Filling the gap between plot and landscape scale – eight years of soil erosion monitoring in 14 adjacent watersheds under soil conservation at Scheyern, Southern Germany

Fiener, Peter; Wilken, Florian; Auerswald, Karl

Watershed studies are essential for erosion research because they embed real agricultural practices, heterogeneity along the flow path, and realistic field sizes and layouts. An extensive literature review covering publications from 1970 to 2018 identified a prominent lack of studies, which (i) observed watersheds that are small enough to address runoff and soil delivery of individual land uses, (ii) were considerably smaller than erosive rain cells (<400ha), (iii) accounted for the episodic nature of erosive rainfall and soil conditions by sufficiently long monitoring time series, (iv) accounted for the topographic, pedological, agricultural and meteorological variability by measuring at high spatial and temporal resolution, (v) combined many watersheds to allow comparisons, and (vi) were made available. Here we provide such a dataset comprising 8 years of comprehensive soil erosion monitoring (e.g. agricultural management, rainfall, runoff, sediment delivery). The dataset covers 14 adjoining and partly nested watersheds (sizes 0.8 to 13.7 ha), which were cultivated following integrated (four crops) and organic farming (seven crops and grassland) practices. Drivers of soil loss and runoff in all watersheds were determined with high spatial and temporal detail (e.g., soil properties are available for 156 m2 blocks, rain data with 1 min resolution, agricultural practices and soil cover with daily resolution). The long-term runoff and especially the sediment delivery data underline the dynamic and episodic nature of associated processes, controlled by highly dynamic spatial and temporal field conditions (soil properties, management, vegetation cover). On average, the largest 10 % of events lead to 85.4 % sediment delivery for all monitored watersheds. The analysis of the Scheyern dataset clearly demonstrates the distinct need for long-term monitoring in runoff and erosion studies.

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Fiener, Peter / Wilken, Florian / Auerswald, Karl: Filling the gap between plot and landscape scale &#8211; eight years of soil erosion monitoring in 14 adjacent watersheds under soil conservation at Scheyern, Southern Germany. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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