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Characteristics of the surface–subsurface flow generation and sediment yield to the rainfall regime and land-cover by long-term in-situ observation in the red soil region, Southern China

Liu, Yao-Jun, Yang, Jie, Hu, Jian-Min, Tang, Chong-Jun, Zheng, Hai-Jin
Journal of hydrology 2016 v.539 pp. 457-467
grasses, land cover, rain, runoff, sediment yield, sediments, soil, soil erosion, spring, storms, subsurface flow, vegetation types, China
Land cover and rainfall regime are two important factors that affect soil erosion. In this paper, three land cover types – grass cover, litter cover and bare land – were employed to analyze surface runoff, subsurface flow and sediment loss processes in relation to the rainfall regimes in the red soil region of China. Five rainfall regimes were classified according to 393 rainfall events via a k-means clustering method based on the rainfall depth, duration and maximum 30-min intensity. The highest surface runoff coefficient and erosion amount were found on bare land in all five rainfall regimes, and the lowest were found on grass cover. The litter cover generated the highest subsurface flow rate, followed by the grass cover; the lowest was on bare land. For grass cover and litter cover plots, rainfall events of rainfall regime IV which had the longest duration, greatest depth and lowest intensity had the highest surface runoff coefficient, soil erosion amount and subsurface flow rate. For bare land, storm rainfall events of rainfall regime V had the highest intensity, lowest depth and duration, had the highest surface runoff coefficient and soil erosion amount, but the lowest subsurface flow rate. The highest subsurface flow rate of bare land happened in rainfall regime IV. Surface cover was urgently needed to reduce soil erosion. When the lands under dense surface cover, more attention should be paid to rainfall events that of long duration, high depth but low in intensity which commonly occurred in spring. The interactions of surface–subsurface flow and its effects on soil erosion and nutrient loss were worth considering in the red soil region.