Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 421218
Title Suspended sediment fluxes in an Indonesian river draining a rainforested basin subject to land cover change
Author(s) Buschman, F.A.; Hoitink, A.J.F.; Jong, S.M. de; Hoekstra, P.
Source Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 8 (2011). - ISSN 1812-2108 - p. 7137 - 7175.
Department(s) Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Abstract Forest clearing for reasons of timber production, open pit mining and the establishment of oil palm plantations generally results in excessively high sediment loads in the tropics. The increasing sediment fluxes pose a threat to coastal marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. This study presents observations of suspended sediment fluxes in the Berau river (Indonesia), which debouches into a coastal ocean that can be considered the preeminent center of coral diversity. The Berau is an example of a small river draining a mountainous, relatively pristine basin that receives abundant rainfall. Flow velocity was measured over a large part of the river width at a station under the influence of tides, using a Horizontal Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (HADCP). Surrogate measurements of suspended sediment concentration were taken with an Optical Backscatter Sensor (OBS). Tidally averaged suspended sediment concentration increases with river discharge, implying that the tidally averaged suspended sediment flux increases non-linearly with river discharge. Averaged over the 6.5 weeks observations covered by the benchmark survey, the tidally averaged suspended sediment flux was estimated at 2 Mt y-1. Considering the wet conditions during the observation period, this figure may be considered as an upper limit of the yearly averaged flux. This flux is significantly smaller than what could have been expected from the characteristics of the catchment. The consequences of ongoing clearing of rainforest were explored using a plot scale erosion model. When rainforest, which still covered 50–60 % of the basin in 2007, is converted to production land, soil loss is expected to increase with a factor between 10 and 100. If this soil loss is transported seaward as suspended sediment, the increase in suspended sediment flux in the Berau river would impose a severe sediment stress on the global hotspot of coral reef diversity. The impact of land cover changes will largely depend on the degree in which the Berau estuary acts as a sediment trap
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