Vegetation plays a significant role in controlling soil erosion. However, the effects of each vegetation type on soil erosion have not been fully investigated. In order to explore the influence of multiple vegetation covers on soil erosion and surface runoff generation, 10 different vegetation types, typical of the Nverzhai small basin, have been selected for this study. Regional precipitation, surface runoff, and sediment yield were measured from 2007 to 2018. The wettest year recorded was 2012. Recorded data confirmed that July was the wettest month in this region while January and December were the driest months. Furthermore, surface runoff and sediment yield associated with different vegetation types gradually decreased after 2013, which is the quantification of the consequences due to afforestation processes started in this area. Surface runoff and sediment content recorded for the configuration of sloping farmland were the largest between the different investigated vegetation types. The smallest were the broad-leaved mixed forest, the coniferous mixed forest, and shrubs. Finally, a significant linear positive correlation was found between rainfall and surface runoff, as well as sediment yield (R2 = 0.75). This suggests that climate change implications could be limited by using the more efficient vegetation covering. This research indicates that the ground cover is a key element in controlling soil and water loss, as well as vegetation measures, with high ground cover (i.e., broad-leaved trees). These measures should be strongly recommended for soil erosion control and surface runoff reduction. Moreover, these outcomes can be very helpful for vegetation restoration and water conservation strategies if implemented by local authorities.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Funding: This work was funded by the Forestry Science and Technology Innovation Project in Hunan (XLK201970, HNGYL-2019-01), the Major Research and Development Program in Hunan (2017NK2223), the Forestry Science and Technology Plan Project in Hunan (XLKPT201710), the National Science and Technology Plan for Twelfth Five-Year in the Countryside (2015BAD07B04), and the National Key R﹠D Program of China (2017YFC0505506). This work was supported by the CFERN and BEIJING TECHNO SOLUTIONS Award Funds for excellent academic achievements.
- Hunan province
- Nverzhai basin
- Sediment yield
- Surface runoff
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