Xiaojiang watershed is a typical karst agricultural region of Yunan Province, China. A case study of land-use changes documents changes of soil properties from 1982 to 2003. The results are as follows: (1) The total land use transformed covers 610.12 km2, of which land use changed from unused land into cultivated land and forestland, and forestland into cultivated land during the past 20 years in Xiaojiang watershed. (2) The rapid growth of population and economic development were the main driving forces of cultivated land increase. (3) Soil properties showed modification owing to different land-use changes. The contents of the soil organic matter, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus in 2003 were significantly lower than that in 1982 after the forestland and unused land were transformed into the cultivated land, but the soil pH increased significantly in 2003. Organic matter, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus for shorter-time reforestation land declined, but the pH increased. Soil properties have improved significantly after cropland was transformed into orchard land. The organic matter, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, available nitrogen, and available phosphorus declined significantly, but pH increased significantly after rock desertification.
Land-use change Soil properties Typical karst agricultural region Yunnan Province China