Shallow landsliding and catchment connectivity within the Houpoto Forest, New Zealand.

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Massey University
Active landslides and their contribution to catchment connectivity have been investigated within the Houpoto Forest, North Island, New Zealand. The aim was to quantify the proportion of buffered versus coupled landslides and explore how specific physical conditions influenced differences in landslide connectivity. Landsliding and land use changes between 2007 and 2010 were identified and mapped from aerial photography, and the preliminary analyses and interpretations of these data are presented here. The data indicate that forest harvesting made some slopes more susceptible to failure, and consequently many landslides were triggered during subsequent heavy rainfall events. Failures were particularly widespread during two high magnitude (> 200 mm/day) rainfall events, as recorded in 2010 imagery. Connectivity was analysed by quantifying the relative areal extents of coupled and buffered landslides identified in the different images. Approximately 10 % of the landslides were identified as being coupled to the local stream network, and thus directly contributing to the sediment budget. Following liberation of landslides during high-magnitude events, low-magnitude events are thought to be capable of transferring more of this sediment to the channel. Subsequent re-planting of the slopes appears to have helped recovery by increasing the thresholds for failure, thus reducing the number of landslides during subsequent high-magnitude rainfall events. Associated with this is a reduction in slope-channel connectivity. These preliminary results highlight how site specific preconditioning, preparatory and triggering factors contribute to landslide distribution and connectivity, in addition to how efficient re-afforestation improves the rate of slope recovery.
Slope-channel coupling, Rainfall, Vegetation, Landslides, Slope angle
McCabe, M., Fuller, I. C., & McColl, S. T. (2013/1). Shallow landsliding and catchment connectivity within the Houpoto Forest, New Zealand. GeoScience: A Working Paper Series in Physical Geography. School of People, Environment and Planning. Massey University. Palmerston North.