Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 434–445 | Cite as

Modelling the effects of land-use change on runoff and sediment yield in the Weicheng River watershed, Southwest China

  • Xiao-ke Zhang
  • Ji-hui FanEmail author
  • Gen-wei Cheng


As a major sediment area in the upper Yangtze River, Jialing River basin experienced substantial land-use changes, many water conservancy projects were constructed from the 1980s onward to promote water and soil conservation. The water and sediment yield at the watershed outlet was strongly affected by these water conservation works, including ponds and reservoirs, which should be considered in the modelling. In this study, based on the observed data of the Weicheng River catchment, the relationships between precipitation, runoff, vegetation, topography and sediment yield were analyzed, a distributed runoff and sediment yield model (WSTD-SED) was developed, and the hydrological processes of different land-use scenarios were simulated by using the model. The main results are summarized as follows: 1) there is an alternating characteristic in river channels and reservoirs in the Jialing River hilly area, with scour occurring in wet years and deposit occurring in dry years. 2) Most of the sediment deposited in river channels and reservoirs is carried off by the largest flood in the year. 3) The model yielded plausible results for runoff and sediment yield dynamics without the need of calibration, and the WSTD-SED model could be used to obtain qualitative estimates on the effects of land use change scenarios. 4) The modelling results suggest that a 10% increase in cropland (dry land) reforestation results in a 0.7% decrease in runoff and 1.5% decrease in sediment yield.


Land-use change Hydrological modelling Reforestation scenario Runoff and sediment yield 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Environment Evolution and Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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