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DECOMPOSITION PARAMETERS FOR STRAW EROSION CONTROL BLANKETS

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. Vol. 47(3): 721-725 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.16104) @2004
Authors:   M. Mamo, G. D. Bubenzer
Keywords:   Decay parameter, Erosion control, RUSLE, Straw blanket, Straw decomposition

Increased environmental concerns and regulations have mandated proper planning to control erosion and sediments from construction sites. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate decomposition rates of single- and double-layer straw erosion-control blankets and to estimate their surface decomposition parameter. Single (DS1, S1) and double (DS2, S2) layer applications of two common types of straw erosion-control blankets (DS150, S150) were used as treatments in the study. The netting material for DS150 was described as having the quality of degrading more quickly than that of S150. Using randomized block design, nine single- and double-layer applications of each material type were placed within plots of a freshly tilled Plano silt loam soil (fine-silty, mixed, mesic, Typic Argiudolls). Each corner was secured in place using U-shaped wires. Every two weeks, starting at week 2, a randomly designated sample of all treatment combinations was permanently removed and analyzed for mass loss. For the 14-week study period, average percent mass loss was significantly higher for treatment DS150 (40%) than for S150 (29%) at the 0.05 level. Within each erosion-control blanket of the same netting material, mean percent mass loss for a single layer was significantly greater (. = 0.05) than that for a double layer. Mean percent mass losses were 50%, 34%, 30%, and 24% in 14 weeks for DS1, S1, DS2, and S2, respectively. Material type (P < 0.0001), time (P < 0.0001), and their interaction (P < 0.0237) were statistically significant. The decay constant for winter wheat (p = 0.0175) in the RUSLE crop database was found to have adequately predicted observed decomposition for DS1 straw blanket. However, it overestimated decomposition rates for all other straw blankets.

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