Long-term effects of soil conservation works on soil erosion on a hilly beech forest slope with an understory impoverished by deer browsing

Jinsheng SUN, Yoshiharu ISHIKAWA, Katsushige SHIRAKI, Taeko WAKAHARA and Yoshimi UCHIYAMA


This study elucidates effects of various conservation works on soil erosion at the Dodaira beech forest of the Tanzawa Mountains using USLE, where forest floor vegetation has declined because of deer feeding. We applied soil erosion prevention work of four types : untreated (control), wooden horizontal step, coconut fiber net cover, and bamboo fiber net cover. Then we observed soil erosion amounts for 10-11 years. During the first year of soil erosion prevention work, the soil erosion amount in the treated plots was less than in the control plots. Although the vegetation was restored, litter had accumulated. Soil erosion was reduced at the control plots that had been installed outside of the vegetation protection fence. The effects of soil erosion reduction reached their limit after 10-11 years. The increased forest floor coverage led to reduction of soil erosion inside of the vegetation protection fence, even for the control plots. At the wooden horizontal step works, the soil erosion increased in the final year at the outside of the protection fence despite of the recovery of vegetation. Results show that the soil erosion amount at the wooden horizontal step works can be larger than that expected from the effects of vegetation coverage restoration. Soil erosion amounts during the last year for coconut and bamboo fiber net covering works installed at the steep slope of the outside of the protection fence surpassed those measured during the first year. This fact illustrates the time limitations of the effects of the coconut and bamboo fiber net. It also suggests that the coconut and bamboo fiber cover works installed at the steeper slope of the inside of the protection fence or at the gentle slope have reduced soil erosion for more than 10 years.

Key words

litter, understory cover ratio, USLE, vegetation protection fence