Overland flow transport of sediment and nutrients from lands under different management regimes in the Atherton Tableland
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A series of field rainfall simulations were carried out to study the impact of different land-use and management techniques on sediment and nutrient movement in the southern Atherton Tableland. Both farm management techniques and landscape factors appear to influence sediment and nutrient loss in runoff. The highest sediment concentration was produced on a cattle track and was substantially higher than sediment concentrations produced at all other experimental plots. In general higher sediment concentrations were associated with beef farms where the soil was most heavily impacted by cattle trampling. Loss of dissolved nitrate was at its highest on dairy sites which had greater nutrient inputs through fertilisation and nitrogen fixation by leguminous plants than either beef or rainforest sites. Nitrate concentration in runoff on the organic dairy farm was similar to the concentration at the dairy farm where mineral fertiliser was used. The position in the landscape was found to influence nitrate concentration, with the highest concentrations being measured in the lower toeslopes. Results indicate that farms should be managed and designed according to landscape features. They also demonstrate the importance of undertaking landscape scale rather than point scale studies.
Proceedings of the13th International Soil Conservation Organisation Conference, 4-9th July, Brisbane, Qld., Australia, Eds. S.R. Raine, A.J.W. Biggs, N.W.