Quantifying the effect of ecological restoration on runoff and sediment yields: A meta-analysis for the Loess Plateau of China

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hu, J., Lu, Y., Fu, B., Comber, A. J. and Harris, P. 2017. Quantifying the effect of ecological restoration on runoff and sediment yields: A meta-analysis for the Loess Plateau of China. Progress In Physical Geography. 41 (6), pp. 753-774.

AuthorsHu, J., Lu, Y., Fu, B., Comber, A. J. and Harris, P.
Abstract

Ecological restoration can result in extensive land use transitions which may directly impact on water runoff and sediment loss and thus influence tradeoffs between multiple hydrological and soil ecosystem services. However, quantifying the effect of these transitions on runoff and sediment yields has been a challenge over large spatial scales. This study integrated and synthesized 43 articles and 331 runoff experimental plots in the Loess Plateau of China under natural rainfall to quantify the impacts of land use transitions on (a) runoff and sediment production, (b) runoff and soil loss reduction effectiveness, and (c) the tradeoffs between runoff and soil erosion. The effects of ecological restoration on runoff and sediment yields were quantified using a general mixed linear meta-regression model with a restricted maximum likelihood estimator on overall and individual ecological restoration types. The results showed that artificial grassland, forest, natural grassland, and shrubland had higher runoff and sediment reduction effectiveness. The annual runoff reduction effectiveness of the ecological restoration overall was 72.18% with the effects of artificial grassland, natural grassland, shrubland, and forest at 71.89%, 50.60%, 73.18%, and 73.08%, respectively. The annual sediment reduction effectiveness of the overall ecological restoration was 99.9% without a significant difference among the four land uses associated with ecological recovery. In addition, shrubland and forest significantly reduced sediment yields with relatively high runoff costs. Natural grassland was optimal for balancing water provisioning and soil conservation, and artificial grassland was second to natural grassland in this respect. Meanwhile, newly unmanaged abandoned land and cropland had relative weak functionality with regard to soil and water conservation. The implications of this study’s findings are discussed along with their potential to contribute to an improved understanding of the effects of ecological restoration on water supply and soil retention for the water-limited terrestrial ecosystem at a regional scale.

KeywordsSoil erosion; Land degradation; Land use; Plot scale; Vegetation recovery
Year of Publication2017
JournalProgress In Physical Geography
Journal citation41 (6), pp. 753-774
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0309133317738710
Open accessPublished as green open access
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright license
CC BY
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Dec 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Oct 2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Sage Publishing
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN0309-1333

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