Submitted to: Physical Geography
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Citation: Shi, P., Yan, P., Yuan, Y., Nearing, M.A. 2004. Wind erosion research and control in china: past, present and future. Physical Geography. 28(3):366-386.
Interpretive Summary: Wind erosion in China has become a serious concern in recent years. It is common for the sky in Beijing during the springtime to be colored yellow from dust blown from the west areas of Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau, and other western regions. Although this is a phenomenon that has been documented in China for centuries, in recent years the climate in these areas has become drier and as a consequence the problem has been getting worse. This paper reports on the scientific and practical progress that has taken place in China regarding wind erosion and dust storms over the past couple of decades. Much scientific work has been conducted to understand the basic mechanisms of wind erosion and to identify critical regions of China that experience high rates of wind erosion. This work is summarized in this journal paper. Less work in China has been done on developing wind erosion models for purposes of assessing erosion rates and as tools for designing engineering practices to control erosion. Models from the U.S. have been applied in China for these purposes. A great deal of work in western regions has been undertaken to control wind erosion, with various levels of success. Further progress in controlling wind erosion in China will require a combined program of basic science, engineering design, implementation of control practices, land use changes, and significant societal and governmental commitment. It is anticipated that this report will guide scientists and policy makers around the world in actions that lead to a better natural environment and continued agricultural productivity for the future.
Technical Abstract: Wind erosion is one of most important processes associated with land degradation and desertification in China, particularly in the arid and semiarid regions of the country. Documentation of wind erosion and its negative impacts in China dates back over 2000 years. The total land area that experiences appreciable wind erosion is approximately 161×104 km2, which is 17% of the national territory. Wind erosion is recognized today as a major threat to land utilization and sustainable social and economic development. Since the 1950s, Chinese scientists have carried out an integrated investigation of the lands susceptible to wind erosion, which has included theoretical development, laboratory tests, and field observations with respect to the stabilization and utilization of soil in desert areas. With the increased concern around the world regarding land desertification caused by climatic changes and human activities since the late 1970s, wind erosion has attracted the attention of Chinese scientists to an even greater extent. Studies have been conducted to investigate the mechanics, causes, and control techniques related to wind erosion using wind tunnel simulation tests and field observations in typical, wind affected areas. Some encouraging accomplishments have been made, and much remains to be done. In this paper we summarize the main research results on wind erosion that have come to light in China in recent decades, and put forward some perspectives and suggestions that we feel would be beneficial for dealing with problems in both research and control practices of wind erosion in China in the future.