Rainfall and Tillage Impacts on Soil Erosion of Sloping Cropland with Subtropical Monsoon Climate - A Case Study in Hilly Purple Soil area, China
Tang, J.L.; Cheng, X.Q.; Zhu, B.; Gao, M.R.; Wang, T.; Zhang, X.F.; Zhao, P.; You, X.
Journal of Mountain Science 12(1): 134-144
ISSN/ISBN: 1672-6316 DOI: 10.1007/s11629-014-3241-8
Under global warming, storm events tend to intensify, particularly in monsoon-affected regions. As an important agricultural area in China, the purple soil region in the Sichuan Basin, where it has a prevailing monsoon climate, is threatened by serious soil erosion. Tillage operations alter runoff and soil erosion processes on croplands by changing the physical properties of the soil surface. To clarify the relationship between tillage and soil erosion in the purple soil region, three different tillage practices in this region were investigated at the plot scale over 4 years: bare land with minimum tillage (BL), conventional tillage (CT) and seasonal no-tillage ridges (SNTR) which was initially designed to prevent soil erosion by contoured ridges and no-tillage techniques. The results showed that although there were no significant differences in the surface runoff and soil erosion among the three practices, BL caused relatively high surface runoff and soil erosion, followed by CT and SNTR. Classification and comparison of the rainfall events based on cluster analysis (CA) verified that the surface runoff was not significantly different between most intensive event and long intensive events but was significantly different between most intensive and short and medium-duration events. Only the rainfall events with the highest rainfall intensity could trigger serious soil erosion, up to moo kg ha(-1) in the region. Further detailed investigations on the effects of tillage operations on the soil erosion in a subtropical region with a monsoon climate are needed to provide a basis for modeling catchments and designing better management practices.