Estimating potential wind erosion of agricultural lands in northern China using the Revised Wind Erosion Equation and geographic information systems

Z. Guo1,2, T.M. Zobeck3, K. Zhang1, and F. Li4
1 State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, P. R. China;
2 College of Resources and Environmental Science, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang, P. R. China;
3 USDA Agricultural Research Service, Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research Unit, Lubbock, Texas;
4 China National Desertification Monitoring Center, State Forestry Administration, Beijing, P. R. China.
Abstract: Fine materials emissions from severe wind-induced soil erosion have multiple impacts on land degradation and environmental pollution in the agropastoral ecotone in northern China (APEC). Assessment of wind erosion for the agricultural land management systems in APEC is needed to determine which systems are most sustainable. In this study, the Revised Wind Erosion Equation (RWEQ) with a geographic information system method has been applied to estimate alternative wind erosion control measure scenarios. Simulation results of alternative agricultural land management scenarios for the period 2000 to 2008 indicated that the most severe potential wind eroded areas were scattered in the Horqin Sands, Hunshan Dake Sands, and Mu Us Sands. The scenarios results further showed that most croplands in the APEC would suffer severe wind erosion if no effective measures were implemented. The results further indicated that conservation tillage, no-tillage after harvest, and retention of crops residues until sowing season in the following year produced the most favorable impact on reducing wind erosion. Shrub barriers reduced wind erosion effectively, but irrigation twice per year could not reduce the wind erosion level markedly in the APEC. Even though combinations of conservation tillage, wind barriers, and irrigation could greatly reduce wind erosion, most farmlands in the APEC are still at the risk of degradation.
Keywords: crop management; geographic information system; Revised Wind Erosion Equation; wind erosion.
Published in Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 2013, 68(1): 13-21.