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Water 2016, 8(11), 528; doi:10.3390/w8110528

Effect of Slope, Rainfall Intensity and Mulch on Erosion and Infiltration under Simulated Rain on Purple Soil of South-Western Sichuan Province, China

1
College of Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Huimin Road 211, Chengdu 611130, China
2
School of Environment and Natural Resources and Carbon Management and Sequestration Centre, The Ohio State University, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3
Institute of Ecology and Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Huimin Road 211, Chengdu 611130, China
4
Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ataur Rahman
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 6 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
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Abstract

Purple soil is widely distributed in the hilly areas of the Sichuan basin, southwest China, and is highly susceptible to water erosion. The triggering of this process is related to slope, rainfall intensity and surface cover. Therefore, this study assesses the effects of different simulated rainfall intensities with different slopes on hydrological and erosional processes in un-mulched and mulched purple soils. Results show that the sediment and water losses increased with an increase of rainfall intensity and slope steepness. Generally, the slope contribution (Sc) on water and sediment losses decreased with increasing rainfall intensity and slope steepness under both un-mulched and mulched soil. In un-mulched conditions, water losses were independent of slope steepness (Sc < 50%) during the highest rainfall intensity. However, in mulched soil, the higher contributions of slope (Sc) and rainfall (Rc) were found for water and sediment losses, respectively, i.e., >50%, except during the increase in slope steepness from 15° to 25° under the highest rainfall intensity (120 mm·h−1). The effectiveness of mulch was more pronounced in reducing sediment losses (81%–100%) compared with water losses (14%–100%). The conservation effectiveness of mulch both decreased and increased with slope steepness for water and sediment losses, respectively, under higher rainfall intensities. Water infiltration and recharge coefficient (RC) decreased with an increase of slope steepness, while with an increase in rainfall intensity, the water infiltration and RC were increased and decreased, respectively, in both un-mulched and mulched soil. On the other hand, mulched soil maintained a significantly (α = 0.05) higher infiltration capacity and RC compared to that of the un-mulched soil. View Full-Text
Keywords: slope; rainfall intensity; water erosion; infiltration rate; recharge coefficient; simulated rainfall slope; rainfall intensity; water erosion; infiltration rate; recharge coefficient; simulated rainfall
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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

Khan, M.N.; Gong, Y.; Hu, T.; Lal, R.; Zheng, J.; Justine, M.F.; Azhar, M.; Che, M.; Zhang, H. Effect of Slope, Rainfall Intensity and Mulch on Erosion and Infiltration under Simulated Rain on Purple Soil of South-Western Sichuan Province, China. Water 2016, 8, 528.

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