Soil erosion simulations of land use scenarios for a small Loess Plateau catchment

I. Messing, R. Hessel, Chen Liding, C.J. Ritsema, J. Stolte

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Several land use scenarios were developed for the 3.5 km2 Danangou catchment on the Chinese Loess Plateau. These scenarios consist of four groups of three scenarios each: one group is based on the present land use distribution, the other three (alternative land uses) on a redistribution of land use according to slope gradient, soil type, slope aspect and land form. For example, cropland areas are restricted to slope gradients smaller than 25%, 20% and 15%. All groups consist of one scenario that only uses present or alternative land use and two scenarios that apply simple forms of biological conservation practices (mulching, improved fallow) and mechanical conservation practices (contour ridges). The LISEM soil erosion model was used to simulate the effects of these different scenarios on erosion. To do this, a calibrated LISEM-data set for a real storm was used. The results show that the predicted erosion rates for woodland/shrubland are much lower than those for other land uses. According to the simulations, runoff and erosion decrease by about 10% if conservation measures are applied to the present land use, while the predicted decrease for the alternative land uses is much larger at between 40% and 60%. This large decrease can be explained by the fact that one of the main differences in the alternative land uses is that they have much more woodland/shrubland. Differences in predicted erosion rates between the different alternative land uses are caused by conversion of cropland to orchard/cash tree. The present study is one of the first attempts to use soil erosion modelling as a tool for optimising land use and management strategies to reduce runoff and erosion rates on the Chinese Loess Plateau. More research will be needed to validate obtained simulation results with actual field measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-302
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • model
  • lisem

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