Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp 2591–2604 | Cite as

Land degradation and management of red beds in China: Two case studies

  • Luo-bin YanEmail author
  • Milica Kasanin-Grubin


Red beds cover approximately 9.5% of China, and are home to approximately 144 million people. In total, 83% of these lands are distributed in humid regions making it an important part of research on red bed soil erosion in China in these areas. This paper presents the main types of land degradation in red bed landscapes and the status of current soil erosion in a typical red bed basin, the Nanxiong Basin located in the north of Guangdong Province, China, and establishes the connection between management strategies and regional economic development in humid red bed regions of China. The soil erosive modulus was calculated in the Nanxiong Basin by using RUSLE (The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation). The results of overlapping analyses demonstrated that appropriate measures, such as the Return Farmland to Forests initiative, should be taken at the junction of central red bed areas and mountainous areas in order to mitigate current soil erosion. Two examples are presented to demonstrate this: the tourism development in Mt. Danxiashan, a noted scenic mountainous area near Nanxiong Basin, and the land degradation mitigation in the Nanxiong Basin. Both examples promote local economic growth while simultaneously protecting the environment. A ‘stakeholder’ strategy is pursued at Mt. Danxiashan, which can help residents to understand their positive effects on the environment as well as increase their income. The second example, in Nanxiong City, showcases how local farmers became stakeholders by implementing contract responsibility and self-support systems for economic forests and terraced land in the 1980s.


Red beds Land degradation Desertification Danxia landform Management 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41901005) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (SWU 118202). The study was partly supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Projects 172001 and 176006).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographical SciencesSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Chemistry, Technology and MetallurgyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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