Reduced ground cover
‘Ground cover’ refers to the material that covers the surface of the soil. It includes native vegetation, crop stubble, pasture, weeds, leaf litter, rocks and logs. Ground cover is important for protecting the soil surface from raindrop impact, reducing run-off and soil erosion and enhancing water infiltration. Ground cover does not include taller vegetation such as trees that provide canopy cover. Where dense canopy cover limits the growth of ground cover around the base of the tree the bare soil maybe susceptible to erosion. The condition of the ground cover has implications for flora and fauna habitat, ecological processes and soil condition.
Suggested indicator: Ground cover
Reduced ground cover may be associated with:
|Potential associated impacts||Suggested indicators+|
|Increased potential for soil erosion||
|If eroded sediments are washed into waterways, water quality may be affected||
|Changed vegetation condition and composition|
|Decreased fuel load, which may reduce fire intensity||
|Reduced quality and quantity of soil organic matter||
|Changed infiltration that may alter watertable levels||
|Increased potential for loss of soil nutrients||
|Increased evaporative water loss from the soil surface, which may reduce plant available water content of the soil||
+ Descriptions of indicators (PDF, 76K)* provides a brief description of each indicator including techniques and purpose.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 7 September 2010