Soil erosion and sediment delivery in the Stann Creek catchments

D.E. Walling and P.N. Owens

Department of Geography, University of Exeter, UK

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Work on soil erosion and river sediment yields within the initial WRIScS activities focused on two main topics:

1) measuring the suspended sediment yields (the amount of fine sediment transported by a river in a particular time period) of the three main rivers draining the study area (North Stann Creek, Sittee River and South Stann Creek); and

2) assessing the relative importance of areas under different land use as sediment sources.

The results from these initial studies demonstrated that sediment erosion rates were higher in banana and citrus plantations than in areas under natural forest. However, sediment yields for the study rivers were relatively low when compared to river systems worldwide.

The relatively low sediment yields could reflect either relatively low erosion rates or low sediment delivery ratios. The latter would mean that relatively high erosion rates could be being masked by the small proportion of the mobilised sediment that actually reaches the river. 

The WRIScS project extension work described here set out to examine sediment delivery ratios under various land-use conditions/sites (see map) within the Stann Creek District.

  Summary of Results