Hillslope soils and vegetation

Ronald Amundson, Arjun Heimsath, Justine Owen, Kyungsoo Yoo, William E. Dietrich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Assessing how vegetation controls hillslope soil processes is a challenging problem, as few abiotic landscapes exist as observational controls. Here we identify five avenues to examine how actively eroding hillslope soils and processes would differ without vegetation, and we explore some potential feedbacks that may result in landscape resilience on vegetated hillslopes. The various approaches suggest that a plant-free world would be characterized by largely soil-free hillslopes, that plants may control the maximum thickness of soils on slopes, that vegetated landforms erode at rates about one order of magnitude faster than plant-free outcrops in comparable settings, and that vegetated hillslope soils generally maintain long residence times such that both N and P sufficiency for ecosystems is the norm. We conclude that quantitatively parameterizing biota within process-based hillslope models needs to be a priority in order to project how human activity may further impact the soil mantle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
JournalGeomorphology
Volume234
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

hillslope
vegetation
soil
landform
biota
residence time
outcrop
human activity
mantle
ecosystem

Keywords

  • Biota
  • Erosion
  • Soil
  • Weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Amundson, R., Heimsath, A., Owen, J., Yoo, K., & Dietrich, W. E. (2015). Hillslope soils and vegetation. Geomorphology, 234, 122-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.12.031

Hillslope soils and vegetation. / Amundson, Ronald; Heimsath, Arjun; Owen, Justine; Yoo, Kyungsoo; Dietrich, William E.

In: Geomorphology, Vol. 234, 01.04.2015, p. 122-132.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Amundson, R, Heimsath, A, Owen, J, Yoo, K & Dietrich, WE 2015, 'Hillslope soils and vegetation', Geomorphology, vol. 234, pp. 122-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.12.031
Amundson R, Heimsath A, Owen J, Yoo K, Dietrich WE. Hillslope soils and vegetation. Geomorphology. 2015 Apr 1;234:122-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.12.031
Amundson, Ronald ; Heimsath, Arjun ; Owen, Justine ; Yoo, Kyungsoo ; Dietrich, William E. / Hillslope soils and vegetation. In: Geomorphology. 2015 ; Vol. 234. pp. 122-132.
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