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Environmental Controls on Turf-Banked Terraces


Weiss, Daniel J.; Walsh, Stephen J.; McKnight, Sean A.; & Hammer, Evan S. (2009). Environmental Controls on Turf-Banked Terraces.. Butler, David R.; Malanson, George P.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Fagre, Daniel B. (Eds.) (pp. 85-106). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


Turf-banked terraces in the alpine tundra of Glacier National Park, Montana, are typically characterized by alternating stripes of flat, stone-covered treads or steps and angled risers covered by alpine tundra vegetation. Previous research has suggested that the presence of turf-banked terraces is controlled by local environmental settings, particularly, topographic conditions. In this research, regression analysis is used to assess the correlations between turf-banked terrace characteristics and a set of hypothesized environmental controls. Measures of turf-banked terraces include the widths and standard deviations of treads, risers, and all stripes measured at 55 areally distributed 50-m field transects; the ratio of riser width to tread width; and a set of four one-dimensional pattern metrics that assess the spatial structure of the tread/riser sequences. These measures were derived using a run-length approach for field transects distributed in basins located throughout the eastern side of the Continental Divide. The environmental variables, generated from a 10-m spatial resolution digital elevation model (DEM), include elevation, slope angle, slope aspect, slope curvature, and soil moisture potential. Our results show that several turf-banked terrace characteristics are significantly correlated with individual environmental variables; stronger relationships are found when turf-banked terrace characteristics are related to transformed (i.e., principal components analysis) environmental variables using multiple regression analysis.


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Book Section

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Series Title

Developments in Earth Surface Processes


Weiss, Daniel J.
Walsh, Stephen J.
McKnight, Sean A.
Hammer, Evan S.