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Data Extent

Vegetation, rainfall simulation, and overland flow experiments before and after tree removal in woodland-encroached sagebrush steppe: the SageSTEP hydrology study

Paired large-plot rainfall simulations, Marking Corral, Nevada. Photo by USDA Agricultural Research Service, Northwest Watershed Research Center, Boise, Idaho, USA.

Simulated rainfall and overland-flow experiments are useful for enhancing understanding of surface hydrologic and erosion processes, quantifying runoff and erosion rates, and developing and testing predictive quantitative models. This extensive dataset (1021 experimental plots) consists of rainfall simulation (1300 plot runs, 0.5 m2 to 13 m2 scales) and overland flow (838 plot runs, ~9 m2 scale) experimental plot data coupled with associated measures of vegetation, ground cover, and surface soil properties across point to hillslope scales. The data were collected at three woodland-encroached sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) rangelands in the Great Basin, USA, under undisturbed/untreated conditions and 1 yr to 9 yr following fire and/or mechanical tree-removal treatments. The methodology employed and resulting experimental data contribute to quantifying and understanding scale-dependent surface hydrologic and erosion processes for Great Basin woodlands and sagebrush rangelands before and after tree removal and for sparsely vegetated sites elsewhere. The dataset is a valuable source for developing and testing hydrology and erosion models for applications to diverse vegetation and ground cover conditions. Lastly, the series of repeated measures in the dataset for some sites over time provides a valuable dataset for exploring long-term landscape vegetation and hydrologic and erosion responses to various land management practices and disturbances.

The resulting collective dataset of 1021 experimental plots contains vegetation, ground cover, soils, hydrology, and erosion data collected across multiple spatial scales, diverse cover and surface conditions, three study sites, and five different study years. The collective dataset contains 57 plots at the hillslope scale (site characterization plots), 528 small-rainfall plots, 146 large-rainfall plots, and 290 overland-flow plots. The hydrology and erosion experiments yielded time series datasets for small-rainfall plot, large-rainfall plot, and overland-flow plot simulations. Some time series hydrographs and sedigraphs from rainfall and overland flow simulations were excluded due to various equipment failures. The final time series datasets consist of 1020 small-rainfall, 280 large-rainfall, and 838 overland-flow plot run hydrographs and sedigraphs, not excluding plots without runoff. Restricting the data to plots that generated runoff results in 749 small-rainfall, 251 large-rainfall, and 719 overland-flow plot simulation hydrographs and sedigraphs. Overall, the hydrology and erosion time series dataset amounts to 2138 hydrographs/sedigraphs including plots with zero runoff and 1719 hydrographs/sedigraphs for plots that generated runoff.

Field experiments and data management were conducted as part of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP, (www.sagestep.org) funded by the US Joint Fire Science Program, US Department of Interior (USDI) Bureau of Land Management, and US National Interagency Fire Center.
This dataset is contribution number 134 of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project.

See README file for information regarding experimental design and methods.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POINT (-116.7775 42.447222)
POINT (-115.114167 39.454722)
POINT (-112.473333 40.211667)
Ag Data Commons
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Idaho, Nevada, Utah, USA
Temporal Coverage
May 26, 2006 to September 10, 2015
Data Dictionary
Contact Name
Williams, C. Jason
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service