chapter  Chapter 11
16 Pages

Soil Erosion in Forest Ecosystems and Carbon Dynamics

WithWilliam J. Elliot

This chapter presents the processes that are associated with soil erosion and transport of sediment and soil carbon down forested hillsides to forest streams. Soil erosion is the detachment and transport of sediment by erosive agents, such as wind, water, and gravity, and soil carbon is contained in those moving sediments. When soils erode, carbon is transported from the forest surface into the stream system with the eroded sediments. Erosion properties of forest soils are more dependent on vegetation influences than on soil physical or chemical properties. The effect of topography on erosion can vary, but forest erosion is greatest from steep hillsides. The main human disturbances in forests are timber harvest and roads. Road erosion is much higher per unit area, but timber harvest activities can impact a much larger area within a forest.