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Water 2015, 7(11), 6301-6320; doi:10.3390/w7116301

An Eco-Hydrological Model-Based Assessment of the Impacts of Soil and Water Conservation Management in the Jinghe River Basin, China

Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of River Basin Water Cycle (SKL-WAC), China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR), Beijing 100038, China
Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Xuan Yu
Received: 21 September 2015 / Revised: 30 October 2015 / Accepted: 3 November 2015 / Published: 11 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hillslope and Watershed Hydrology)
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Many soil and water conservation (SWC) measures have been applied in the Jinghe River Basin to decrease soil erosion and restore degraded vegetation cover. Analysis of historical streamflow records suggests that SWC measures may have led to declines in streamflow, although climate and human water use may have contributed to observed changes. This paper presents an application of a watershed-scale, physically-based eco-hydrological model—the Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys)—in the Jinghe River Basin to study the impacts of SWC measures on streamflow. Several extensions to the watershed-scale RHESSys model were made in this paper to support the model application at larger scales (>10,000 km2) of the Loess Plateau. The extensions include the implementation of in-stream routing, reservoir sub-models and representation of soil and water construction engineering (SWCE). Field observation data, literature values and remote sensing data were used to calibrate and verify the model parameters. Three scenarios were simulated and the results were compared to quantify both vegetation recovery and SWCE impacts on streamflow. Three scenarios respectively represent no SWC, vegetation recovery only and both vegetation recovery and SWCE. The model results demonstrate that the SWC decreased annual streamflow by 8% (0.1 billion m3), with the largest decrease occurring in the 2000s. Model estimates also suggest that SWCE has greater impacts than vegetation recovery. Our study provides a useful tool for SWC planning and management in this region. View Full-Text
Keywords: eco-hydrological model; soil and water conservation; the Jinghe River Basin eco-hydrological model; soil and water conservation; the Jinghe River Basin

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Peng, H.; Jia, Y.; Tague, C.; Slaughter, P. An Eco-Hydrological Model-Based Assessment of the Impacts of Soil and Water Conservation Management in the Jinghe River Basin, China. Water 2015, 7, 6301-6320.

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