Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Seasonal variation of deep soil moisture under different land uses on the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China

  • 215 Accesses

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

Purpose

Deep soil moisture has been considered to be critical for plant survival in water-limited ecosystems. The limited precipitation on the semi-arid Loess Plateau is the only water source for soil moisture and is unevenly distributed throughout the year. Characterizing the seasonal changes in deep soil moisture in relation to land use types and structures is important for the sustainability of vegetation restoration in this region.

Materials and methods

A total of 27 experimental sites along seven transects were selected in the Jiegou catchment on the semi-arid Loess Plateau. These sites were covered by five land use types: native grassland, traditional farmland, abandoned farmland, and 5-year and 7-year Robinia pseudoacacia (RP) forestlands. Soil moisture measurements were conducted during three seasons (spring, summer, and fall) at soil depths of 0 to 5 m in 0.2-m increments, and 2025 disturbed soil samples were collected to determine the gravimetric soil moisture content using the oven-dry method (24 h at 105 °C). The depth-averaged soil moisture was compared among different seasons and land use types using one-way ANOVA and significance tests.

Results and discussion

Among the seasons, the depth-averaged soil moisture had the following order: fall > spring > summer. In the shallow layers (above 2 m), soil moisture in summer was significantly lower than that in spring and fall (p < 0.05). The vertical distribution characteristics of soil moisture (0–5 m) were similar among the land use types during each season but different among the seasons for each land use type. In general, the depth-averaged values of soil moisture among the land use types were on the order of native grassland > farmland > forestland. This finding indicated that afforestation drastically decreased deep soil moisture, particularly in summer. Furthermore, the different land use structures significantly influenced the spatial distribution of deep soil moisture during each season.

Conclusions

This study highlights the seasonal changes in both shallow and deep soil moisture under various land use types, which provides insights into the sustainable use of deep soil moisture and rational land use management on the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Asbjornsen H, Shepherd G, Helmers M, Mora G (2008) Seasonal patterns in depth of water uptake under contrasting annual and perennial systems in the Corn Belt Region of the Midwestern US. Plant Soil 308:69–92

  2. Brocca L, Morbidelli R, Melone F, Moramarco T (2007) Soil moisture spatial variability in experimental areas of central Italy. J Hydrol 333:356–373

  3. Cantón Y, Solé-Benet A, Domingo F (2004) Temporal and spatial patterns of soil moisture in semiarid badlands of SE Spain. J Hydrol 285:199–214

  4. Cao SX, Chen LD, Shankman D, Wang CM, Wang XB, Zhang H (2011) Excessive reliance on afforestation in China's arid and semi-arid regions: lessons in ecological restoration. Earth-Sci Rev 104:240–245

  5. Chen HS, Shao MA, Li YY (2008a) The characteristics of soil water cycle and water balance on steep grassland under natural and simulated rainfall conditions in the Loess Plateau of China. J Hydrol 360:242–251

  6. Chen HS, Shao MA, Li YY (2008b) Soil desiccation in the Loess Plateau of China. Geoderma 143:91–100

  7. Chen YP, Wang KB, Lin YS, Shi WY, Song Y, He XH (2015) Balancing green and grain trade. Nat Geosci 8:739–741

  8. Cheng LP, Liu WZ (2011) Soil moisture distribution in deep layers and its response to different land use patterns on loess tableland. Trans CSAE 27(9):203–207 (in Chinese with English abstract)

  9. Chifflard P, Kranl J, zur Strassen G, Zepp H (2018) The significance of soil moisture in forecasting characteristics of flood events. A statistical analysis in two nested catchments. J Hydrol Hydromech 66(1):1–11

  10. Deng L, Shangguan ZP, Li R (2012) Effects of the grain-for-green program on soil erosion in China. Int J Sediment Res 27:120–127

  11. Deng L, Liu GB, Shangguan ZP (2014) Land-use conversion and changing soil carbon stocks in China’s ‘Grain-for-Green’ Program: a synthesis. Glob Chang Biol 20:3544–3556

  12. Deng L, Yan WM, Zhang YW, Shangguan ZP (2016) Severe depletion of soil moisture following land-use changes for ecological restoration: evidence from northern China. Forest Ecol Manag 366:1–10

  13. Famiglietti J, Rudnicki J, Rodell M (1998) Variability in surface moisture content along a hillslope transect: Rattlesnake Hill, Texas. J Hydrol 210:259–281

  14. Feng XM, Fu BJ, Lu N, Zeng Y, Wu BF (2013) How ecological restoration alters ecosystem services: an analysis of carbon sequestration in China’s Loess Plateau. Sci Rep 3:2846

  15. Fu BJ, Wang J, Chen LD, Qiu Y (2003) The effects of land use on soil moisture variation in the Danangou catchment of the Loess Plateau, China. Catena 54:197–213

  16. Gao XD, Zhao XN, Wu PT, Brocca L, Zhang BQ (2016) Effects of large gullies on catchment-scale soil moisture spatial behaviors: a case study on the Loess Plateau of China. Geoderma 261:1–10

  17. Gao XD, Wu PT, Zhao XN, Shi YG, Wang JW, Zhang BQ (2011) Soil moisture variability along transects over a well-developed gully in the Loess Plateau, China. Catena 87:357–367

  18. Hu W, Shao MA, Han FP, Reichardt K, Tan J (2010) Watershed scale temporal stability of soil water content. Geoderma 158:181–198

  19. Issa OM, Valentin C, Rajot JL, Cerdan O, Desprats JF, Bouchet T (2011) Runoff generation fostered by physical and biological crusts in semi-arid sandy soils. Geoderma 167-68:22–29

  20. Jia XX, Shao MA, Zhu YJ, Luo Y (2017) Soil moisture decline due to afforestation across the Loess Plateau, China. J Hydrol 546:113–122

  21. Jian SQ, Zhao CY, Fang SM, Yu K (2015) Effects of different vegetation restoration on soil water storage and water balance in the Chinese Loess Plateau. Agric For Meteorol 206:85–96

  22. Jin TT, Fu BJ, Liu GH, Wang Z (2011) Hydrologic feasibility of artificial forestation in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 15:2519–2530

  23. Jost G, Heuvelink GBM, Papritz A (2005) Analysing the space-time distribution of soil water storage of a forest ecosystem using spatio-temporal kriging. Geoderma 128:258–273

  24. Liu BX, Shao MA (2014) Estimation of soil water storage using temporal stability in four land uses over 10 years on the Loess Plateau, China. J Hydrol 517:974–984

  25. Lü T, Zhao XN, Gao XD, Pan YH (2017) Soil water use strategy of dominant species in typical natural and planted shrubs in loess hilly region. Chin J Plant Ecol 41(2):175–185 (in Chinese with English abstract)

  26. Melliger JJ, Niemann JD (2010) Effects of gullies on space–time patterns of soil moisture in a semiarid grassland. J Hydrol 389:289–300

  27. Montenegro S, Ragab R (2012) Impact of possible climate and land use changes in the semi arid regions: a case study from North Eastern Brazil. J Hydrol 434:55–68

  28. Mu XM, Xu XX, Wang WL, Wen ZM, Du F (2003) Impact of artificial forest on soil moisture of the deep soil layer on Loess Plateau. Acta Pedol Sin 40(2):210–217 (in Chinese with English abstract)

  29. Qiu Y, Fu BJ, Wang J, Chen LD (2001) Soil moisture variation in relation to topography and land use in a hillslope catchment of the Loess Plateau, China. J Hydrol 240:243–263

  30. Robinson DA, Campbell CS, Hopmans JW, Hornbuckle BK, Jones SB, Knight R, Ogden F, Selker J, Wendroth O (2008) Soil moisture measurement for ecological and hydrological watershed-scale observatories: a review. Vadose Zone J 7:358–389

  31. Rodriguez-Iturbe I, D'odorico P, Porporato A, Ridolfi L (1999) On the spatial and temporal links between vegetation, climate, and soil moisture. Water Resour Res 35:3709–3722

  32. Rosenbaum U, Bogena H, Herbst M, Huisman J, Peterson T, Weuthen A, Western A, Vereecken H (2012) Seasonal and event dynamics of spatial soil moisture patterns at the small catchment scale. Water Resour Res 48:W10544

  33. Shi H, Shao MA (2000) Soil and water loss from the Loess Plateau in China. J Arid Environ 45:9–20

  34. Vereecken H, Kamai T, Harter T, Kasteel R, Hopmans J, Vanderborght J (2007) Explaining soil moisture variability as a function of mean soil moisture: a stochastic unsaturated flow perspective. Geophys Res Lett 34:L22402

  35. Vereecken H, Huisman JA, Bogena H, Vanderborght J, Vrugt JA, Hopmans JW (2008) On the value of soil moisture measurements in vadose zone hydrology: a review. Water Resour Res 44:W00D06

  36. Wang J, Fu BJ, Lu N, Zhang L (2017) Seasonal variation in water uptake patterns of three plant species based on stable isotopes in the semi-arid Loess Plateau. Sci Total Environ 609:27–37

  37. Wang S, Fu BJ, Gao GY, Yao XL, Zhou J (2012) Soil moisture and evapotranspiration of different land cover types in the Loess Plateau, China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:2883–2892

  38. Wang S, Fu BJ, Piao SL, Lü YH, Ciais P, Feng XM, Wang YF (2015a) Reduced sediment transport in the Yellow River due to anthropogenic changes. Nat Geosci 9:38–41

  39. Wang YQ, Shao MA, Shao HB (2010) A preliminary investigation of the dynamic characteristics of dried soil layers on the Loess Plateau of China. J Hydrol 381:9–17

  40. Wang YQ, Shao MA, Liu ZP (2013) Vertical distribution and influencing factors of soil water content within 21-m profile on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Geoderma 193:300–310

  41. Wang YQ, Shao MA, Zhu YJ, Liu ZP (2011) Impacts of land use and plant characteristics on dried soil layers in different climatic regions on the Loess Plateau of China. Agric For Meteorol 151:437–448

  42. Wang YQ, Hu W, Zhu YJ, Shao MA, Xiao S, Zhang CC (2015b) Vertical distribution and temporal stability of soil water in 21-m profiles under different land uses on the Loess Plateau in China. J Hydrol 527:543–554

  43. Wang ZQ, Liu BY, Zhang Y (2009a) Soil moisture of different vegetation types on the Loess Plateau. J Geogr Sci 19:707–718

  44. Wang ZQ, Liu BY, Liu G, Zhang YX (2009b) Soil water depletion depth by planted vegetation on the Loess Plateau. Sci China Ser D – Earth Sci 52:835–842

  45. Wei W, Chen LD, Fu BJ (2009) Effects of rainfall change on water erosion processes in terrestrial ecosystems: a review. Prog Phys Geogr 33:307–318

  46. Western AW, Grayson RB, Bloschl G (2002) Scaling of soil moisture: a hydrologic perspective. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 30:149–180

  47. Western AW, Zhou SL, Grayson RB, McMahon TA, Bloschl G, Wilson DJ (2004) Spatial correlation of soil moisture in small catchments and its relationship to dominant spatial hydrological processes. J Hydrol 286:113–134

  48. Wu HW, Li XY, Jiang ZY, Chen HY, Zhang CC, Xiao X (2016) Contrasting water use pattern of introduced and native plants in an alpine desert ecosystem, Northeast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Sci Total Environ 542:182–191

  49. Xie XQ, Wang L (2007) Changes of potential evaporation in Northern China over the past 50 years. J Nat Resour 22(5):683–691 (in Chinese with English abstract)

  50. Yang L, Wei W, Chen L, Jia F, Mo B (2012) Spatial variations of shallow and deep soil moisture in the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:3199–3217

  51. Yang L, Chen LD, Wei W, Yu Y, Zhang HD (2014) Comparison of deep soil moisture in two re-vegetation watersheds in semi-arid regions. J Hydrol 513:314–321

  52. Yang WZ, Yu CZ (1992) Regional management and evaluation of Loess Plateau. Science Press, Beijing, pp 241–297 (in Chinese with English abstract)

  53. Yao XL, Fu BJ, Lü YH, Chang RY, Wang S, Wang YF, Su CH (2012) The multi-scale spatial variance of soil moisture in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. J Soils Sediments 12:694–703

  54. Zehe E, Graeff T, Morgner M, Bauer A, Bronstert A (2010) Plot and field scale soil moisture dynamics and subsurface wetness control on runoff generation in a headwater in the Ore Mountains. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14:873–889

  55. Zhang CC, Shao MA, Jia XX (2017) Spatial continuity and local conditions determine spatial pattern of dried soil layers on the Chinese Loess Plateau. J Soils Sediments 17:2030–2039

  56. Zhu XA, Li YS, Peng XA, Zhang SG (1983) Soils of the loess region in China. Geoderma 29:237–255

  57. Zhu YJ, Shao MA (2008) Variability and pattern of surface moisture on a small-scale hillslope in Liudaogou catchment on the northern Loess Plateau of China. Geoderma 147:185–191

Download references

Funding

This study was supported by the International Scientific Cooperation Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41661144030, 41561144012) and by the Program of the State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (08R8A010YA, 088RA20CYA).

Author information

Correspondence to Gaohuan Liu.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Saskia D. Keesstra

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yu, B., Liu, G., Liu, Q. et al. Seasonal variation of deep soil moisture under different land uses on the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. J Soils Sediments 19, 1179–1189 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-018-2119-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Land use
  • Loess Plateau
  • Seasonal variation
  • Soil moisture content
  • Vegetation restoration