Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
22 Jun 2016
Research article |  | 22 Jun 2016

The influence of Holocene vegetation changes on topography and erosion rates: a case study at Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, Arizona

Jon D. Pelletier, Mary H. Nichols, and Mark A. Nearing


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Short summary
This paper documents that a shift from grassland to shrubland within the past few thousand years has caused erosion rates to increase more than 10-fold and drainage density to increase approximately 3-fold in areas of otherwise similar climate and geology at a study site in Arizona. We provide a mathematical model that predicts the observed drainage density under both grassland and shrubland conditions. In the model application we are able to tightly constrain every parameter.