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Leila Gholami, Kazimierz Banasik, Seyed Hamidreza Sadeghi, Abdulvahed Khaledi Darvishan and Leszek Hejduk

Abstract

Mulches have extraordinary potential in reducing surface runoff, increasing infiltration of water into the soil and decreasing soil erosion. The straw mulches as a biological material, has the ability to be a significant physical barrier against the impact of raindrops and reduce the detachment of soil aggregates. The present study is an attempt to determine the efficiency of straw mulch as conservation treatment in changes in the splash erosion, time-to-runoff, runoff coefficient, infiltration coefficient, time-to-drainage, drainage coefficient, sediment concentration and soil loss. The laboratory experiments have been conducted for sandy-loam soil taken from deforested area, about 15 km of Warsaw west, Poland under lab conditions with simulated rainfall intensities of 60 and 120 mmh–1, in 4 soil moistures of 12, 25, 33 and 40% and the slope of 9%. Compared with bare treatments, results of straw mulch application showed the significant conservation effects on splash erosion, runoff coefficient, sediment concentration and soil loss and significant enhancement effects on infiltration and drainage. The results of Spearman-Rho correlation showed the significant (p < 0.05) correlation with r = –0.873, 0.873, 0.878 and 0.764 between rainfall intensity and drainage coefficient, downstream splash, sediment concentration and soil loss and with r = –0.976, 0.927 and –0.927 between initial soil moisture content and time-to-runoff, runoff coefficient and infiltration coefficient, respectively.