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Spatial Variabilities of Runoff Erosion and Different Underlying Surfaces in the Xihe River Basin

Wang, Ning, Yao, Zhihong, Liu, Wanqing, Lv, Xizhi, Ma, Mengdie
Water 2019 v.11 no.2
Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, alluvial soils, altitude, arable soils, basins, clay, energy, mountain soils, runoff, soil resources, vegetation, water erosion, watersheds, China
Runoff erosion capacity has significant effects on the spatial distribution of soil erosion and soil losses. But few studies have been conducted to evaluate these effects in the Loess Plateau. In this study, an adjusted SWAT model was used to simulate the hydrological process of the Xihe River basin from 1993 to 2012. The spatial variabilities between runoff erosion capacity and underlying surface factors were analyzed by combining spatial gradient analysis and GWR (Geographically Weighted Regression) analysis. The results show that the spatial distribution of runoff erosion capacity in the studying area has the following characteristics: strong in the north, weak in the south, strong in the west, and weak in the east. Topographic factors are the dominant factors of runoff erosion in the upper reaches of the basin. Runoff erosion capacity becomes stronger with the increase of altitude and gradient. In the middle reaches area, the land with low vegetation coverage, as well as arable land, show strong runoff erosion ability. In the downstream areas, the runoff erosion capacity is weak because of better underlying surface conditions. Compared with topographic and vegetation factors, soil factors have less impact on runoff erosion. The red clay and mountain soil in this region have stronger runoff erosion capacities compared with other types of soils, with average runoff modulus of 1.79 × 10−3 m3/s·km2 and 1.68 × 10−3 m3/s·km2, respectively, and runoff erosion power of 0.48 × 10−4 m4/s·km2 and 0.34 × 10−4 m4/s·km2, respectively. The runoff erosion capacity of the alluvial soil is weak, with an average runoff modulus of 0.96 × 10−3 m3/s·km2 and average erosion power of 0.198 × 10−4 m4/s·km2. This study illustrates the spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors of hydraulic erosion in the Xihe River Basin from the perspective of energy. It contributes to the purposeful utilization of water and soil resources in the Xihe River Basin and provides a theoretical support for controlling the soil erosion in the Hilly-gully region of the Loess Plateau.