Estimation of wind and water erosion based on slope aspects in the crisscross region of the Chinese Loess Plateau
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The crisscross region of the Chinese Loess Plateau is affected from both wind and water erosion, and their relative contributions remain unclear. A combination analysis of 137Cs inventories, surface soil sample properties, and the local wind condition allows the measurements of total soil erosion, as well as the rates of wind and water erosion that are independently affected by slope aspect at a experimental site in the study area.
Materials and methods
This study selected eight straight slope for investigation. Although the slopes had similar gradients, lengths, elevations, shapes, vegetation conditions, soil types, and land-use types, they faced different aspects. This study tested the soil organic matter content, particle size, specific surface area, and 137Cs inventory, including the mean 137Cs reference inventory from a region of flat grassland near a century-old temple located on the top of a hillslope. Water erosion were assumed to be similar for slope aspects on condition that rainfall and environmental conditions were similar, and differences in erosion on slope aspects were mainly attributable to wind erosion. This assumption was confirmed by stepwise linear regression analysis, and wind erosion was estimated from total erosion and water erosion.
Results and discussion
The east-facing slope experienced almost no wind erosion, and erosion (91.4 t ha−1 year−1) it experienced was primarily caused by water according to estimation of total erosion and analysis to wind conditions. Based on the assumption that water erosion was similar on all slopes, the west-facing slope exhibited a similar rate of water erosion to the east slope, while the rate of wind erosion was 16.9 t ha−1 year−1. The northwest slope had the highest wind erosion rate (42.3 t ha−1 year−1), while the slope opposite to it (the southeast slope) had the highest wind deposition rate. Wind erosion on average contributed 27.4% to total erosion on windward slopes (northwest and north), while deposition occurred on the opposite leeward slopes (southeast and south).
Although water erosion was found to be the primary driver of soil loss in this watershed, the effect of wind erosion cannot be neglected. It was mainly response for the erosion difference on slope aspects.
Keywords137Cs measurements Contribution Erosion driver Slope aspect Wind erosion and deposition
This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41401314 and 41171228) and the Research Startup Foundation for Talents of Northwest A&F University of China (Grant No. 2013BSJJ092). We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mrs. Li Yaqi and Mr. Xue Kai for their assistance in processing soil samples. Warm thanks are also extended to Professor Zhanli Wang for his valuable suggestions in the analysis of tillage erosion, as well as two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments. Lastly, we would like to thank Mrs. Karen Lofstrom, Mr. Brain Doonan, and Editage for language editing.
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