Vegetation in drylands: Effects on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport

TitleVegetation in drylands: Effects on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMayaud J, Webb N
Volume6, 64
Date Published09/2017
ARIS Log Number344675

Drylands are characterised by patchy vegetation, erodible surfaces and erosive aeolian processes. Empirical and modelling studies have shown that vegetation elements provide drag on the overlying airflow, thus affecting wind velocity profiles and altering erosive dynamics on desert surfaces. However, these dynamics are significantly complicated by a variety of factors, including turbulence, and vegetation porosity and pliability effects. This has resulted in some uncertainty about the effect of vegetation on sediment transport in drylands. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of the effects of dryland vegetation on wind flow and aeolian sediment transport processes. In particular, wind transport models have played a key role in simplifying aeolian processes in partly vegetated landscapes, but they remain challenging in some respects. We identify potential future avenues for research that would help to elucidate the roles of vegetation distribution, geometry and scale in shaping the entrainment, transport and redistribution of wind-blown material at multiple scales. Gaps in our collective knowledge must be addressed through a combination of rigorous field, wind tunnel and modelling experiments.