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Influence of Unpaved Access Roads on Surface Runoff within Forest Plantations
Expanded Title:This study was aligned towards understanding the influence of forestry access roads on runoff, sediment production and soil water movement. In the presence of only a few local past studies much of the work has been exploratory in nature and strong reliance had to be made on past international studies for guidance. Techniques and systems had to be refined or adapted to local site conditions and equipment had to be customized to meet the objectives of the study, much of which has been met although perhaps not fully realized from the two years of field monitoring. The study was conducted under natural rainfall over two full summer seasons. Although an estimate of the rate of surface runoff production and sediment loss from road sections of varying gradient has been provided, a longer monitoring period of verification may be required. Supplementary studies using rainfall simulators may also prove valuable in assessing the timing of runoff and mechanisms of soil dislodgement from the road surface. However, should this take place, it will be important to operate the rainfall simulator at rainfall intensities close to that occurring naturally. The study showed that water flowing through the mitre drain from the road surface into the compartment may contribute to increased soil water content particularly near the drain exit. This finding is significant as it could influence the manner in which road drainage is dealt with in the future. However, this aspect needs to be further investigated perhaps using a more direct or more sensitive technique. Allied with this is the issue of catchment connectivity, ie the movement of water from the road surface to the stream network which has been discussed in the literature but could not be fully evaluated within the current study. Mapping of water and sediment delivery pathways, perhaps coupled with tracer studies, could aid the realization of this objective. At present riparian buffer zones within forestry areas are relied upon to contain sediment. If information on sediment delivery pathways from roads to streams are known then it may be possible to limit the travel of sediment by its management at the source of origin. Optimization of road drainage location and spacing may be a possible method to achieve this.
Date Published:01/12/2011
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Agro forestry
Document Keywords:Hydrology
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:1807/1/11
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0207-2
Authors:Moodley M; Hill TR; Beckedahl H
Project No:K5/1807//4
Originator:WRC
Organizations:AquaGreen Consulting; University of KwaZuIu-Natal
Document Size:21 607 KB
Attachments:Table of Contents for 1807.pdf
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