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Article

Anthropogenic Disturbances and Precipitation Affect Karst Sediment Discharge in the Nandong Underground River System in Yunnan, Southwest China

1
School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
2
Institute of Karst Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Guilin 541004, China
3
Key Laboratory of Karst Ecosystem and Treatment of Rocky Desertification, Guilin 541004, China
4
Department of Sediment Research, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
5
Guangxi Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin 541006, China
6
Guilin Meteorological Administration, Guilin 541001, China
7
Department of Physical Geography, University of Trier, 54296 Trier, Germany
8
Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, Valencia University, Blasco Ibàñez, 28, 46010 Valencia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3006; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073006
Received: 7 January 2020 / Revised: 25 March 2020 / Accepted: 2 April 2020 / Published: 9 April 2020
In fragile karst environments that have seen past and current human exploitation of agricultural and forest resources, the quantification of underground riverine sediment has been widely used to evaluate subterranean stream basin erosion. These measures are highly influenced by both precipitation and anthropogenic factors; therefore, soil erosion control measures must be urgently designed and applied. In this study, 17 years of sediment discharge across the Nandong underground river system in southwest China was monitored. To achieve this goal, the Mann–Kendal mutation test and proxy indicators were used to estimate the general influence of human activities and precipitation on sediment discharge. The results showed that: (1) Both anthropologic disturbance and rainfall have impacted the sediment discharge, although the influence of the anthropologic factor on sediment discharge was greater (61.53%), and (2) rainfall showed a hysteresis effect on sediment discharge. We obtained three different stages based on the mutation points and variation characteristics of the studied sediment discharge resulting from different driving forces, from 1998 to 2014. Prior to 2004, in the whole basin, the decrease of sediment yield was the result of the Natural Forest Protection Project. During the period from 2004 to 2008, due to continuous droughts, flood disasters, and intensive cultivation practices on the steeper hillslopes, the total sediment discharge of the whole basin increased. After 2009, the sediment discharge decreased due to the development of soil conservation projects and mushrooming reservoirs. These findings are expected to provide insights into watershed management and ecological restoration in fragile karst ecosystems, specifically, in southwestern Chinese river systems. More research must be conducted to monitor, with in situ measurements and observations, possible extreme events that can determine the exact erosion control measures that need to be designed and applied. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic disturbance; rainfall; sediment discharge; karst environments anthropogenic disturbance; rainfall; sediment discharge; karst environments
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, Y.; Jiang, Z.; Chen, Z.; Yu, Y.; Lan, F.; Shan, Z.; Sun, Y.; Liu, P.; Tang, X.; Rodrigo-Comino, J. Anthropogenic Disturbances and Precipitation Affect Karst Sediment Discharge in the Nandong Underground River System in Yunnan, Southwest China. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073006

AMA Style

Li Y, Jiang Z, Chen Z, Yu Y, Lan F, Shan Z, Sun Y, Liu P, Tang X, Rodrigo-Comino J. Anthropogenic Disturbances and Precipitation Affect Karst Sediment Discharge in the Nandong Underground River System in Yunnan, Southwest China. Sustainability. 2020; 12(7):3006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073006

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Yanqing, Zhongcheng Jiang, Zhihua Chen, Yang Yu, Funing Lan, Zhijie Shan, Yingjie Sun, Peng Liu, Xiaobo Tang, and Jesús Rodrigo-Comino. 2020. "Anthropogenic Disturbances and Precipitation Affect Karst Sediment Discharge in the Nandong Underground River System in Yunnan, Southwest China" Sustainability 12, no. 7: 3006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073006

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