Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 570–579 | Cite as

Assessment of the performance of WEPP in purple soil area with simulated rainfall experiments

  • Bin Fu
  • Yukuan WangEmail author
  • Pei Xu
  • Kun Yan


The water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model is a popular water erosion prediction tool developed on the basis of the physical processes of water erosion. Although WEPP has been widely used around the world, its application in China is still insufficient. In this study, the performance of WEPP used to estimate the runoff and soil loss on purple soil (Calcaric Regosols in FAO taxonomy) sloping cropland was assessed with the data from runoff plots under simulated rainfall conditions. Based on measured soil properties, runoff and erosion parameters, namely effective hydraulic conductivity, inter-rill erodibility, rill erodibility, and critical shear stress were determined to be 2.68 mm h−1, 5.54 × 106 kg s−1 m−4, 0.027 s m−1 and 3.5 Pa, respectively, by using the recommended equations in the WEPP user manual. The simulated results were not good due to the low Nash efficiency of 0.41 for runoff and negative Nash efficiency for soil loss. After the four parameters were calibrated, WEPP performed better for soil loss prediction with a Nash efficiency of 0.76. The different results indicated that the equations recommended by WEPP to calculate parameters such as erodiblity and critical shear stress are not suitable for the purple soil areas, Sichuan Province, China. Although the predicted results can be accepted by optimizing the runoff and erosion parameters, more research related to the determination of erodibility and critical sheer stress must be conducted to improve the application of WEPP in the purple soil areas.


WEPP Soil erosion Simulated rainfall Purple soil Erodibility 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface ProcessChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina

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