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Impacts of land disturbance and restoration on runoff production and sediment yield in the Chinese Loess Plateau

Ai, Ning, Wei, Tianxing, Zhu, Qingke, Qiang, Fangfang, Ma, Huan, Qin, Wei
Journal of Arid Land 2017 v.9 no.1 pp. 76-86
Hippophae, arid lands, land restoration, loess, rain, runoff, sediment yield, soil, topography, vegetation, China
Land disturbance and land restoration are important factors influencing runoff production and sediment yield in the semi-arid loess regions of China. This study compared the runoff production and sediment yield during the early stage after land disturbance (ESLD) with those during restoring stage after land disturbance (RSLD). Grey relational analysis was used to analyse the importance of each one of the influencing factors (vegetation, rainfall, soil and topography) in affecting the runoff production and sediment yield. Our results showed that during ESLD, topography was the most critical factor controlling the runoff production, while soil was the most important factor controlling the sediment yield. During RSLD, vegetation was more important in affecting runoff production, while rainfall was more important in affecting sediment yield. In additional, this study demonstrated that both the runoff production and the sediment yield can be effectively reduced by restoring vegetation on severely-disturbed lands, thus providing an important theoretical basis for better implementations of the Grain for Green Program. Our results revealed that the vegetation types of Hippophae rhamnoides+Pinus tabulaeformis and H. rhamnoides are better plant selections for land restoration in this area, especially for relatively gentle slopes (i.e., less than 20 degrees).