Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for plant growth and are the primary limiting nutrient elements. The loss of nitrogen and phosphorus in agricultural systems can cause the eutrophication of natural water bodies. In this paper, a field simulated rainfall experiment was conducted in a typical small watershed of the Danjiang River to study the nutrient loss process of nitrogen and phosphorus in slope croplands subjected to different crops and tillage measures. The characteristics of the runoff process and nutrient migration of different slope treatments were studied, which were the bare-land (BL, as the control), peanut monoculture (PL), corn monoculture (CL), bare land (upper slope) mixed with peanut monoculture (lower slope) (BP), corn and peanut intercropping (TCP), corn and soybean intercropping (TCS), downslope ridge cultivation (BS) slope, and straw-mulched (SC), respectively. The results showed that the runoff of CL, SC, TCS, BS, BP, PL and TCP slope types were 93%, 75%, 51%, 39%, 28%, 12%, and 6% of the those of the bare land, respectively. The total nitrogen concentration in runoff on different slope types decreased in the order of BP > PL > BS > SC > TCP > BL > CL > TCS. The BL was characterized with the highest NRL-TN (the loss of total nitrogen per unit area), with the value of 1.188 kg/hm2
, while those of the TCP is the smallest with the value of 0.073 kg/hm2
. The total phosphorus concentration in runoff decreasd in the order of BS > BP > PL > BL > TCP > SC > CL > TCS. The PRL-TP (the loss of total phosphorus per unit area) of BL is the largest (0.016 kg/hm2
), while those of TCP is the smallest (0.001 kg/hm2
). These indicate that the loss of nitrogen is much higer than that of phosphorus. The loss of nitrogen in runoff is dominated by nitrate nitrogen, which accounts for 54.4%–78.9% of TN. Slope croplands in the water source area should adopt the tillage measures of TCP and PL.These measures can reduce 85% of the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus compared to the bare land. The results may assist in agricultural non-point source pollution control and help promote improved management of the water environment in the Danjiang River’s water source area.
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