Erosion of Access Tracks in Kalamunda National Park, Western Australia: causes and management implications

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Abstract:

Construction of access tracks in national parks and other reserves in the south-west of Western Australia is an essential feature of park management. However, their construction was often carried out with little or no appreciation of soil and slope characteristics and potential erodibility, or the effect of slope and stream sedimentation on terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna. This paper reports on the findings of a study carried out in Kalamunda National Park, a small reserve in the Darling Ranges east of Perth. Tracks were surveyed and the extent of erosion and sedimentation measured. Erosion-indicating and erosion-influencing variables were measured. Track alignment angle (to the contour) and track gradient were the two site variables most significantly correlated with measures of erosion severity. The most important upslope (on-track) factor was track length, and the most important upslope (off-track) factor was the abundance of granite outcrops. Seasonal conditions were important, particularly in relation to soils with relatively high clay contents. When wet, these soils were more likely to suffer from surface drainage problems and increased runoff, associated with decreased cohesion. On the other hand, the more common sand-textured soils are generally more erodible when wet. Several management measures are recommended. These fall into three categories: those relating to track closure or realignment (to avoid the most erosion-susceptible sites); those relating to actual track design and maintenance, or site management; and those relating to modification of visitor behaviour .

Keywords: NATIONAL PARKS; PARK MANAGEMENT; RUNOFF; SLOPES; SOILS; TRACK EROSION; WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180120100068

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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