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Assessing Soil Erosion Rates on Manually-Tilled Hillslopes in the Sichuan Hilly Basin Using 137Cs and 210Pbex Measurements

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Purple soils are widely distributed in the Sichuan Hilly Basin and are highly susceptible to erosion, especially on the cultivated slopes. Quantitative assessment of the erosion rates is, however, difficult due to small size of the plots of the manually-tilled land, the complex land use, and steep hillslopes. 137Cs and 210Pbex (excess 210Pb) tracing techniques were used to investigate the spatial pattern of soil erosion rates associated with slope-land under hoe tillage in Neijiang of the Sichuan Hilly Basin. The 137Cs and 210Pbex inventories at the top of the cultivated slope were extremely low, and the highest inventories were found at the bottom of the cultivated slope. By combining the erosion rates estimates provided by both 137Cs and 210Pbex measurements, the weighted mean net soil loss from the study slope was estimated to be 3100 t km-2 year-1, which was significantly less than 6930 t km-2 year-1 reported for runoff plots on a 10° cultivated slope at the Suining Station of Soil Erosion. The spatial pattern of soil erosion rates on the steep agricultural land showed that hoe tillage played an important role in soil redistribution along the slope. Also, traditional farming practices had a significant role in reducing soil loss, leading to a lower net erosion rate for the field.
Zheng, J.J. , He, X.B. , Walling, D. , Zhang, X.B. , Flanagan, D. , Qi, Y.Q.
Includes references
Pedosphere 2007 June, v. 17, issue 3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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