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《Acta Ecologica Sinica》 2003-06
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Optimal protective effect of forest coverage on soil and water loss in Gansu Province

WU Bing Li,SHI Jian Zhong,XIE Mang Yi,HE Li Yong,CHEN Xiao Hua,ZHAO Jun Ying (Gansu Forestry Investigation & Planning Institute ,Lanzhou,730020,China).  
This study focuses on the upper reach of the Yangtze River, the upper reach of the Yellow River, and the headwater areas of major rivers in the Qilian Mountains within Gansu Province to understand the effect of forest coverage on soil and water loss. Exacerbating soil erosion associated with waterpower, especially waterpower of intensive rainstorms manifests the deteriorating environments in Gansu. The erosion intensity is influenced by the average rainfall intensity, forest coverage, and spatial patterns of forest distributions. The resistance of forestland to soil erosion is different among different forest types and stand ages. \;Soil porosity determines the ratio of soil infiltration to surface runoff and the porosity is thus indirectly determines the erosion intensity during rainstorms. The porosity itself is controlled by such factors as vegetation type, coverage, density, and spatial patterns. Among all land covers, forestland is the most resistant to soil erosion. The forest functions in resisting soil erosion, reducing flooding and increasing soil water content are achieved through enhancing soil infiltration and abating surface runoff. As a key factor in forest hydrology, soil porosity of forestland is different in different forest types, slope positions, stand ages, logging intensities and land alterations. \;The forestland is obviously able to retain more surface runoff. The maximal water capacity and water conservation capacity of forests increase in the following order: bush wood secondary forest or planted forest climax community of Abies faxoniana forest. These two capacities vary with different soils or soil tops and increase in the following order: deadwood layer moss layer forest soil. If an optimal state of forest quality and distributing pattern is achieved, the forest covered area or forest coverage has an optimal protective effect. The optimal state refers to an optimal combination of the following factors: vegetation type, vertical layers, structure and texture, health status. The enhancement of the protective effect by improving the optimal state and optimizing the distributing pattern can be controlled through artificial interventions, although the natural ecological environment is relatively steady and difficult to be influenced.\; The influence of ecological environments upon forest protection ability of soil and water is realized through different protection ability of various forest types. To achieve the optimal protective effect, expanding forest coverage should be combined with adjusting forest properties to gain an optimally coupled state between ecological environments and properties of newly planted and already existed forest. Through gaining this coupling state, the optimal functions of forest, improving ecological environment and accelerating economic development, can be achieved. \;The forest coverage of optimal protective effect can be computed on the base of water balance between the precipitation and the maximum water capacity. In this study, the total soil porosity is used as the maximum water capacity. Suppose that the computed percentage of forest cover is F (%), the maximum diurnal precipitation is P (mm), the adopted soil thickness is T (mm), the soil porosity is Pt (%), then F =〔 P÷(T×Pt)〕 ×100%. This is more or less a reliable and operational way to determine the forest coverage of optimal protective effect. Equally important is that this method can be quickly and easily used to provide scientific references for establishing environmental policies.
【CateGory Index】: S727.22
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