A sediment budget for a cultivated floodplain in tropical North Queensland, Australia
Article first published online: 2 FEB 2007
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume 32, Issue 10, pages 1475–1490, September 2007
How to Cite
Visser, F., Roth, C. H., Wasson, R. and Govers, G. (2007), A sediment budget for a cultivated floodplain in tropical North Queensland, Australia. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms, 32: 1475–1490. doi: 10.1002/esp.1475
- Issue published online: 21 AUG 2007
- Article first published online: 2 FEB 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 NOV 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 22 OCT 2006
- Manuscript Received: 13 DEC 2005
- Sugar Research and Development Corporation. Grant Number: CLW 007
- CSIRO Land and Water
- Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations
- Australian National University
- sediment budget;
- humid tropics;
- Herbert River;
Sugarcane is grown on the floodplains of northern Queensland adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Sediment and nutrient loss from these sugarcane areas is considered a potential threat to coastal and marine ecosystems. To enable sugarcane cultivation, farmers have structured the landscape into different elements, comprising fields, water furrows, ‘headlands’ and drains. In order to apply appropriate management of the landscape and reduce export of sediment, it is important to identify which of these elements act as sediment sources or sinks.
In this study erosion and deposition rates were measured for the different landscape elements in a subcatchment of the Herbert River and used to create a sediment budget. Despite large uncertainties, the budget shows that the floodplain area is a net source of sediment. Estimated sediment export varies between 2 and 5 t ha−1 y−1. The relative importance of the landscape elements as sediment sources could also be determined. Plant cane is identified as the most important sediment source. Water furrows generate most sediment, but are a less important source of exported sediment due to their low connectivity. Headlands and minor drains act as sediment traps. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.