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Journal Article

Role of Moss in Slope Formation

William M. Marsh and John M. Koerner
Ecology
Vol. 53, No. 3 (May, 1972), pp. 489-493
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Ecological Society of America
DOI: 10.2307/1934238
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1934238
Page Count: 5

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Topics: Mosses, Waves, Soil creep, Sand, Vegetation, Plants, Slope of a line, Woody plants, Forest ecology, Sloping terrain
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Role of Moss in Slope Formation
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Abstract

Measurement of slope geometry, moss-lobe characteristics, soil creep, and sand deposition were made over a 2-year period at four sites along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan. Woody vegetation was mapped at two of the sites. Moss lobes originate from the dislodgement of moss clumps from the sand slope crest, their stabilization on the slope face, and their subsequent revegetating by buried moss rhizoids. Moss lobes grow from sand deposition, measured at an average rate of 0.78 cm per year. Soil creep, which averaged 2.1 cm per year at one site, causes convoluting of the lobe snouts. These processes induce slope profiles which have straight or convex instead of concave midslopes as are usually found on sand slopes. The moss lobes also diversify the plant habitat as indicated by highly patterned distributions of woody stems.

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