Sediment yields variation and response to the controlling factors in the Wei River Basin, China
Authors: Tian, Peng; Liu, Likun; Tian, Xiaojing; Zhao, Guangju; Klik, Andreas; Wang, Ruidong; Lu, Xiaoyan; Mu, Xingmin; Bai, Yunpeng
Assessing regional sediment yield variation and their responses to the potential controlling factors are critical to develop specific strategies of soil conservation measures to adapt to future climate change. This study attempted to investigate the spatial–temporal variation of sediment load in the Wei River basin in the midstream of the Yellow River during 1961–2015 at 15 hydrological stations. The results indicated that annual sediment load in the past six decades decreased significantly (P < 0.01) with the changing trends of −6.43 × 104, −3.86 × 104, −4.6 × 104t/a at Xianyang, Zhangjiashan, and Zhuangtou stations, respectively. Annual sediment load exhibited abrupt changes in the mid-1990s, which were largely attributed to the strong effects of soil conservation measures in the study area. The spatial pattern of soil erosion were characterized by high sediment yield in the north with sparse vegetation cover and well-developed gullies, and low sediment yield in the south with flat plain and good vegetation cover in the Wei River basin. The results of the partial least squares-structural equation model (PLS-SEM) showed that vegetation changes and rainfall variability explained 62.3%, 47.3%, and 40.1% of the variation in runoff at Xianyang, Zhuangtou, and Zhangjiashan stations, respectively, whereas 59.4%, 17.6% and 48% of the variation in sediment load were explained by the combining effects of rainfall variability, changes of vegetation and runoff. This study provides a deep insight for understanding the effects of driving forces on sediment yield changes, and can be useful to regional soil conservation planning in the region.
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