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Effects of Grass and Forests and the Infiltration Amount on Preferential Flow in Karst Regions of China

1,2,3, 1,2,*, 4, 1,2,3 and 1,2,3
1
College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Control of State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100083, China
3
Jianshui Research Station, School of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35 Qinghua East Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
4
Beijing Water Science and Technology Institute, Beijing 100048, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1634; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081634
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 3 August 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 8 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Preferential flow is an important water infiltration phenomenon in karst regions. The response of preferential flow to vegetation restoration requires urgent investigation due to the special soil structure of karst regions. In order to study the effect of vegetation restoration on water movement in karst regions, four kinds of ponded water infiltration experiments were carried out in Pinus Yunnanensis plantation forestland, secondary forestland, and natural grassland. A brilliant blue dyeing experiment was conducted to visualize the distribution of water infiltration in soil (a total of 150 stained images from vertical soil slices). Results showed that the average depth of matrix flow in natural grassland was approximately six times those in plantation and secondary forestlands. An increase in matrix flow will have a negative effect on the development of preferential flow. Water transported in preferential flow paths affects the distribution of nutrients and organic matter in the soil. However, preferential flow in grassland can promote the accumulation of available nutrients, and preferential flow in plantations can inhibit the loss of organic matter. Preferential flow in grasslands and forest plantations is less than that in native forests soils. Preferential flow increases the percolation of water in soils. The effect is that preferential flow can obstructs water uptake by the roots under low rainfall conditions, and decreases surface runoff before soil saturation under high rainfall conditions. In the process of nutrient element migration, preferential flow has a good contribution, which is conducive to the migration and accumulation of elements required for surface vegetation growth. The contribution of preferential flow needs to be considered in studies on vegetation restoration planning and land degradation. View Full-Text
Keywords: preferential flow; dye tracer; variability analysis; karst; structural equation model preferential flow; dye tracer; variability analysis; karst; structural equation model
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Kan, X.; Cheng, J.; Hu, X.; Zhu, F.; Li, M. Effects of Grass and Forests and the Infiltration Amount on Preferential Flow in Karst Regions of China. Water 2019, 11, 1634.

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