Simulated Productivity Lost by Erosion (SimPLE): model development, validation, and use
Productivity lost due to soil erosion can be estimated by existing computer simulation models such as EPIC, NTRM and CENTURY. However, these models require extensive input data and, to date, have had limited success in simulating Western Canadian conditions. The objective of this study was to develop a simple spring wheat model which captured the essential relationships between topsoil erosion and productivity loss in Chemozemic soils. Key relationships in our model describe: (i) how plants create yield from water, N, and P; (ii) how the soil provides these nutrients, and (iii) how erosion impacts on the supply of each nutrient. These relationships were logically connected using the Stella® II modeling environment. Agreement was highly significant (r = 0.55***) between predicted and observed grain yields over 75 site years at Indian Head, Saskatchewan. Also, grain yields from scalped Chemozemic soils in Alberta were closely simulated (r = 0.86****) by SimPLE. Fifty representative soil profiles from the Brown, Dark Brown and Black soil zones were eroded in SimPLE to numerically describe the production lost under wet, normal, and dry scenarios, with and without optimum fertilizer. Yield loss, as a percentage of non-eroded yield, increased with increasing soil erosion following a trend very similar to that reported in field studies. SimPLE is flexible and can be used for analysis of "what if' management scenarios or calculating soil loss tolerance (T) values.
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