmers' fields and their impacts gives a better understanding of erosion. However, it is rare that monitoring at frequent intervals is done over a prolonged period. A part of the upper Wissey catchment in central Norfolk, eastern England was monitored for 10 years to assess the extent and frequency of erosion and runoff, their causes and impacts. Surface wash occurred more widely and more frequently than expected. Runoff and erosion took place a number of times in a year in a range of autumn- and spring-sown crops, and occurred dominantly down tractor wheelings or ruts left after harvesting potatoes or sugar beet under wet conditions. Over 10 years erosion affected about half the 105 fields monitored, often more than once. Erosion was more extensive in autumn-sown cereal fields, but often more severe and with greater off-field effects, for example muddy flooding of roads from spring-sown late harvested crops such as potatoes and sugar beet. Runoff from outdoor pig fields also flooded roads and houses. This study confirms other studies of the extent, frequency and severity of erosion in Britain, that rill erosion does not occur in every field in the landscape, that in the main, fields do not erode frequently and rates of erosion are generally small. Runoff and erosion within a field took place more frequently than had been suspected. Compaction and destruction of topsoil structure by machinery especially at harvest, or by outdoor pigs, is important in initiating runoff. Rates of erosion were generally very low and will not affect soil productivity adversely over the short-term. However, flooding of roads and property, and especially pollution of water courses by sediment, nutrients and pesticides are important off-field impacts and are the primary reason, over the short-term, for mitigating runoff and erosion. Monitoring such as this sheds light on the problems of modelling to predict risk of erosion based on erosion rates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: soil erosion, runoff, land use, impacts of runoff, monitoring, models
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2017 14:20
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2017 15:22
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/702071

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