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Clifford (Cd)

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Clifford- geoArea: 185 sq. km (1.0%)

All cliffs and precipitous mountain slopes are included in Clifford land system, except those which are densely forested. The latter are included in Kirchubel land system. Slopes are steeper than for most of the ridge-and-ravine terrain and are sometimes almost vertical. Inclined stratigraphic sequences of hard and soft rocks are characteristic and prominent outcrops of resistant rock are common. Many of the precipitous slopes have been caused by erosion of softer materials underlying more resistant strata. Major rivers flow through some of the rocky ravines. Lithology and degree of humidity vary considerably within the land system.

Steep slopes, water-shedding, rock outcrop and a high proportion of bare ground results in very high, natural erosion rates. At the same time, the high proportion of resistant rocks leads to a slow rate of soil formation. As a result the soils, where they occur, are very shallow, stony and well leached. Any disturbances can only cause an increase in the already high natural erosion rates.

The vegetation is often sparse. Open forest or woodland I or II predominate, with grasslands and shrublands on rockier slopes or at higher elevations.
A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Clifford- image
Stratigraphic sequences of hard and soft rock are apparent on the steep slopes and rocky cliffs overlooking Bryce's Gorge.

Rainfall, mean (mm)
Seasonal growth limitations

    Annual 8 - 12; lowest July (3 - 7), highest February (16 - 20)

    Temperature <10C (av.): April - October
    Rainfall < potential evapotranspiration: February; frequent winter snow
Age, lithology

    Variable; mainly
    Palaeozoic sandstones, siltstones. mudstones, conglomerates and Devonian rhyolites and rhyodacites
Elevation range (m)
Relative relief (m)
Drainage pattern
Drainage density (km/km2)

    Very steep and precipitous mountain slopes and cliffs

    200 - 1640
    200 - 680
    Uncleared: scenically attractive; recreation; virtually no useful timber harvested

A study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Clifford- csA study of the land in the Catchment of Gippsland Lakes - Vol 2 - land system Clifford- graph

Percentage of land system
Diagnostic features
Very steep slopes
Precipitous slopes and cliffs at higher elevations with prominently exposed rock strata
Slope %, typical and (range)
Slope shape
50 - 70, (40 - 100)
Variable, (60 - vertical)
Parent material
Resistant sedimentary rock, such as quartzitic sandstone. interbedded with more weatherable siltstone and mudstone; rhyolite and rhyodacite
Dark loamy topsoil grading into brown or slightly reddish brown loam to clay loam subsoil: moderately to strongly acidic: very shallow and stony, rock outcrop common
Surface texture
Only loam observed
Surface consistence
Probably slightly hard when dry, friable when moist
Depth (m)
Nutrient status
Available soil water capacity
Perviousness to water
Good to excessive
Exposed stone (%)
Probably50 - 100
Sampled profile number
Structure of vegetation and
characteristic species of
dominant stratum
(+ Predominant species)
Open forest or woodland I, II:
Species vary with exposure and elevation — E. pauciflora on higher more exposed sites grading into E. dives, often with E. rubida. Or into E. macrorhyncha with E. mannifera or E. goniocalyx,- F. polyanthemos sometimes associated. F. delegatensis occurs on most protected sites
Mainly grasslands of Poa spp., Danthonia spp. and Themeda australis with Leptorhynchos squamatus and Craspedia glauca: some heathlands including Crowea exalata, Brachyloma daphnoides and Leucopogon Worms. Trees, as for component I, often on structural ledges

Affected process and trend
Primary resultant deterioration
Casual activities
Primary off-site process
Susceptibility of components
Incidence with components
    Alteration of vegetation:
    — reduction in leaf area, rooting depth and/or perenniality

    — reduction in density of tree roots
Reduced transpiration,
resulting in increased
deep percolation.

Decreased root-binding
Nutrient loss

Soil creep
Not determined

1; low
Not determined

Not determined
Removal of trees

Accelerated by clearing of native vegetation
Increased movement of water to groundwater; increased base-flow of streams

Increased sediment load
    Increased exposure of surface soil
Increased overland flow and soil detachmentSheet and rill erosion1.2; highNot determinedClearing, logging, burning, road building and other earth-moving activitiesIncreased flash flows and sediment load.
    Increased physical pressure on soil
Increased compaction


reduced infiltration
Structure decline

Sheet and rill erosion
1; low

1.2; high
Not determined

Not determined
Loss of organic matter from topsoil

As for sheet and rill
erosion above

Increased flash flows
    Increased soil disruption
Increased soil break-upGully erosionI: highNot determinedAs for sheet and rill erosion aboveIncreased sediment load.
Comments: No observations of deterioration
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