Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 897–900 | Cite as

Estimation of throughfall erosivity in a highly diverse forest ecosystem using sand-filled splash cups

  • Christian GeißlerEmail author
  • Peter Kühn
  • Xuezheng Shi (史学正)
  • Thomas Scholten


Sand-filled splash cups were used to study the erosive power of rainfall and throughfall in the humid subtropics of Southeast China. The splash cup measurements yielded precise and reproducible results under both open field conditions and forest vegetation. The splash cups were exposed to specific forest stands of different ages and to selected species (Schima superba, Castanopsis eyrei, Daphniphyllum oldhamii, Lithocarpus glaber) in the Gutianshan (古田山) National Nature Reserve (GNNR). The results of the measurements under forest vegetation show that the erosive power of throughfall drops to be 2.59 times higher compared to the open field. This accentuates the importance of shrub, herb and litter layers in forest ecosystems to protect the soil against erosion. Coalescing drops from leaves and branches (drips) are responsible for this notable gain in erosive power. Moreover, differences in sandloss between the investigated tree species (deciduous, evergreen) revealed that the erosion potential and the spatial heterogeneity of throughfall are species-specific. This highlights the importance of selecting specific species for afforestation projects considering the prevention of soil erosion.

Key Words

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (BEF)-China biodiversity soil erosion soil erosion experiment splash cup throughfall erosivity 


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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Geißler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Kühn
    • 1
  • Xuezheng Shi (史学正)
    • 2
  • Thomas Scholten
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair of Physical Geography and Soil ScienceEberhard Karls University TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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