Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 876–881 | Cite as

A Preliminary study on traditional level-trench method to prevent rill initiation in the Three Gorges region, China

  • Dongchun Yan
  • Anbang WenEmail author
  • He Xiubin
  • Zhonglin Shi
  • Donghong Xiong
  • Yi Long


The level-trench method is a traditional tillage operation to develop a drainage system on slope land in the Three Gorges region. Before crops are planted, farmers prepare the land with level trenches spaced 3–10 m apart, depending on the slope gradient: steeper slopes require shorter distances. Little scientific analysis has been done on the use of traditional level trenches for soil conservation. We conducted a field investigation and simulation experiments, and present a comparison between the spacing of level trenches and the slope length required for rill initiation. The results indicate that the spacing of level trenches in farmland is close to the slope length required for rill initiation in the experimental plots, and regression models of trench spacing with the gradient and the slope length required for rill initiation with the gradient have similar formats; the coefficients of determination (R2) for the two equations are 0.99 and 0.88, respectively. There were some differences between the field survey and experiments, but we conclude that the traditional level-trench method has an important role in preventing rill initiation.


Level trench Rill Initiation Purple Soil Three Gorges Region 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongchun Yan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anbang Wen
    • 1
    Email author
  • He Xiubin
    • 1
  • Zhonglin Shi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donghong Xiong
    • 1
  • Yi Long
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Environment Evolution and Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengdu, SichuanChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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