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1 July 2011 Runoff, Sediment Transport, and Effects of Feral Pig (Sus scrofa) Exclusion in a Forested Hawaiian Watershed
Dashiell O. Dunkell, Gregory L. Bruland, Carl I. Evensen, Creighton M. Litton
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Browsing and trampling by nonnative feral pigs (Sus scrofa) negatively impact native flora and fauna in forested ecosystems and cause soil compaction. However, their impact on runoff and erosion is largely unknown. This study addressed this knowledge gap by investigating effects of feral pigs on runoff volume and total suspended solids (TSS) in runoff from the upper forested area of a Hawaiian watershed. Correlations between TSS, runoff, and other environmental variables were also examined. Runoff was collected monthly after 11 individual storm events from June 2008 to April 2009 at seven sites in the Mānoa watershed on the island of O'ahu. Each site consisted of paired runoff plots (5.04 m2) with one plot located inside a fenced pig exclosure (exclosures 1 yr old at study initiation) and the other located in an adjacent area open to feral pigs. Forest composition and structure (stem density, stand basal area, and seedling/ sapling counts) were quantified at each site. Soil moisture, throughfall, runoff volume, and TSS in runoff were sampled for each storm event. The seven sites varied considerably in terms of forest structure, with stem densities ranging from 1,500 to 9,000 stems ha-1 and basal areas ranging from 20 to 132 m2 ha-1. Vegetation at all sites was dominated by nonnative species. Runoff volumes from fenced and unfenced plots were highly variable, ranging from <1 to >128 liters. TSS levels in runoff ranged from <0.01 to 7.05 g liter-1. TSS levels were generally higher in wet-season months, but this pattern was not consistent across all sites. TSS in runoff was significantly correlated with throughfall, soil moisture, and coarse woody debris cover. Although pig exclusion did not reduce TSS, significant reductions in runoff volume from pig exclusion plots were observed at one site, and two other sites showed a similar trend. Longer-term studies may reveal stronger or more consistent impacts of feral pigs. Using paired fenced versus unfenced runoff plots to study erosion impacts of feral pigs is a novel approach, and results from this study will help forest managers better understand and manage runoff and erosion dynamics.

© 2011 by University of Hawai'i Press
Dashiell O. Dunkell, Gregory L. Bruland, Carl I. Evensen, and Creighton M. Litton "Runoff, Sediment Transport, and Effects of Feral Pig (Sus scrofa) Exclusion in a Forested Hawaiian Watershed," Pacific Science 65(2), 175-194, (1 July 2011).
Accepted: 1 June 2010; Published: 1 July 2011

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