Effects of Moss Treatments on the Top Soil Moisture of Stream Banks

Authors: Ranbir Kang*, WIU-QC, Department of Geography, Dale Hadley Vitt, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Topics: Geomorphology, Earth Science, Biogeography
Keywords: Stream bank, riparian, vegetation, moss, moisture, soil
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Vegetation plays an important role in affecting the top soil moisture. Despite a considerable fluvial research on the role of vegetation in affecting soil moisture levels to stabilize stream banks, the role of mosses is not clearly understood. The two most common types of riparian vegetation options to stabilize stream banks include woody plants (trees and shrubs) and herbaceous plants (grasses and sedges). Both options have their limitations in low order alluvial streams with relatively high soil moisture. We tested a new alternative in such locations i.e. mosses (division Bryophyta) to regulate the top soil moisture of stream banks which may help reduce erosion and stabilize stream banks. A total of 56 sites along the banks of two different streams were selected. Each site included 4 different types of plots which were surveyed for three years at an interval of six months. The surveys included scanning of each plot with a terrestrial LiDAR, recording the top soil moisture at an interval of 2cm from the surface, and general geomorphic data collection at each site. The preliminary results reveal that the presence of moss affects the top soil moisture on stream banks. While moss indicates a tendency to colonize, many other environmental factors can counter the growth of moss on stream banks.

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