Modified MMF (Morgan–Morgan–Finney) model for evaluating effects of crops and vegetation cover on soil erosion

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Abstract

Modifications are made to the revised Morgan–Morgan–Finney erosion prediction model to enable the effects of vegetation cover to be expressed through measurable plant parameters. Given the potential role of vegetation in controlling water pollution by trapping clay particles in the landscape, changes are also made to the way the model deals with sediment deposition and to allow the model to incorporate particle-size selectivity in the processes of erosion, transport and deposition. Vegetation effects are described in relation to percentage canopy cover, percentage ground cover, plant height, effective hydrological depth, density of plant stems and stem diameter. Deposition is modelled through a particle fall number, which takes account of particle settling velocity, flow velocity, flow depth and slope length. The detachment, transport and deposition of soil particles are simulated separately for clay, silt and sand. Average linear sensitivity analysis shows that the revised model behaves rationally. For bare soil conditions soil loss predictions are most sensitive to changes in rainfall and soil parameters, but with a vegetation cover plant parameters become more important than soil parameters. Tests with the model using field measurements under a range of slope, soil and crop covers from Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, UK, give good predictions of mean annual soil loss. Regression analysis of predicted against observed values yields an intercept value close to zero and a line slope close to 1·0, with a coefficient of efficiency of 0·81 over a range of values from zero to 38·6 t ha−1. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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