Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
Short communication
11 Dec 2023
Short communication |  | 11 Dec 2023

Short communication: Concentrated impacts by tree canopy drips – hotspots of soil erosion in forests

Ayumi Katayama, Kazuki Nanko, Seonghun Jeong, Tomonori Kume, Yoshinori Shinohara, and Steffen Seitz

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Cited articles

Abe, H., Fu, D., Kume, T., and Katayama, A.: Exposure of tree roots and its control factors in a mixed temperate forest with no understory vegetation, Bull. Kyushu Univ For., 103, 13–20,, 2022 (Japanese with English summary). 
Borrelli, P., Robinson, D. A., Panagos, P., Lugato, E., Yang, J. E., Alewell, C., Wuepper, D., Montanarella, L., and Ballabio, C.: Land use and climate change impacts on global soil erosion by water (2015–2070), P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 117, 21994–22001,, 2020. 
Chapman, G.: Size of raindrops and their striking force at the soil surface in a red pine plantation, Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 29, 664–670, 1948. 
Frazer, G. W., Canham, C. D., and Lertzman, K. P.: Gap Light Analyzer (GLA), Version 2.0: Imaging software to extract canopy structure and gap light transmission indices from true colour fisheye photographs, users manual and program documentation, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York, 36, 1999. 
Deng, J., Fang, S., Fang, X., Jin, Y., Kuang, Y., Lin, F., Liu, J., Ma, J., Nie, Y., Ouyang, S., Ren, J., Tie, L., Tang, S., Tan, X., Wang, X., Fan, Z., Wang, Q.-W., Wang, H., and Liu, C.: Forest understory vegetation study: current status and future trends, Forestry Research, 3, 6,, 2023. 
Short summary
Even under forests, soil is eroded by rainfall. This is particularly true when human impact damages vegetation layers. We found that the erosion risk can be greatly increased by structural drip points at branches forming large drops under the tree canopy in the foliated and non-foliated seasons. Our measurements with sand-filled splash cups in Japanese beech forests showed drop energies up to 50 times greater than under freefall precipitation, indicating locally severe sediment detachment.