TEMPORAL VARIABILITY OF SUSPENDED SEDIMENT LOAD, DISSOLVED LOAD, AND BEDLOAD FOR TWO SMALL OAK FORESTED CATCHMENTS WITH CONTRASTING DISTURBANCE LEVELS IN THE LESSER HIMALAYA OF NORTH-WEST INDIA
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Sediment transfer from mountainous areas to lowland areas is one of the most important geomorphological processes globally with the bulk of the sediment yield from such areas typically deriving from mass wastage processes. This study presents monthly, seasonal and annual variations in sediment transport (both suspended load and bed load) as well as dissolved loads over three consecutive water years (2008–2011) for two small forested watersheds with contrasting levels of forest disturbance in the Lesser Himalaya of Northwest India. Seasonal and annual suspended sediment yields were strongly influenced by amounts of rainfall and stream flow and showed a 23-fold range between wet and dry years. Of the annual load, some 92% was produced on average during the monsoon season (June–September). Sediment production by the disturbed forest catchment was 2.6-fold (suspended sediment) to 5.9-fold (bed load) higher than that for the well-stocked forest catchment. By contrast, dissolved loads varied much less between years, seasons (although minimal during the dry summer season), and degree of forest disturbance. Total mechanical denudation rates were 1.2 times and 4.7 times larger than chemical denudation rates for the little disturbed and the heavily disturbed forest catchment, respectively whereas overall denudation rates were estimated at 0.59 and 1.05 mm per 1000 years, respectively.