The interactions between vegetation and erosion: new directions for research at the interface of ecology and geomorphology


W. R. Osterkamp, US Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ, USA. E-mail:


Vegetation and processes of erosion and deposition are interactive. An objective of this paper is to review selected studies that emphasize the interdependencies. The reviews suggest new directions for research uniting ecology and geomorphology – the sub-discipline of biogeomorphology. The research, which recently has become vigorous, includes the sources, movement, and fates of fluvial loads of sediment, organic carbon, nutrients, contaminants, and woody debris to low-energy storage sites; the function of biota in causing soil evolution, stability, and sequestration of carbon; the development of new methods to characterize watersheds based on edaphic conditions; and the refinement of current empirical and conceptual models and dendrochronological techniques to measure landscape change. These well acknowledged topics and others less well anticipated ensure that biogeomorphology will remain vibrant. Published in 2011. This article is a US Government work and is in the publish domain in the USA.