Advances in Earth Science ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (12): 1288-1300. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2019.12.1288

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Review and Prospect of Tillage Erosion Research

Haichao Xu 1, 2( ),Jianhui Zhang 1( ),Jiadong Dai 1, 2,Yong Wang 1, 3   

  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Conservancy, Chengdu 610041, China
    2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3.College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Sichuan Agricultural University, Sichuan Ya’an 625014, China
  • Received:2019-09-01 Revised:2019-11-30 Online:2019-12-10 Published:2020-02-12
  • Contact: Jianhui Zhang;
  • About author:Xu Haichao (1990-), male, Linyi City, Shandong Province, Ph.D student. Research areas include soil erosion and physics. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China “An opposing role of tillage between soil formation and soil erosion on the hillslope of purple soil”(41571267);The 135 Strategic Program of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment “Evolution features and trends for water processes of ecosystems in the Upper Yangtze River Basin”(SDS-135-1702)

Haichao Xu,Jianhui Zhang,Jiadong Dai,Yong Wang. Review and Prospect of Tillage Erosion Research[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2019, 34(12): 1288-1300.

Tillage erosion is an important component of soil erosion, which leads to changes in topography, soil properties and hydrological processes on the slope. In this paper, scientific literature analysis was made to review the historical evolution, control factors, and research methods on tillage erosion, and the challenges and opportunities of the research were summarized. It was found that the study of tillage erosion began in the United States, flourished in Europe, and developed rapidly around the world, from the review of the research history from 1942 to 2018. According to the characteristics of historical evolution, the process of tillage erosion research was divided into four stages: embryonic stage (before 1992), slow developing stage (1992-1998), rapid developing stage (1999-2006), and comprehensive research stage (2007-2018). Tillage erosion is the result of the combined effects of tillage erosivity and landscape erodibility, and its influencing factors can be divided into anthropogenic and natural factors. Tillage erosivity is mainly influenced by anthropogenic factors, while landscape erodibility is mainly determined by natural factors. Many studies with different temporal and spatial scales have been conducted by various measuring techniques, which were used to determine the process of tillage erosion, and a relatively integrated technical system has been initially established. With further studies, a number of comprehensive models, which combined tillage erosion with water erosion, were constructed to assess soil erosion and landscape evolution on greater temporal and spatial scales. However, there are still many scientific issues of tillage erosion to be explored, integrated and standardized. First, the spatial scale of tillage erosion research is mainly concentrated on small and medium scales. Future research should rely on advanced technologies, such as 3S (RS, GIS and GPS) technology, UAV aerial images, radar data and 3-D scan technology, to assess and predict macro-scale tillage erosion. There is also an urgent need of comprehensive research with multiple scales to promote the prediction accuracy of tillage erosion because different characteristics of tillage erosion are present on different spatial and temporal scales. Second, compared with natural factors, anthropogenic factors are more complex and changeable, which makes the macro-scale evaluation of tillage erosion more difficult as few tillage erosion models considered natural and human factors synchronously. Constructing a multi-factor model will be beneficial to improving the accuracy of tillage erosion assessment and prediction. Additionally, although diversified methods provided effectively technical support for tillage erosion research by ceaseless optimization, there were differences between the results obtained by different methods. Third, further research is needed to determine the interaction between tillage and water erosion. The accelerating effect of tillage erosion on water erosion has been preliminarily understood, but quantitative evaluation is not enough. Meanwhile, the studies of water erosion effects on tillage erosion are still in the qualitative description stage, and the technical methods need to be supplemented. Finally, there is still a lack of concrete and enforceable standards of tillage erosion control. Formulating standards for tillage erosion control based on regional soil properties, topographies and tillage systems is an important development direction in the future. Coordinating the contradiction between tillage and soil conservation from the perspective of farmers, who are agricultural producers, can improve the flexibility and feasibility of soil and water conservation policies.

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