Arnhold, S; Ruidisch, M; Bartsch, S; Shope, CL; Huwe, B: Simulation of runoff patterns and soil erosion on mountainous farmland with and without plastic covered ridge-furrow cultivation in South Korea, Transactions of the ASABE, 56(22), 667-679 (2013)


Plastic covered ridge-furrow cultivation (plastic mulch) can substantially influence runoff and soil erosion on agricultural land. However, the impact of this management practice in combination with a complex farmland topography has not been thoroughly investigated. The goal of this study was to identify how topography influences runoff patterns and erosion rates of plastic mulch cultivation. We measured runoff and sediment transport on two mountainous fields in South Korea, one with a concave and one with a convex topography, during monsoonal rain events. We used the EROSION 3D model to compare flow and sediment transport between plastic mulch, uncovered ridges, and a smooth soil surface. We found the highest runoff and erosion rates from both of the fields with plastic mulch, due to the impermeable surface. For the uncovered ridges, we identified 140% higher erosion compared to the smooth surface on the concave field, but 20% lower erosion on the convex field. The simulated sediment transport patterns showed that the ridge-furrow system concentrated overland flow on the concave field resulting in high erosion rates. On the convex field, the ridge-furrow system prevented flow accumulation and erosion. Our results demonstrate that the effect of ridge-furrow systems on erosion is controlled primarily by the topography. These results have practical consequences for watershed conservation planning and the application of large-scale erosion models. Nevertheless, further research is needed to fully understand the impact of this management system on runoff and erosion on mountainous farmland.

Keywords: Complex landscape, Erosion, Furrows, Korea, Plastic mulch, Ridges, Runoff, Topography

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