Optimization of Land Use Pattern Reduces Surface Runoff and Sediment Loss in a Hilly-Gully Watershed at the Loess Plateau, China

  • Han Yini Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Combating Desertification, School of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3666-4357
  • Niu Jianzhi Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Combating Desertification, School of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing.
  • Xin Zhongbao Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Combating Desertification, School of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing.
  • Zhang Wei Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences; Environmental Science and Policy Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
  • Zhang Tielin Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, Lund.
  • Wang Xilin Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Combating Desertification, School of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing.
  • Zhang Yousong Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Combating Desertification, School of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing.
Keywords: land use pattern optimization, Luoyugou watershed, runoff and sediment transport, SWAT.


Aim of study: The aim is to find a way increasing gain yield and lessen area of farmland, and then increasing vegetation cover, improving environment and alleviating soil erosion.

Area of study: The Hilly-Gully region at the loess plateau of China.

Material and methods: In this study, an adjusted and optimized land use pattern was developed in Luoyugou watershed in the Yellow River valley based on the gradient distribution of land use types, and its effect on water and sediment transport was simulated using the SWAT model and GIS, with remote sensing images, land use maps and hydrologic data.

Main results: The results indicate: average simulated runoff and sediment for the period 1986-2000 under conditions of the three land use pattern (2011, 2008 and optimized land use) reduced by 0.002-0.013 m3/s (2.7-17.6%) and 0.66 million tons, respectively. The runoff and sediment data obtained were compared with observed data from 2008, which showed that runoff and sediment production would be reduced by 467625 m3 and 22754 tons, respectively.

Research highlights: The adjustment of the land use pattern in comprehensive consideration of vegetation and geography have a positive effect on water and sediment transport which will be important for decision making and water resources management, and provides a reference for future environmental management and ecological construction in the loess plateau Hilly-Gully region.



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How to Cite
YiniH., JianzhiN., ZhongbaoX., WeiZ., TielinZ., XilinW., & YousongZ. (2016). Optimization of Land Use Pattern Reduces Surface Runoff and Sediment Loss in a Hilly-Gully Watershed at the Loess Plateau, China. Forest Systems, 25(1), e054. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2016251-08016
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