Next Article in Journal
Influence of Environmental Concern and Knowledge on Households’ Willingness to Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances: A Case Study in Shanxi, China
Next Article in Special Issue
Assessment of Soil Suitability for Improvement of Soil Factors and Agricultural Management
Previous Article in Journal
Sustainability of Urban Functions: Dealing with Tourism Activity
Previous Article in Special Issue
Temporal-Spatial Variations and Influencing Factor of Land Use Change in Xinjiang, Central Asia, from 1995 to 2015
Article Menu
Issue 4 (February-2) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Land Use/Cover Change Effects on River Basin Hydrological Processes Based on a Modified Soil and Water Assessment Tool: A Case Study of the Heihe River Basin in Northwest China’s Arid Region

Key Laboratory of Physical Geography and Environmental Processes, School of Geographical Science, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810016, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041072
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
  |  
PDF [6832 KB, uploaded 19 February 2019]
  |  

Abstract

Land use/cover change (LUCC) affects canopy interception, soil infiltration, land-surface evapotranspiration (ET), and other hydrological parameters during rainfall, which in turn affects the hydrological regimes and runoff mechanisms of river basins. Physically based distributed (or semi-distributed) models play an important role in interpreting and predicting the effects of LUCC on the hydrological processes of river basins. However, conventional distributed (or semi-distributed) models, such as the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT), generally assume that no LUCC takes place during the simulation period to simplify the computation process. When applying the SWAT, the subject river basin is subdivided into multiple hydrologic response units (HRUs) based on the land use/cover type, soil type, and surface slope. The land use/cover type is assumed to remain constant throughout the simulation period, which limits the ability to interpret and predict the effects of LUCC on hydrological processes in the subject river basin. To overcome this limitation, a modified SWAT (LU-SWAT) was developed that incorporates annual land use/cover data to simulate LUCC effects on hydrological processes under different climatic conditions. To validate this approach, this modified model and two other models (one model based on the 2000 land use map, called SWAT 1; one model based on the 2009 land use map, called SWAT 2) were applied to the middle reaches of the Heihe River in northwest China; this region is most affected by human activity. Study results indicated that from 1990 to 2009, farmland, forest, and urban areas all showed increasing trends, while grassland and bare land areas showed decreasing trends. Primary land use changes in the study area were from grassland to farmland and from bare land to forest. During this same period, surface runoff, groundwater runoff, and total water yield showed decreasing trends, while lateral flow and ET volume showed increasing trends under dry, wet, and normal conditions. Changes in the various hydrological parameters were most evident under dry and normal climatic conditions. Based on the existing research of the middle reaches of the Heihe River, and a comparison of the other two models from this study, the modified LU-SWAT developed in this study outperformed the conventional SWAT when predicting the effects of LUCC on the hydrological processes of river basins. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use/cover change; SWAT; hydrological processes land use/cover change; SWAT; hydrological processes
Figures

Figure 1

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).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jin, X.; Jin, Y.; Mao, X. Land Use/Cover Change Effects on River Basin Hydrological Processes Based on a Modified Soil and Water Assessment Tool: A Case Study of the Heihe River Basin in Northwest China’s Arid Region. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1072.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top