Slash application reduces soil erosion in steep-sloped piñon-juniper woodlands

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On a steep (30% ± 5%) slope that had been encroached by piñon and juniper trees, we evaluated the effectiveness of slash in reducing runoff and erosion using a portable rainfall simulator (100-yr return period events). Although total runoff did not differ across slash levels, there was marginal evidence of a difference associated with vegetation cover. Sediment yield for plots with low vegetation cover (< 13% cover) was 3.4 times greater than those with high cover, while plots with slash present (≥ 30% cover) experienced 5.4 times less sediment yield than plots without slash. These results extend findings from moderate to steep slopes, highlighting the potential efficacy of slash application for reducing erosion in steep-sloped rangelands.

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