Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (6): 921-931    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0016-z
Research article     
Effect of soil management on soil erosion on sloping farmland during crop growth stages under a large-scale rainfall simulation experiment
Linhua WANG1,2, Yafeng WANG1, SASKIA Keesstra3,4, ARTEMI Cerdà5, Bo MA1, Faqi WU6,*()
1 State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2 Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
3 Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
4 Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen 6708 PB, The Netherlands
5 Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Valencia, Valencia 46010, Spain
6 College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
Download: HTML     PDF(312KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Soil erosion on farmland is a critical environmental issue and the main source of sediment in the Yellow River, China. Thus, great efforts have been made to reduce runoff and soil loss by restoring vegetation on abandoned farmland. However, few studies have investigated runoff and soil loss from sloping farmland during crop growth season. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of soil management on runoff and soil loss on sloping farmland during crop growth season. We tested different soybean growth stages (i.e., seedling stage (R1), initial blossoming stage (R2), full flowering stage (R3), pod bearing stage (R4), and initial filling stage (R5)) and soil management practice (one plot applied hoeing tillage (HT) before each rainfall event, whereas the other received no treatment (NH)) by applying simulated rainfall at an intensity of 80 mm/h. Results showed that runoff and soil loss both decreased and infiltration amount increased in successive soybean growth stages under both treatments. Compared with NH plot, there was less runoff and higher infiltration amount from HT plot. However, soil loss from HT plot was larger than that from NH plot in R1-R3, but lower in R4 and R5. In the early growth stages, hoeing tillage was effective for reducing runoff and enhancing rainfall infiltration. By contrast, hoeing tillage enhanced soil and water conservation during the late growth stages. The total soil loss from HT plot (509.0 g/m2) was 11.1% higher than that from NH plot (457.9 g/m2) in R1-R5. However, the infiltration amount from HT plot (313.9 mm) was 18.4% higher than that from NH plot (265.0 mm) and the total runoff volume from HT plot was 49.7% less than that from NH plot. These results indicated that crop vegetation can also act as a type of vegetation cover and play an important role on sloping farmland. Thus, adopting rational soil management in crop planting on sloping farmland can effectively reduce runoff and soil loss, as well as maximize rainwater infiltration during crop growth period.

Key wordshoeing tillage      soil erosion      simulated rainfall      crop growth stages      Loess Plateau     
Received: 09 July 2017      Published: 07 November 2018
Corresponding Authors: Faqi WU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Linhua WANG, Yafeng WANG, SASKIA Keesstra, ARTEMI Cerdà, Bo MA, Faqi WU. Effect of soil management on soil erosion on sloping farmland during crop growth stages under a large-scale rainfall simulation experiment. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(6): 921-931.

URL:     OR

[1] Aboudrare A, Debaeke P, Bouaziz A, et al.2006. Effects of soil tillage and fallow management on soil water storage and sunflower production in a semi-arid Mediterranean climate. Agricultural Water Management, 83(3): 183-196.
[2] Bruce R R, Langdale G W, West L T, et al.1995. Surface soil degradation and soil productivity restoration and maintenance. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 59(3): 654-660.
[3] Castro N M D R, Auzet A V, Chevallier P, et al.1999. Land use change effects on runoff and erosion from plot to catchment scale on the basaltic plateau of Southern Brazil. Hydrological Processes, 13(11): 1621-1628.
[4] Cerdà A, Flanagan D C, le Bissonnais Y, et al.2009. Soil erosion and agriculture. Soil and Tillage Research, 106(1): 107-108.
[5] Cerdà A, Rodrigo-Comino J, Giménez-Morera A, et al.2017. An economic, perception and biophysical approach to the use of oat straw as mulch in Mediterranean rainfed agriculture land. Ecological Engineering, 108: 162-171.
[6] Chen L D, Wei W, Fu B J, et al.2007. Soil and water conservation on the Loess Plateau in China: review and perspective. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, 31(4): 389-403.
[7] De Baets S, Poesen J, Knapen A, et al.2007. Root characteristics of representative Mediterranean plant species and their erosion-reducing potential during concentrated runoff. Plant and Soil, 294(1-2): 169-183.
[8] Engel F L, Bertol I, Ritter S R, et al.2009. Soil erosion under simulated rainfall in relation to phenological stages of soybeans and tillage methods in Lages, SC, Brazil. Soil and Tillage Research, 103(2): 216-221.
[9] Foxa D M, Bissonnaisa Y L, Quétina P.1998. The implications of spatial variability in surface seal hydraulic resistance for infiltration in a mound and depression microtopography. Catena, 32(2): 101-114.
[10] Gómez J A, Vanderlinden K, Nearing M A.2005. Spatial variability of surface roughness and hydraulic conductivity after disk tillage: implications for runoff variability. Journal of Hydrology, 311(1-4): 143-156.
[11] Gómez J A, Sobrinho T A, Giráldez J V, et al.2009. Soil management effects on runoff, erosion and soil properties in an olive grove of Southern Spain. Soil and Tillage Research, 102(1): 5-13.
[12] Huang J, Wang J, Zhao X, et al.2014. Effects of permanent ground cover on soil moisture in jujube orchards under sloping ground: A simulation study. Agricultural Water Management, 138: 68-77.
[13] Huang J, Wang J, Zhao X, et al.2016. Simulation study of the impact of permanent groundcover on soil and water changes in jujube orchards on sloping ground. Land Degradation & Development, 27(4): 946-954.
[14] Jordán A, Zavala L M, Gil J.2010. Effects of mulching on soil physical properties and runoff under semi-arid conditions in southern Spain. Catena, 8(1): 77-85.
[15] Keesstra S, Pereira P, Novara A, et al.2016. Effects of soil management techniques on soil water erosion in apricot orchards. Science of the Total Environment, 551-552: 357-366.
[16] Keesstra S D.2007. Impact of natural reforestation on floodplain sedimentation in the Dragonja basin, SW Slovenia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32(1): 49-65.
[17] Keesstra S D, Temme A J A M, Schoorl J M, et al.2014. Evaluating the hydrological component of the new catchment-scale sediment delivery model LAPSUS-D. Geomorphology, 212(1): 97-107.
[18] Keesstra S D, Bouma J, Wallinga J, et al.2016. The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Soil, 2(2): 111-128.
[19] Lassu T, Seeger M, Peters P, et al.2015. The Wageningen rainfall simulator: set-up and calibration of an indoor nozzle-type rainfall simulator for soil erosion. Land Degradation & Development, 26(6): 604-612.
[20] Li F, Zhang R L.2000. Experiment analysis on cultivation by conserving soil in sloping fields. Research of Soil and Water Conservation, 7(3): 184-186. (in Chinese)
[21] Ma B, Gale W J, Ma F, et al.2013. Transformation of rainfall by a soybean canopy. Transactions of ASABE, 56(6): 1285-1293.
[22] Ma B, Liu Y, Liu X, et al.2015. Soil splash detachment and its spatial distribution under corn and soybean cover. Catena, 127: 142-151.
[23] Moore D C, Singer M J.1990. Crust formation effects on soil erosion processes. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 54(4): 1117-1123.
[24] Moret D, Arrúe J L.2007. Dynamics of soil hydraulic properties during fallow as affected by tillage. Soil and Tillage Research, 96(1-2): 103-113.
[25] Myers J L, Wagger M G.1996. Runoff and sediment loss from three tillage systems under simulated rainfall. Soil and Tillage Research, 39(1-2): 115-129.
[26] Nunes A N, Coelho C O A, De Almeida A C, et al.2010. Soil erosion and hydrological response to land abandonment in a central inland area of Portugal. Land Degradation & Development, 21(3): 260-273.
[27] Prosdocimi M, Tarolli P, Cerdà A.2016. Mulching practices for reducing soil water erosion: A review. Earth-Science Reviews, 161: 191-203.
[28] Ries J B, Seeger M, Lserloh T, et al.2009. Calibration of simulated rainfall characteristics for the study of soil erosion on agricultural land. Soil and Tillage Research, 106(1): 109-116.
[29] Sun F D, Wang L, Long R J, et al.2007. Effects of farmlands soil erosion under different intensities of rainfall in Loess Hilly regions. Research of Soil and Water Conservation, 14(2): 16-18. (in Chinese)
[30] Tang K L.2004. Soil and Water Conservation in China. Science Press: Beijing, 15-20. (in Chinese)
[31] Wang J, Huang J, Zhao X N, et al.2016. Simulated study on effects of ground managements on soil water and available nutrients in jujube orchards. Land Degradation & Development, 27(1): 35-42.
[32] Wang L H, Dalabay N, Lu P, et al.2017a. Effects of tillage practices and slope on runoff and erosion of soil from the Loess Plateau, China, subjected to simulated rainfall. Soil and Tillage Research, 166: 147-156.
[33] Wang L H, Ma B, Wu F Q.2017b. Effects of wheat stubble on runoff, infiltration, and erosion of farmland on the Loess Plateau, China, subjected to simulated rainfall. Solid Earth, 8(2): 281-290.
[34] Wei W, Jia F Y, Yang L, et al.2014. Effects of surficial condition and rainfall intensity on runoff in a loess hilly area, China. Journal of Hydrology, 513: 115-126.
[35] Zhang G H, Tang M K, Zhang X C.2009. Temporal variation in soil detachment under different land uses in the Loess Plateau of China. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34(9): 1302-1309.
[36] Zhang Y F, Wang X P, Rui H, et al.2015. Rainfall partitioning into throughfall, stemflow and interception loss by two xerophytic shrubs within a rain-fed re-vegetated desert ecosystem, northwestern China. Journal of Hydrology, 527: 1084-1095.
[37] Zhao X N, Huang J, Wu P, et al.2014. The dynamic effects of pastures and crop on runoff and sediments reduction at loess slopes under simulated rainfall conditions. Catena, 119: 1-7.
[38] Zuazo V H D,Pleguezuelo C R R. 2008. Soil-erosion and runoff prevention by plant covers. A review. In: Lichtfouse E,Navarrete M,Debaeke P, et al. Sustainable Agriculture. Dordrecht: Springer, 785-811.
[1] CHEN Shumin, JIN Zhao, ZHANG Jing, YANG Siqi. Soil quality assessment in different dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the northern Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 777-789.
[2] HUANG Laiming, ZHAO Wen, SHAO Ming'an. Response of plant physiological parameters to soil water availability during prolonged drought is affected by soil texture[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 688-698.
[3] SU Yuanyi, LI Peng, REN Zongping, XIAO Lie, ZHANG Hui. Freeze-thaw effects on erosion process in loess slope under simulated rainfall[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(6): 937-949.
[4] PEI Yanwu, HUANG Laiming, SHAO Ming'an, ZHANG Yinglong. Responses of Amygdalus pedunculata Pall. in the sandy and loamy soils to water stress[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 791-805.
[5] HE Qian, DAI Xiao'ai, CHEN Shiqi. Assessing the effects of vegetation and precipitation on soil erosion in the Three-River Headwaters Region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 865-886.
[6] LIU Qianjin, MA Liang, ZHANG Hanyu. Applying seepage modeling to improve sediment yield predictions in contour ridge systems[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(4): 676-689.
[7] GONG Yidan, XING Xuguang, WANG Weihua. Factors determining soil water heterogeneity on the Chinese Loess Plateau as based on an empirical mode decomposition method[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(3): 462-472.
[8] QIAO Xianguo, GUO Ke, LI Guoqing, ZHAO Liqing, LI Frank Yonghong, GAO Chenguang. Assessing the collapse risk of Stipa bungeana grassland in China based on its distribution changes[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(2): 303-317.
[9] LUO Zhidong, LIU Erjia, QI Shi, ZHAO Nan, SUN Yun. Flow regime changes in three catchments with different landforms following ecological restoration in the Chinese Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(1): 44-57.
[10] Jun WU, STEPHEN Yeboah, Liqun CAI, Renzhi ZHANG, Peng QI, Zhuzhu LUO, Lingling LI, Junhong XIE, Bo DONG. Effects of different tillage and straw retention practices on soil aggregates and carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils of the northwestern China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(4): 567-578.
[11] Hongfen ZHU, Yi CAO, Yaodong JING, Geng LIU, Rutian BI, Wude YANG. Multi-scale spatial relationships between soil total nitrogen and influencing factors in a basin landscape based on multivariate empirical mode decomposition[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 385-399.
[12] Shanshan JIN, Youke WANG, Xing WANG, Yonghong BAI, Leigang SHI. Effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency in jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 446-460.
[13] Chunlei ZHAO, Ming'an SHAO, Xiaoxu JIA, Laiming HUANG, Yuanjun ZHU. Spatial distribution of water-activesoil layer along the south-north transect in the Loess Plateau of China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(2): 228-240.
[14] Guohua HE, Yong ZHAO, Jianhua WANG, Qingming WANG, Yongnan ZHU. Impact of large-scale vegetation restoration project on summer land surface temperature on the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(6): 892-904.
[15] Mingming GUO, Wenlong WANG, Hongliang KANG, Bo YANG. Changes in soil properties and erodibility of gully heads induced by vegetation restoration on the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(5): 712-725.