Journal article

Sediment availability on burned hillslopes

Petter Nyman, Gary J Sheridan, John A Moody, Hugh G Smith, Philip J Noske, Patrick NJ Lane



Erodibility describes the inherent resistance of soil to erosion. Hillslope erosion models typically consider erodibility to be constant with depth. This may not be the case after wildfire because erodibility is partly determined by the availability of noncohesive soil and ash at the surface. This study quantifies erodibility of burned soils using methods that explicitly capture variations in soil properties with depth. Flume experiments on intact cores from three sites in western United States showed that erodibility of fire-affected soil was highest at the soil surface and declined exponentially within the top 20 mm of the soil profile, with root density and soil depth accounting for 62% o..

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Funding Acknowledgements

The study was conducted as part of a postgraduate scholarship from Melbourne Water and the eWater CRC. Travel and research expenses in the U.S. were funded by the USGS and the University of Melbourne overseas research experience scholarship. Many thanks to Deborah Martin for sourcing literature and to Pierce Martin for his laboratory assistance. Fieldwork in SE Australia was conducted with support from Wim Bovill and Paul McCann. Field work in Colorado was expedited by John Smeins (BLM), Erin Watkins (BLM), and Eric Schroeder (USFS), and fieldwork in California was facilitated by Melody Fountain (USFS). Dick Martin (Martin Entreprise) was instrumental in designing and fabricating parts for the tilting flume while Graeme Scheuber (RMIT) assisted with flume illustrations. The manuscript has benefited from comments and suggestions from anonymous reviewers and the Editor.