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Hillslope Degradation by Trees in Central Kentucky

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I am at the age & stage of career where I have to choose my battles, and this is one I don't really have time for. This paper was submitted to Catena in February, 2015, and received two reviews recommending minor revision. A revised version was submitted June 1, 2015, but a third reviewer was strongly critical and Catena’s editor decided to reject it. Some of the referee’s objections & suggestions are reasonable, but for various reasons I am not able or willing to accommodate them. Some are demonstrably off-base—for example, he/she complains some things are missing from the paper that are unquestionably there. Some—well, you can be the judge if you decide to read this, as the reviewer complains that the paper is “quite poorly written, hard to follow,” and “simply a mishmash of various statements.” I don’t think it’s THAT bad, but consider yourself fairly warned. I have cleaned up a typo or two in formatting the paper for posting, but what you see is pretty much what the 3rd referee didn’t like.
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... The roots inevitably increase in length and girth and split the rocks apart slowly (Matthes-Sears and Larson, 1995). Phillips (2015) showed that about 90% of the examined trees of his study conducted on limestone bedrock hillslopes exhibited evidence of: i) joint widening both horizontally and vertically by root penetration; ii) mechanical displacement of bedrock along bedding planes; and iii) root exposure indicating the removal of material at the tree base (Table 3). Phillips (2016) further explained how the widening of joints can promote chemical weathering in such karst-associated bedrock environments. ...
... Phillips (2016) further explained how the widening of joints can promote chemical weathering in such karst-associated bedrock environments. A combination of root growth in joints, trunk expansion, and the development of basal flares near the tree-ground interface can displace rock fragments both vertically and horizontally (Phillips, 2015). Thus, trees can promote weathering of bedrock and displace mass via root and trunk growth (Gabet and Mudd, 2010;Lutz and Griswold, 1939) (Table 3). ...
... Finally, the infilling of stump holes and trapping of sediments from upslope are distinctive BGIs within rocky hillslopes (Pawlik, 2013;Phillips, 2015;Shouse and Phillips, 2016) as bedrock stream environments have limited potential to display such impacts. Additionally, within hillslope environments, tree growth may enclose (or partly enclose) rock fragments and prevent the downslope movement of sediments until the death of the tree and wood decomposition (Phillips, 2015). ...
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