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Volume 31, Issue 4 p. 1214-1225
Landscape and Watershed Process

Agroforestry Practices, Runoff, and Nutrient Loss

A Paired Watershed Comparison

Ranjith P. Udawatta

Corresponding Author

Ranjith P. Udawatta

School of Natural Resources, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211

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J. John Krstansky

J. John Krstansky

School of Natural Resources, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211

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Gray S. Henderson

Gray S. Henderson

School of Natural Resources, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211

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Harold E. Garrett

Harold E. Garrett

School of Natural Resources, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211

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First published: 01 July 2002
Citations: 182

ABSTRACT

A paired watershed study consisting of agroforestry (trees plus grass buffer strips), contour strips (grass buffer strips), and control treatments with a corn (Zea mays L.)–soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotation was used to examine treatment effects on runoff, sediment, and nutrient losses. During the (1991–1997) calibration and subsequent three-year treatment periods, runoff was measured in 0.91- and 1.37-m H-flumes with bubbler flow meters. Composite samples were analyzed for sediment, total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), nitrate, and ammonium. Calibration equations developed to predict runoff, sediment, and nutrients losses explained 66 to 97% of the variability between treatment watersheds. The contour strip and agroforestry treatments reduced runoff by 10 and 1% during the treatment period. In both treatments, most runoff reductions occurred in the second and third years after treatment establishment. The contour strip treatment reduced erosion by 19% in 1999, while erosion in the agroforestry treatment exceeded the predicted loss. Treatments reduced TP loss by 8 and 17% on contour strip and agroforestry watersheds. Treatments did not result in reductions in TN during the first two years of the treatment period. The contour strip and agroforestry treatments reduced TN loss by 21 and 20%, respectively, during a large precipitation event in the third year. During the third year of treatments, nitrate N loss was reduced 24 and 37% by contour strip and agroforestry treatments. Contour strip and agroforestry management practices effectively reduced nonpoint-source pollution in runoff from a corn–soybean rotation in the clay pan soils of northeastern Missouri.