Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2016, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (4): 325-333.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2016.00325

• ARTICLES • Previous Articles    

Remote-sensing data reveals the response of soil erosion intensity to land use change in Loess Plateau,China

JiaLi Xie1, ChangZhen Yan1, ZhiXiang Lu2, Sen Li1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
  • Received:2016-02-27 Revised:2016-06-29 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: JiaLi Xie, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences. No. 320, West Donggang Road, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China.
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the Key Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD-EW-04-04) and the Chinese Science Academy STS Program:Construction of information platform of field and remote sensing data in northwestern China (KFJ-EW-STS-006).

Abstract: Developing an effective approach to rapidly assess the effects of restoration projects on soil erosion intensity and their extensive spatial and temporal dynamics is important for regional ecosystem management and the development of soil conservation strategies in the future. This study applied a model that was developed at the pixel scale using water soil erosion indicators (land use, vegetation coverage and slope) to assess the soil erosion intensity in the Loess Plateau, China. Landsat TM/ETM+ images in 2000, 2005 and 2010 were used to produce land use maps based on the object-oriented classification method. The MODIS product MOD13Q1 was adopted to derive the vegetation coverage maps. The slope gradient maps were calculated based on data from the digital elevation model. The area of water soil-eroded land was classified into six grades by integrating slope gradients, land use and vegetation coverage. Results show that the Grain-To-Green Project in the Loess Plateau worked based on the land use changes from 2000 to 2010 and enhanced vegetation restoration and ecological conservation. These projects effectively prevented soil erosion. During this period, lands with moderate, severe, more severe and extremely severe soil erosion intensities significantly decreased and changed into less severe levels, respectively. Lands with slight and light soil erosion intensities increased. However, the total soil-eroded area in the Loess Plateau was reduced. The contributions of the seven provinces to the total soil-eroded area in the Loess Plateau and the composition of the soil erosion intensity level in each province are different. Lands with severe, more severe and extremely severe soil erosion intensities are mainly distributed in Qinghai, Ningxia, Gansu and Inner Mongolia. These areas, although relatively small, must be prioritised and preferentially treated.

Key words: remote sensing, soil erosion intensity, land use, Loess Plateau

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