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Effects of minimum soil disturbance practices on controlling water erosion in China's slope farmland: A meta‐analysis

Jia, Lizhi, Zhao, Wenwu, Fu, Bojie, Daryanto, Stefani, Wang, Shuai, Liu, Yanxu, Zhai, Ruijie
Land degradation & development 2019 v.30 no.6 pp. 706-716
agricultural land, disturbed soils, erosion control, meta-analysis, microrelief, mulches, no-tillage, rivers, runoff, sediment yield, sediments, soil properties, water conservation, water erosion, China
Slope farmlands are commonly found in China, and soil loss from slope farmland is the main source of river sediment. Minimum soil disturbance practices were considered effectively in controlling water erosion, especially on slope farmlands. Although their beneficial effects have been universally recognized, further research is still needed to quantify the extent of minimum soil disturbance practices in reducing runoff and sediment yield. We present a quantitative review based on a nationwide meta‐analysis, including 536 runoff and 615 sediment‐paired observations, to evaluate the effectiveness of minimum soil disturbance practices in controlling water erosion in China. Minimum soil disturbance practices in China reduced runoff and sediment yield by 36.09% and 51.69%, respectively. Collecting soil to form ridges with no‐tillage, contour tillage with hedgerow, and micro‐basins tillage demonstrated significantly greater (p < 0.05) runoff and sediment yield reductions than other three practices (no‐tillage, no‐tillage with mulch, and contour tillage). Practices that change in soil properties by microtopography management were superior (p < 0.05) to practices that change soil properties without tillage in reducing runoff and sediment yield. Minimum soil disturbance practices are more effective in reducing sediment yield than runoff due to its additional effects besides reducing runoff directly. No correlations between runoff or sediment yield reduction and slope gradient were observed, whereas the efficiency of water erosion control by minimum soil disturbance practices increased with the increasing slope length. As a soil and water conservation measure, minimum soil disturbance practices can be applied in slope farmland of China.