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Article

Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Erosion on the Loess Plateau: A Case Study in the Ansai Watershed

by 1,2, 1,2,* and 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
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Wei Song, Hualin Xie and Andrew Hursthouse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6266; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126266
Received: 9 April 2021 / Revised: 3 June 2021 / Accepted: 4 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
Large-scale vegetation restoration greatly changed the soil erosion environment in the Loess Plateau since the implementation of the “Grain for Green Project” (GGP) in 1999. Evaluating the effects of vegetation restoration on soil erosion is significant to local soil and water conservation and vegetation construction. Taking the Ansai Watershed as the case area, this study calculated the soil erosion modulus from 2000 to 2015 under the initial and current scenarios of vegetation restoration, using the Chinese Soil Loess Equation (CSLE), based on rainfall and soil data, remote sensing images and socio-economic data. The effect of vegetation restoration on soil erosion was evaluated by comparing the average annual soil erosion modulus under two scenarios among 16 years. The results showed: (1) vegetation restoration significantly changed the local land use, characterized by the conversion of farmland to grassland, arboreal land, and shrub land. From 2000 to 2015, the area of arboreal land, shrub land, and grassland increased from 19.46 km2, 19.43 km2, and 719.49 km2 to 99.26 km2, 75.97 km2, and 1084.24 km2; while the farmland area decreased from 547.90 km2 to 34.35 km2; (2) the average annual soil erosion modulus from 2000 to 2015 under the initial and current scenarios of vegetation restoration was 114.44 t/(hm²·a) and 78.42 t/(hm²·a), respectively, with an average annual reduction of 4.81 × 106 t of soil erosion amount thanks to the vegetation restoration; (3) the dominant soil erosion intensity changed from “severe and light erosion” to “moderate and light erosion”, vegetation restoration greatly improved the soil erosion environment in the study area; (4) areas with increased erosion and decreased erosion were alternately distributed, accounting for 48% and 52% of the total land area, and mainly distributed in the northwest and southeast of the watershed, respectively. Irrational land use changes in local areas (such as the conversion of farmland and grassland into construction land, etc.) and the ineffective implementation of vegetation restoration are the main reasons leading to the existence of areas with increased erosion. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation restoration; soil erosion; land use; Loess Plateau; Ansai Watershed vegetation restoration; soil erosion; land use; Loess Plateau; Ansai Watershed
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, H.; Zhao, W.; Wang, H. Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Erosion on the Loess Plateau: A Case Study in the Ansai Watershed. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 6266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126266

AMA Style

Wei H, Zhao W, Wang H. Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Erosion on the Loess Plateau: A Case Study in the Ansai Watershed. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(12):6266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126266

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Hui, Wenwu Zhao, and Han Wang. 2021. "Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Erosion on the Loess Plateau: A Case Study in the Ansai Watershed" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 12: 6266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126266

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