Predicting Runoff Generation In Agriculture Environmental Sciences Essay

An probe on the consequence of three common agricultural land-use types ( graze, cropping and fallow ) on the saturated hydraulic conduction ( Ksat ) and their relation to runoff coevals of a vertisol, at the University of Queensland, Gatton ( UQG ) campus was undertaken. Undisturbed dirt nucleuss were sampled systemically on the already established three land-use types on a reasonably homogenous dirt classified as Black Earth ( Australian Soil Classification ) of the dirt order Vertisols ( USDA Taxonomy ) . Samples were examined for their Ksat values utilizing the Constant-Head Permeameter ( CHP ) method. Saturated hydraulic conduction values were obtained via the expression used in a simplified falling-head ( SFH ) technique. The Ksat values varied significantly ( p?0.05 ) between interventions with croping holding the least average Ksat followed by cropping and fallow in the first top bed ( 0-10 centimeter ) of the dirt. Valuess below the 10 centimeter deepness were comparatively similar with really small fluctuations [ standard divergence ( SD ) of 1.17 ] among interventions and were non significantly otherwise. Consequences were so used to imitate overflow from the local 10-year long meteoric informations utilizing the WaterMod 3® simulation theoretical account. Relatively land-use types with low Ksat values were predicted to be more exposed to possible overflow coevals and surface soil eroding.

This experiment was aimed at measuring the consequence of different agricultural land-use types on the Ksat of a vertisols at the UQG gardening field and its relation to come up overflow. The Ksat of assorted dirts are bound to change depending on the dirt type, climatic and environmental conditions and the type of land-use ( natural or anthropogenetic ) to which it is capable. Most agricultural land-uses and patterns are no exclusion when sing their inauspicious effects on dirt physical belongingss ( Celik, 2005 ; Ndiaye et al. , 2005 ; Stolte, 2003 ; Zimmermann et al. , 2006 ) and later the hydraulic belongingss. Infiltration capacity and hydraulic conduction of dirts are cardinal characteristics in finding the H2O keeping capacity of dirts every bit good as its susceptibleness to possible eroding. Previous surveies by Jadezyszyn and Niedzwiecki, ( 2005 ) , Lado and Ben-Hur, ( 2004a ) ; and Zimmermann et Al. ( 2006 ) reported an addition in surface overflow as a consequence of decreased infiltration and hydraulic conduction during rainfall events.

Runoff is besides strongly linked to rainfall strengths and infiltration capacities of dirts with the former exercising a coincident consequence on the latter. Ponding on the dirt surface occurs ab initio during rainfall events when the rainfall rate ( mm h-1 ) exceeds the infiltration rate ( Lado and Ben-Hur, 2004 ) . The big organic structure of H2O amassed on the dirt surface moves literally with regard to incline gradient giving rise to runoffs. Depending on the joust of the dirt surface and surface keeping ( set down screen ) , overflow is self-generated on immersing dirts than on level dirts with decreased surface screen.

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Other factors giving rise to overflow are surface conditions ( permeableness, raggedness, checking and/or waterproofing, topography ) ( Lado et al. , 2004 ) , subsurface conditions ( dirt texture, porousness, layering, variableness, construction, and hydraulic conduction ) , the antecedent wet content ( AMC ) , organic affair content ( OMC ) , compression, and hoar ( Geeves, 2007 ) in temperate parts. Establishing on these constructs, we hypothesise that different agricultural land-uses have a variable consequence on the Ksat of a peculiar dirt type under a unvarying climatic and environmental status. The present survey, therefore was founded on the undermentioned aims ; ( 1 ) to quantify and measure the consequence of each agricultural land-use type on the Ksat of a vertisol at the UQG gardening field, and ( 2 ) imitate single land-use types and their relation to possible surface overflow.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1 Site Description

The experiment was conducted on a snap clay semitropical monsoonal clime ( average one-year rainfall of 781mm ) at the University of Queensland – Gatton ( UQG ) campus, in south eastern Queensland. The dirt belonged to the locally known series Lawes and is classified as Black Earth, a chief type in the order of the Australian Vertosols ( harmonizing to Australian Soil Classification [ ASC ] ) or Vertisols ( USDA Soil Taxonomy ) ( Kirchhof et al. , 1984 ) . Despite its noteworthy shrink-swell feature that is capable to climatic influences, it is known for its suitableness in cultivable agriculture. The UQG horticultural field is situated in this widely stretched dirt type which caters for legion agricultural land-uses both for field tests ( UQ and DPI ) and local agriculture ( Lockyer valley farming community ) .

Figure 1 A conventional field layout of the experiment bespeaking the site interventions ( fallow, cropping and croping ) with assigned trying blocks per intervention. Established within the blocks are the trying points ( every 2m interval ) plotted utilizing the systematic dirt sampling technique

The experiment as set out on the UQG gardening field comprised of three trying blocks per land-use as shown in figure 1. The 3 land-uses were composed of croping land predominated by Rhodes grass ( dairy paddock ) , cropped land planted with sorghum ( mature ) and a legume fallow ( largely chick-pea ) . Undisturbed dirt nucleuss were sampled within each trying blocks following the systematic dirt sampling technique ( Tan, 2005 ) . The application of this sampling technique implies that any fluctuation within the interventions, for illustration losing harvest bases, uneven treading by croping animate beings, or dirt heterogeneousness can be levelled out, thereby bring forthing a just representation of the land-use response ( Tan, 2005 ) . The overall experimental layout was simplified so as to function a site-and-time specific hydrological response of this dirt type as a map of land-use type, irrespective of the differences in cropping and croping strengths. However, the land-use history of the site had been known to be of the same sort with regular rotary motions of legume – corn or sorghum ( i.e. cropping and fallow ) except for the dairy paddock ( croping ) which was capable to different croping strengths with a individual animate being type.

2.2 Field Sampling and Laboratory Procedures

The dirt nucleuss were sampled utilizing thin-walled chromium steel steel trying rings and a modified sixpence sampling station, as described by McIntyre ( 1974 ) . The rings had a unvarying dimension ( & A ; Oslash ; 12.5 centimeter and 8.6 centimeters high ) which gave an over-all nucleus volume of 1055 cm3. Sampling rings were lubricated with cookery oil prior to interpolation into the dirt ( Mohanty et al. , 1994 ) . A narrow spade was used to carefully take the inserted rings. All dirt nucleuss had both terminals trimmed gently to hold the sampled dirt levelled with the ring lip utilizing a crisp knife, doing certain both surfaces were neither smeared nor disturbed ( Green et al. , 1998 ) . Core samples were obtained at deepnesss of 0 -10 and 10 – 20 centimeter at each trying point. For this experiment sampling was done in a individual twenty-four hours on all 3 land-use types.

Soil nucleuss obtained from really dry musca volitanss ( with really low AMC ) were brickle and had dents on either surface, hence were repacked with all right sand to makeup for the entire default ring volume. The volume of sand used per dirt nucleus was considered portion of the nucleus ‘s entire pore volume ( nothingnesss or air and H2O spreads ) . For each nucleus, an empty indistinguishable ring was mounted at the top, and the full sample was topographic point into a shallow rectangular H2O bath of dimensions ; 60 x 30 centimeter ( base ) x 12 centimeter ( tallness ) ( figure 2 ) . The H2O bath had multiple beds of screen laid at the underside with an outlet connexion of about 2 centimeters above the base for drainage intent. Water was added to the H2O bath and the nucleus samples were left to saturate from underside up overnight ( approx. 10 hours ) . This was done to displace air from within the dirt nucleuss, leting for a unvarying downward flow from the caput ( David and Todd, 2002 ) .

Upon completion of impregnation and drainage ( through the drainage tubing ) , an initial tallness ( h1 ) was measured between the H2O degree in the H2O bath and the top of the drawn-out ring. Deionized H2O was so added onto the nucleus tableland make fulling the full extension to the top, from where the initial caput was taken with clip entering at the same time for every divergence in tallness due to infiltration. The clip difference ( difference between


Figure 2 Lab set up of the Constant-Head Permeameter ( CHP ) method for Ksat finding utilizing the simplified falling-head ( SFH ) technique but without a burette. Water flux is measured after a steady-state perpendicular flow is reached.

initial and concluding ) together with the step of the autumn [ the difference of which becomes the 2nd tallness ( h2 ) ] was recorded. This was done for every nucleus sample repeatedly, and the mean of the informations set of each nucleus was calculated individually. Though the undertaking was cumbersome with a big sample size consequences were assuring with discernible differences between intervention values similar to preliminary tests of Ksat finding ( Hati and Kirchhof, 2007 [ unpublished ] ) .

2.3 Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity ( Ksat ) Calculation

The saturated hydraulic conduction was determined utilizing the Constant-Head Permeameter ( CHP ) method ( Klute, 1965 ; Klute and Dirksen, 1986 ) . The computation nevertheless was based on the simplified falling-head ( SFH ) technique described by Bagarello and Provenzano ( 1996 ) , and Bagarello and Sgroi ( 2007 ) . On the contrary, the existent Ksat finding utilizing the SFH technique is usually done in situ ( Bagarello and Sgroi, 2007 ) , which is slightly similar to the set-up in figure 2. The undermentioned equation from SFH technique was used instead than the standard falling-head equation as described by Marshall et Al. ( 1996 ) where the cross-sectional country of the nucleus ( A ) and burette ( a ) are included due to the absence of a burette in the experiment ( David and Todd, 2002 ) ;

[ 1 ]

where L is the tallness of the nucleus, ln the natural log, h1 the initial tallness, h2 the deviated tallness, the alteration in clip recorded at the deviated tallness.

2.4 Runoff simulation utilizing WaterMod 3®

The WaterMod 3® is a biophysical harvest simulation theoretical account with its primary focal point on the H2O kineticss of harvest systems ( Johnson and Lodge, 2003 ) . The chief constituents of the theoretical account are ; H2O infiltration and distribution in the dirt profile, overflow, through drainage, evapotranspiration, including interception of H2O by canopy and litter, harvest growing in response to visible radiation, temperature and available dirt H2O.

In this survey the informations inputs for parametric quantities, such that were required by the simulation theoretical account to imitate overflow included the day-to-day precipitation informations set for a specific twelvemonth ( 2007 ) extrapolated from the local 10-year long meteoric informations and Ksat values of dirts from the several land-use types. The pick of the twelvemonth in which the rainfall informations was extrapolated was based on the twelvemonth that had high daily rainfall frequences and rates ( strengths ) . This would clarify overflow better than those with really small precipitation.

With the apprehension that meteoric history does hold a bearing on the kineticss of H2O in and on the dirt profile ( Morgan, 2005 ) the full 10-year long meteoric information was simulated while a specific twelvemonth was selected. The remainder of the parametric quantities within the theoretical account were kept changeless except the parametric quantities under the dirt H2O faculty and meteoric informations from the informations file. Those under the dirt H2O faculty included the profile length ( 0 – 20 centimeter ) and hydraulic parametric quantities ( Ksat and volumetric H2O content [ ?v ] ) . The infiltration theoretical account selected was based on Richard ‘s equation ( Romkens and Prasad, 2006 ) and as such the Van Genuchten ‘s wet curve was used to find dirt wet balances. The infiltration time-step factor of one was used to minimise mistake incidence ( Johnson and Lodge, 2003 ) .

Canopy and litter parametric quantities were omitted hence Ksat response to canopy and litter screen was non implemented. For case Ksat as a map of overflow in this scenario was considered under a soil-atmosphere interface ( au naturel dirt ) , with comparatively less H2O detainment factors such as canopy and/or litter. Among the overflow parameters the profile length and disposition were kept changeless at 100 m and 5 % severally, so as the surface detainment relates to the manning coefficient. Based on the aim of the survey, the manning coefficient was deliberately adjusted to every bit low as 0.04 ( Morgan, 2005 ) due to its direct proportionality to the profile disposition and surface detainment all of which determine the overflow velocity ( Jury and Horton, 2004 ; Rose, 2004 ) . The most variable input parametric quantities were the Ksat and volumetric wet content ( ?v ) of each intervention, whereas for those initial inputs such as rainfall ( mm d-1 ) , infiltration ( Richard ‘s equation ) , moisture keeping curve ( Van Genuchten ) , profile deepness, and the overflow parametric quantities were kept systematically throughout the class of the simulation.

3. Consequences

3.1 Land-use type and Ksat

Consequences presented herein depict a site- and time-specific hydrological response of the three agricultural land-use types on a peculiar dirt type. Nevertheless a specific baseline has non been established for comparing among interventions in this experiment, variable responses were observed. The average Ksat values ( n=12 ) for each land-use type at specific profile deepnesss are representative of the three blocks assigned to each intervention. Treatment agencies were compared utilizing the t-test ( LSD ) to set up statistically important differences ( P ? 0.05 ) among interventions at each dirt deepness as described in table 1.

3.2 Land-use type and overflow

The relationship between the three land-use type interventions and Ksat were correlated based on the standard mistake of mean within and among interventions depth-wise as presented in figure 3. The average Ksat value of each intervention was used as an input parametric quantity in the WaterMod 3® theoretical account to imitate possible overflow coevals utilizing the 10-year long UQG meteoric informations. Simulation consequences are as presented in figure 3.

Soil Depth ( centimeter )


0 – 10

10 – 20

Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity ( mm h-1 )













Table 1 Effect of agricultural land-use type on the saturated hydraulic conduction of the Black Earth type of the vertisol dirt order at the UQG horticultural field as at the clip of trying

autonomic nervous systems = non important, bLSD =Least Significant Difference cn = 12

Figure 3 Relation between land-use type and Ksat with dirt deepness. Standard mistake bars are representative of the full intervention and blocks ( n = 3 )

Figure 4 The simulated relationship between land-use type and overflow ( mm d-1 ) as subjected to the day-to-day rainfall distribution of UQG gardening field in 2007. The peculiar parametric quantity of concern in this theoretical account are the average Ksat values of each land-use type ( Hati and Kirchhof, 2007 ) .

4. Discussion

4.1 Land-use type and Ksat

All three land-use types had a important consequence ( p ? 0.05 ) on the Ksat of this dirt type at 0 – 10 centimeter profile deepness ( table 1 ) . Croping had the lowest mean Ksat followed by cropping and fallow due to the steping consequence of graze cattles. A similar consequence was observed on Ethiopian vertisols where a decrease in infiltration rate and Ksat with a coincident addition in surface overflow occurred under increased cowss croping strengths ( Mwendera and Saleem, 1997 ) . This consequence was far more obvious than those of the cropping and fallow interventions. Cultivated land and wheel trafficking impact on the cropped land Ksat may hold induced some differences compared to legume fallow. Since sorghum in the cropped land-use type was nearing harvest much of these wheel trafficking impact may hold been reduced due to rooting and microbic action under harvest bases. Fallow land-use had a moderately low Ksat as the land at this phase was claimed to undergo a resting period. Despite each land-use types, vertisols in peculiar mention to this dirt type ( Black Earth ) are capable to structural diminution over periods of uninterrupted cultivation ( Kirchhof, 1993 ) therefore appropriate cropping systems with everyday grazing land or leguminous plant based rotary motions are indispensable.

4.2 Land-use Type and Runoff

The lineal relationship between the Ksat and overflow rates ( mm d-1 ) of the dirt is obvious when sing the overall dirt hydrological system as a series of inputs and end products, all of which balance the sum of H2O cycled within the profile. This can be described by the surface and subsurface hydrological features of the dirt as influenced by its transeunt physical belongingss ( i.e. construction, pore size and distribution, and organic affair content ) . The simulation consequences indicated croping to be potentially exposed to possible surface overflow and eroding later followed by cropping and croping land-use types as a consequence of low Ksat values. Saturated hydraulic conduction being a subsurface status is responsible for the transmittal of infiltrated H2O from the surface into the profile. Decrease in infiltration due to come up conditions such as hard-setting and/or surface waterproofing and compression as a consequence of a rainfall event can present antagonistic effects on overflow apart from Ksat. Rainfall strengths ( mm h-1 ) and frequences ( geographical distribution ) are besides of import lending factors. Several patterning surveies of a similar sphere have elucidated a similar response irrespective of dirt type ( De Roo et al. , 1992 ; Herbst et al. , 2006 ; Merz and Plate, 1997 ) .

5. Decision

The present survey proves that different agricultural land-use types have a variable consequence on the Ksat of a vertisol which tend to be noteworthy in the top 10 centimeter bed. Land-use types with decreased Ksat were more susceptible to possible overflow and accordingly eroding. Furthermore, the findings of this experiment are limited to the current conditions of the dirt in response to the land-use type during the clip of trying.


All thanks are due to Dr. Gunnar Kirchhof ( Lecturer – Soil natural philosophies ) and Mrs. Katherine Raymont ( soils lab technician ) for proficient aid. Particular thanks besides to Messrs. Ta Nguyen and You Zhi ( UQ PG co-workers ) sampling.


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