Evaluation of compost blankets for erosion control from disturbed lands

R. Bhattarai Rabin, Prasanta K. Kalita, Shotaro Yatsu, Heidi R. Howard, Niels G. Svendsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil erosion due to water and wind results in the loss of valuable top soil and causes land degradation and environmental quality problems. Site specific best management practices (BMP) are needed to curb erosion and sediment control and in turn, increase productivity of lands and sustain environmental quality. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of three different types of biodegradable erosion control blankets- fine compost, mulch, and 50-50 mixture of compost and mulch, for soil erosion control under field and laboratory-scale experiments. Quantitative analysis was conducted by comparing the sediment load in the runoff collected from sloped and tilled plots in the field and in the laboratory with the erosion control blankets. The field plots had an average slope of 3.5% and experiments were conducted under natural rainfall conditions, while the laboratory experiments were conducted at 4, 8 and 16% slopes under simulated rainfall conditions. Results obtained from the field experiments indicated that the 50-50 mixture of compost and mulch provides the best erosion control measures as compared to using either the compost or the mulch blanket alone. Laboratory results under simulated rains indicated that both mulch cover and the 50-50 mixture of mulch and compost cover provided better erosion control measures compared to using the compost alone. Although these results indicate that the 50-50 mixtures and the mulch in laboratory experiments are the best measures among the three erosion control blankets, all three types of blankets provide very effective erosion control measures from bare-soil surface. Results of this study can be used in controlling erosion and sediment from disturbed lands with compost mulch application. Testing different mixture ratios and types of mulch and composts, and their efficiencies in retaining various soil nutrients may provide more quantitative data for developing erosion control plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-812
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Environmental management
  • Runoff
  • Sediment
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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