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Assessing the Impact of Terraces and Vegetation on Runoff and Sediment Routing Using the Time-Area Method in the Chinese Loess Plateau

1
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
Yellow River Conservancy Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Zhengzhou 450003, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040803
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 13 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling of Soil Erosion and Sediment Transport)
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Abstract

Terracing and vegetation are an effective practice for soil and water conservation on sloped terrain. They can significantly reduce the sediment yield from the surface area, as well as intercept the sediment yield from upstream. However, most hydrological models mainly simulate the effect of the terraces and vegetation on water and sediment reduction from themselves, without considering their roles in the routing process, and thus likely underestimate their runoff and sediment reduction effect. This study added the impact of terraces and vegetation practice on water and sediment routing using the time-area method. The outflow in each travel time zone was revised in each time step by extracting the watershed of the terrace units and the vegetation units and calculating the water or sediment stored by the terraces or held by the vegetation. The revised time-area method was integrated into the Land change Model-Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (LCM-MUSLE) model. Pianguanhe Basin, in the Chinese Loess Plateau, was chosen as the study area and eight storms in the 1980s and 2010s were selected to calibrate and verify the original LCM-MUSLE model and its revised version. The results showed that the original model was not applicable in more recent years, since the surface was changed significantly as a result of revegetation and slope terracing, while the accuracy improved significantly when using the revised version. For the three events in the 2010s, the average runoff reduction rate in routing process was 51.02% for vegetation, 26.65% for terraces, and 71.86% for both terraces and vegetation. The average sediment reduction rate in routing process was 32.22% for vegetation, 24.52% for terraces, and 53.85% for both terraces and vegetation. This study provides a generalized method to quantitatively assess the impact of terraces and vegetation practice on runoff and sediment reduction at the catchment scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: terrace; vegetation; time-area method; MUSLE; soil and water loss; the Loess Plateau terrace; vegetation; time-area method; MUSLE; soil and water loss; the Loess Plateau
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Bai, J.; Yang, S.; Zhang, Y.; Liu, X.; Guan, Y. Assessing the Impact of Terraces and Vegetation on Runoff and Sediment Routing Using the Time-Area Method in the Chinese Loess Plateau. Water 2019, 11, 803.

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