Changes in the climate and landcover are the two most important factors that influence terrestrial hydrological systems. Today, watershed-scale hydrological models are widely used to estimate the individual impacts of changes in the climate and landcover on watershed hydrology. The Minjiang river watershed is an ecologically and economically important, humid, subtropical watershed, located in south-eastern China. Several studies are available on the impacts of recent climate change on the watershed; however, no efforts have been made to separate the individual contributions of climate and landcover changes. This study is an attempt to separate the individual impacts of recent (1989–2018) climate and landcover changes on some of the important hydrological components of the watershed, and highlight the most influential changes in climate parameters and landcover classes. A calibrated soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) was employed for the study. The outcomes revealed that, during the study period, water yield decreased by 6.76%, while evapotranspiration, surface runoff and sediment yield increased by 1.08%, 24.11% and 33.85% respectively. The relative contribution of climate change to landcover change for the decrease in the water yield was 95%, while its contribution to the increases in evapotranspiration, surface runoff and sediment yield was 56%, 77% and 51%, respectively. The changes in climate parameters that were most likely responsible for changes in ET were increasing solar radiation and temperature and decreasing wind speed, those for changes in the water yield were decreasing autumn precipitation and increasing solar radiation and temperature, those for the increase in surface runoff were increasing summer and one-day maximum precipitation, while those for the increasing sediment yield were increasing winter and one-day maximum precipitation. Similarly, an increase in the croplands at the expense of needle-leaved forests was the landcover change that was most likely responsible for a decrease in the water yield and an increase in ET and sediment yield, while an increase in the amount of urban land at the expense of broadleaved forests and wetlands was the landcover change that was most likely responsible for increasing surface runoff. The findings of the study can provide support for improving management and protection of the watershed in the context of landcover and climate change.
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