Due to deficient water resources in the Loess Plateau, watershed management plays a very important role, not only for ecological and environmental protection but also for the social development of the region. To better understand the hydrological and water resource variations in the typical watershed of the Loess Plateau and the Qinghe River Basin, the influences of land cover and climate change were analysed, and a SWAT model was built to simulate the response of the hydrological situation to land cover changes that have occurred over the past 30 years. The results demonstrated that the main land cover change occurring in the Qinghe River Basin was the conversion of land cover from grassland to woodland and farmland from the late 1980s to 2010. Woodland and farmland took 87.36 and 10.55%, respectively, from the overall area transferred over 20 years and more than 18% of the total watershed area. Hydrological simulation results indicated that land cover played a predominant role in the hydrological variation of the Qinghe River Basin, although the effects of climate change should not be discounted. The significant changes in land cover could be superimposed by policy orientation and economic requirements. Although it is hard to evaluate the land cover changes and the corresponding hydrological responses in a simple language, related analyses have demonstrated an increasing trend of runoff in the dry season, while there is a somewhat decreasing trend during the flood season in the river basin. There results could be significant and provide a positive influence on both future flood control and the conservation of water and soil.
Environmental Earth Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 22, 2017
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