Factors influencing infiltrability of semiarid mountain slopes

TitleFactors influencing infiltrability of semiarid mountain slopes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsWilcox B.P., Wood M.K, Tromble J.M.
JournalJournal of Range Management
Date PublishedMay 1, 1988
Keywordsinfiltration, rangeland hydrology, soil water

The objective of this research was to determine the effects of selected vegetation, soil, rock, and slope variables on infiltration of semiarid rangelands with slope gradients ranging from 0-70%. Analyses were made on 2 sets of data collected a year apart in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and consisted of Pearson and partial correlation analysis of the dependent infiltration variables and independent site variables. In addition, infiltration was regressed against uncorrelated factors produced by factor analysis. Vegetal cover and biomass strongly influenced infiltration. The relative importance of grasses, shrubs or litter was dependent on their respective abundance, especially grass. Soil depth also limited infiltration especially as soil water storage became satisfied. Infiltrability was negatively correlated with rock cover and the smallest rock size fragments were the most negatively related. When the effects of vegetal cover and slope were removed (using partial correlation analysis) however, the median sized rock fragments (26-150 mm) were positively related to infiltrability, and the smallest rock fragments (2-12 mm) were negatively related. Partial correlation analysis also suggested a positive correlation between infiltrability and slope gradient.