Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 3631–3647 | Cite as

Runoff and sediment variation and attribution over 60 years in typical Loess Plateau basins

  • Qiaoqiao Zhao
  • Li WangEmail author
  • Hao Liu
  • Qingfeng Zhang
Sediments, Sec 3 • Hillslope and River Basin Sediment Dynamics • Research Article



The trends in runoff and sediment transportation in typical Loess Plateau basins and the factors causing the changes need to be clarified.

Materials and methods

In this study, the runoff and sediment transportation data from 1960 to 2016, from hydrological stations (Wenjiachuan, Baijiachuan, Ganguyi, and Zhuangtou) based in four typical basins, were analyzed systematically using linear regression, anomaly accumulation, the Mann–Kendall test, and double accumulation curve. The characteristics of the runoff and sediment transportation and their responses to climatic and anthropogenic activities were investigated using several hydrological analytical and statistical methods.

Results and discussion

The results indicate that both runoff and sediment transportation in the four typical basins have decreased sharply from 1960 to 2016. Since the implementation of the Grain-for-Green Project in 1999, the reduction has been more marked, in particular the runoff and sediment discharge of the Kuye River (Wenjiachuan station). Compared with the period 1960–1999, the average annual runoff and sediment discharge in 2000–2016 had decreased by 76.72% and 94.50%, respectively. Apart from the Wuding River (Baijiachuan station), an abrupt change in runoff and sediment transportation in the basins occurred within 2–7 years of the implementation of the Grain-for-Green Project.


In general, returning farmland to forests (grass) has had a more pronounced effect on the reduction of runoff and sediment in the more northerly Kuye River (Wenjiachuan station) and Wuding River (Baijiachuan station) basins, compared with the more southerly Yanhe River (Ganguyi station) and Beiluo River (Zhuangtou station) basins.


Influence factor Runoff Sediment transportation Typical basins 


Funding information

This work was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0501604), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41771545; 41530854), and the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology Open Foundation (No. SKLURE2016-2-4).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiaoqiao Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Li Wang
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hao Liu
    • 1
  • Qingfeng Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ResourcesYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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