Abstract

Vegetative-type conversion is a common management practice employed to improve watershed, range, wildlife, or silvicultural conditions on western wildlands. This practice has a greater potential for inducing landslides than is commonly recognized. Conversion of tree and brush cover to grassland cover results in increased soil moisture in earth materials and loss of a consolidating root network. Sheep Creek watershed in central Utah illustrates how landsliding may occur as a result of vegetative-type conversion. Visible landslide activity increased by 300%, and average movement of 0.7 m/yr (2.3 ft/yr) began in the postconversion period. Vegetative-type conversion apparently has a landslide-inducing potential similar to that of clear-cutting and road building.

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