Advances in Earth Science ›› 2008, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 382-389. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2008.04.0382

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Estimating the Impact of Conservation Measures on Stream-flow Regime in Catchments of the Loess Plateau, China

Mu Xingmin 1,2,Gao Peng 1,2,Basang Chille 3,Zhang Xiaoping 1,2   

  1. 1.Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Nothwest A&F University, Yangling 712100,China; 2.Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yangling 712100, China;3.The Bureau of Hydrology of Tibet, Lhasa 850000, China
  • Received:2007-12-15 Revised:2008-03-04 Online:2008-04-10 Published:2008-04-10

Mu Xingmin,Gao Peng,Basang Chille,Zhang Xiaoping. Estimating the Impact of Conservation Measures on Stream-flow Regime in Catchments of the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2008, 23(4): 382-389.

Catchments in the Loess Plateau have been under the influence of human activities for centuries, especially in the last several decades when soil conservation measures were accelerated and intensified. These measures were designed to reduce soil erosion, improve agricultural productivity, and enhance environmental quality. It is important to evaluate the effects of these measures on hydrology in order to develop sustainable catchments management plans in the region. This study evaluated changes in stream-flow regime for four selected catchments in the Loess Plateau following large scale soil conservation measures. Parametric and non-parametric Mann-Kendall tests were used to identify trends in annual stream-flow and results showed significant downward trends in three out of the four catchments. The Pettitt's test indicated that a change point occurred in 1978 in these three catchments. Comparison of daily flow duration curves for two 20-years periods starting and ending in the mid 1970's (i.e., mid 1950s to mid 1970s and mid 1970s to mid 1990s) showed significant changes in stream-flow regime. Reduction in most percentile flows varied between 20% to 45 %, while reduction in low flows was much greater. Overall the reductions in daily flow are increasing as a function of time, with significant changes occurred in the 1990's. However, it is not clear if these catchments have seen the full effects of the soil conservation measures.

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