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Open AccessArticle

Distribution of Shrubland and Grassland Soil Erodibility on the Loess Plateau

by Xiao Zhang 1,2,3, Wenwu Zhao 1,2,*, Lixin Wang 3, Yuanxin Liu 1,4, Qiang Feng 1,5, Xuening Fang 1,6 and Yue Liu 1,2
1
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
Institute of Land Surface System and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
Department of Earth Sciences, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
4
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
5
College of Forestry, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu, Shanxi 030801, China
6
Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061193
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
Soil erosion is one of the most severe problems facing environments and has increased throughout the 20th century. Soil erodibility (K-factor) is one of the important indicators of land degradation, and many models have been used to estimate K values. Although soil erodibility has been estimated, the comparison of different models and their usage at a regional scale and, in particular, for different land use types, need more research. Four of the most widely distributed land use types were selected to analyze, including introduced and natural grassland, as well as introduced and natural shrubland. Soil particle size, soil organic matter and other relevant soil properties were measured to estimate soil erodibility in the Loess Plateau. The results show that: (1) the erosion productivity impact calculator (EPIC) model and SHIRAZI model are both suitable for the Loess Plateau, while the SHIRAZI model has the advantage of fewer parameters; (2) introduced grassland has better ability to protect both the 0–5 cm soils and 5–20 cm soils, while the differences between introduced and natural shrubland are not obvious at a catchment scale; (3) the K values of introduced grassland, natural grassland, introduced shrubland and natural shrubland in the 0–5 cm layer vary from 0.008 to 0.037, 0.031 to 0.046, 0.012 to 0.041 and 0.008 to 0.045 (t·hm2·h/(MJ·mm·hm2)), while the values vary from 0.009 to 0.039, 0.032 to 0.046, 0.012 to 0.042 and 0.008 to 0.048 (t·hm2·h/(MJ·mm·hm2)) in the 5–20 cm layer. The areas with a mean multiyear precipitation of 370–440 mm are the most important places for vegetation restoration construction management at a regional scale. A comprehensive balance between water conservation and soil conservation is needed and important when selecting the species used to vegetation restoration. This study provides suggestions for ecological restoration and provides a case study for the estimate of soil erodibility in arid and semiarid areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil erodibility; models; shrubland; grassland; Loess Plateau soil erodibility; models; shrubland; grassland; Loess Plateau
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Zhang, X.; Zhao, W.; Wang, L.; Liu, Y.; Feng, Q.; Fang, X.; Liu, Y. Distribution of Shrubland and Grassland Soil Erodibility on the Loess Plateau. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1193.

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