Vol18 No.2: 377-391
【Title】Sediment generation and soil mound denudation in areas of high-density tree throw along a river valley in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland
【Author】Philip GREENWOOD*; Jan BAUER; Nikolaus J KUHN
【Addresses】Physical Geography & Environmental Change Research Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 27, Basel-4056, Switzerland
【Corresponding author】Philip GREENWOOD
【Citation】Greenwood P, Bauer J, Kuhn NJ (2021)Sediment generation and soil mound denudation in areas of high-density tree throw along a river valley in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland. Journal of Mountain Science 18(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5867-z
【Abstract】A preliminary field-based investigation was undertaken in a small (< 10 km2) river valley located in the mountainous Jura region of northwest Switzerland. The aims of the work were to assess sediment generation and annual sediment transport rates by tree throw on forested hillslopes, and to document surface hydrology characteristics on four fresh soil mounds associated with recent tree throws over a 24-day monitoring period. For the soil mounds, average sediment recovery ranged from 7.7-28.2 g (dry weight), equivalent to a suspended sediment concentration of 145.2-327.8 g L-1, and runoff coefficients ranged from 1.0%-4.2%. Based on a soil bulk density value of 1,044 kg m-3, upslope runoff generation areas were denuded by an average 0.14 mm by the end of the 24-day monitoring period, representing an erosion rate equivalent to 2.1 mm yr-1. A ca. 50 cm high soil mound could therefore feasibly persist for around 200-250 years. For tree throw work, the dimensions of 215 individual tree throws were measured and their locations mapped in 12 separate locations along the river valley representing a cumulative area equivalent to 5.3 ha (av. density, 43 per ha). Tree throws generated a total of 20.1 m3 of fine-sediment (< 2 mm diameter), or the equivalent of 3.8 × 10-4 m3 m-2. The process of tree throw was originally attributed to two extreme weather events that occurred in west and central Europe in late December 1999. Taking the 18-year period since both storms, this represents an annual sediment transport rate of 2.7 × 10-5 m3 m-1 yr-1. Exploring the relationship with wind on fall direction, 65.5% of tree throws (143) generally fell in a downslope direction irrespective of hillslope aspect on which they were located. This infers that individual storms may not have been responsible for the majority of tree throws, but instead, could be associated with root failure. Given the high density of tree throws and their relative maturity (averageage 41 years), we hypothesise that once trees attain a certain age in this river valley, their physiognomy (i.e. height, mass and centre of gravity) compromises their ability to remain securely anchored. We tentatively attribute this possibility to the presence of bedrock close to the surface, and to the shallow soil profile overlaying steep hillslopes.
【Keywords】Tree throw; Hillslope processes; Sediment generation mechanism; Sediment transport rate; Soil mound; Ibach river valley