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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE PROCESSES THAT IMPACT THE QUALITY AND MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

Title: Effects of gully erosion and gully filling on soil depth and crop production in the black soil region, northeast China

Authors
item Liu, H. - BEIJING NORMAL UNIVERSITY
item Zhang, T. - BEIJING NORMAL UNIVERSITY
item Liu, B. - BEIJING NORMAL UNIVERSITY
item Liu, G. - BEIJING NORMAL UNIVERSITY
item WILSON, GLENN

Submitted to: Environmental Earth Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 17, 2012
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
Citation: Liu, H., Zhang, T., Liu, B., Liu, G., Wilson, G.V. 2012. Effects of gully erosion and gully filling on soil depth and crop production in the black soil region, northeast China. Environmental Earth Sciences. 68(6):1723-1732.

Interpretive Summary: Gully erosion can be harmful to crop yields. In the black soil region of China, gully erosion is so severe that it could become a potential threat to China’s food security. This paper aimed to quantify the effects of gully erosion on soil depth and soybean yield in the Black Soils region of North-east China. An ephemeral gully is one that is small enough to be passed over and filled in by normal tillage operations whereas a classic gully is too deep for tillage operations. An ephemeral gully (74 m long) that changed downslope into a classic gully (52 m long) was selected for study. Soil samples were collected and soybean yield was measured at 81 points along 12 transects in the study area that cut across the ephemeral gully, classic gully, and the area where sediment was deposited. The aim was to quantify the reduction in soil depth per unit ephemeral/classic gully length. Additionally, the lengths of all gullies in the Hebei Catchment which contained the study area (2.3 km2) were measured along with soybean yield. The results indicated that gully erosion reduced the soil depth and soybean yield. The ephemeral gully and classic gully reduced the soybean yield by 0.70 t/km and 3.87 t/km, respectively. The soybean yield was reduced by 34.5% in the study area and 2.5% in the catchment due to gully erosion. Proper soil and water conservation practices should be deployed to control gully erosion and preserve crop yields. However, filling gullies with soil from areas adjacent to gullies is not a good solution as this can double the soybean yield reduction.

Technical Abstract: Gully erosion has affected the crop yield in the black soil region of China and become a potential threat to Chan’s food security. This paper aimed to quantify the effects of gully erosion on soil depth and soybean yield. An ephemeral gully (74 m) and a classic gully (52 m) connected at the gully’s headcut were selected for study. Soil and soybean yield were sampled at 81 points along 12 transects in the study area (ephemeral gully drainage area, gully drainage area and deposition area) to quantify the reduction in soil depth per unit ephemeral/classic gully length. Additionally, the lengths of all gullies in the corresponding catchment (Hebei Catchment 8, 2.3 km^2) were measured along with soybean yield. The results indicated that gully erosion reduced the soil depth and soybean yield. The ephemeral gully and gully reduced the soybean yield by 0.70 t/km and 3.87 t/km, respectively. The soybean yield was reduced by 34.5% in the study area and 2.5% in the catchment. Proper soil and water conservation practices should be deployed to control gully erosion and preserve crop yields. However, filling gullies with soil derived from area adjacent to gullies is not a good solution as this can double the soybean yield reduction.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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