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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Spatially Reconfiguring Erosion Hot Spots to Reduce Stream Sediment Load in an Upland Agricultural Catchment of South Korea

1
Biogeographical Modelling, Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER), University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
2
Department of Forestry, Environment, and Systems, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Korea
3
Department of Soil Physics, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
4
YARA-Crop Nutrition Research and Development, Hanninghof 35, 48249 Dülmen, Germany
5
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Irstea, LESSEM, 38000 Grenoble, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050957
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Landscape Change on Water Resources)
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Abstract

Upland agricultural expansion and intensification cause soil erosion, which has a negative impact on the environment and socioeconomic factors by degrading the quality of both nutrient-rich surface soil and water. The Haean catchment is a well-known upland agricultural area in South Korea, which generates a large amount of sediment from its cropland. The transportation of nutrient-rich sediment to the stream adversely affects the water quality of the Han River watershed, which supports over twenty million people. In this paper, we suggest a spatially explicit mitigation method to reduce the amount of sediment yield to the stream of the catchment by converting soil erosion hot spots into forest. To evaluate the effectiveness of this reconfiguration, we estimated the sediment redistribution rate and assessed the soil erosion risk in the Haean catchment using the daily based Morgan–Morgan–Finney (DMMF) model. We found that dry crop fields located in the steep hill-slope suffer from severe soil erosion, and the rice paddy, orchard, and urban area, which are located in a comparatively lower and flatter area, suffer less from erosion. Although located in the steep hill-slope, the forest exhibits high sediment trapping capabilities in this model. When the erosion-prone crop lands were managed by sequentially reconfiguring their land use and land cover (LULC) to the forest from the area with the most severe erosion to the area with the least severe erosion, the result showed a strong reduction in sediment yield flowing to the stream. A change of 3% of the catchment’s crop lands of the catchment into forest reduced the sediment yield entering into the stream by approximately 10% and a change of 10% of crop lands potentially resulted in a sediment yield reduction by approximately 50%. According to these results, identifying erosion hot spots and managing them by reconfiguring their LULC is effective in reducing terrestrial sediment yield entering into the stream. View Full-Text
Keywords: DMMF; landscape configuration; landscape ecology; hydrology DMMF; landscape configuration; landscape ecology; hydrology
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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).
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Choi, K.; Maharjan, G.R.; Reineking, B. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Spatially Reconfiguring Erosion Hot Spots to Reduce Stream Sediment Load in an Upland Agricultural Catchment of South Korea. Water 2019, 11, 957.

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