The sediment delivery ratio in a small catchment in the black soil region of Northeast China

The sediment delivery ratio in a small catchment in the black soil region of Northeast China
Yifan DONG1,2,3,4, Yongqiu WU1,2, Tianyu ZHANG4, Wei YANG4, and Baoyuan LIU1,4
1 State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P.R. China;
2 MOE Engineering Center of Desertification and Blown-Sand Control, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P.R. China;
3 Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards & Surface Process, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 610041, Chengdu, China;
4 School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China.
Abstract: The black soil region of northeast China, which covers the Provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region with black soil, chernozem and meadow soil, has experienced soil erosion since intense agricultural reclamation began approximately 100 years ago. However, the sediment delivery ratio, defined as the fraction of gross erosion that is transported from a given area in a given time interval, is still unclear. In this study, we calculated the delivery ratio and analysed changes in erosive processes within Hebei catchment from 1977 to 2007 based on an analysis of sediments of the Liudui reservoir. The original vegetation layer clearly identified the bottom of the reservoir when it was constructed in 1977; thus, the reservoir sediments could be precisely dated. The delivery ratio, calculated by comparing the sediment deposition in the reservoir with the total soil erosion in the upstream catchment, was found to be exponentially correlated (r2 = 0.95, P < 0.01) with decreasing grain size, except for the fraction <0.002 mm. The delivery ratio for the clays (<0.002 mm) was low, averaging 0.10 during the study period, which indicated partial removal of clays from the reservoir. The changes in the reservoir deposition rate reflected the temporal changes in the erosion processes. The exceptionally high rainfall in 1998 was confirmed by the distributions of 137Cs, 210Pb, and the grain-size of the sediments. Beginning from the position of the original grass layer, we defined three periods from 1977 to 2007 based on deposition rates: 2.40 cm year-1 from 1977 to 1997, 5.60 cm year-1 in 1998 due to unusually high rainfall, and 1.55 cm year-1 from 1999 to 2007. The overall average deposition rate for the entire period was 2.26 cm year-1. Precipitation was found to be the main factor affecting the soil erosion of the study area.
Keywords: Sediment delivery ratio; Reservoir sediments; Black soils; China.
Published in International Journal of Sediment Research. 2013, 28(1): 111-117.