Natural Hazards

, Volume 79, Supplement 1, pp 183–202 | Cite as

Influence of bare soil and cultivated land use types upstream of a bank gully on soil erosion rates and energy consumption for different gully erosion zones in the dry-hot valley region, Southwest China

  • Zhengan Su
  • Donghong Xiong
  • Yifan Dong
  • Dan Yang
  • Su Zhang
  • Baojun Zhang
  • Xueyong Zheng
  • Jianhui Zhang
  • Liangtao Shi
Original Paper


This study assessed temporal variation in soil erosion rates in response to energy consumption of flow (ΔE). It employed an in situ bank gully field flume experiment with upstream catchment areas with bare (BLG) or cultivated land (CLG) that drained down to bare gully headcuts. Water discharge treatments ranged from 30 to 120 L Min−1. Concentrated flow discharge clearly affected bank gully soil erosion rates. Excluding minimal discharge in the CLG upstream catchment area (30 L min−1), a declining power function trend (p ≤ 0.1) was observed with time in soil erosion rates for both BLG and CLG upstream catchment areas and downstream gully beds. Non-steady state soil erosion rates were observed after an abrupt collapse along the headcut slope after prolonged scouring treatments. However, as the experiment progressed, ΔE and energy consumption of flow per unit soil loss (ΔEu) exhibited a logarithmic growth trend (p < 0.1) at each BLG and CLG position. Although similar temporal trends in soil erosion and infiltration rates were observed, values clearly differed between BLG and CLG upstream catchment areas. Furthermore, Darcy–Weisbach friction factor (f) values in the CLG upstream catchment area were higher than the corresponding BLG area. In contrast to the BLG upstream catchment area, lower ΔEu and higher soil erosion rates were observed in the CLG upstream catchment area as a result of soil disturbances. This indicated that intensive land use changes accelerate soil erosion rates in upstream catchment areas of bank gullies and increase soil sediment transport to downstream gullies. Accordingly, reducing tillage disturbances and increasing vegetation cover in upstream catchment areas of bank gullies are essential in the dry-hot valley region of Southwest China.


Bank gully Headcut erosion Energy consumption of flow Land use Dry-hot valley 



Financial support for this study was provided by the National Basic Research Program (973 Program) of China (2015CB452704), the “Western Light” Talents Cultivation program, CAS (2011, 2014), the 100 Talents Program of IMHE, CAS (SDSQB-2011-01), the Special Foundation of the President of CAS (2011), and the Youth Foundation of IMHE, CAS (2012). We are grateful for comments from Professor Thomas Glade and two anonymous reviewers.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Processes, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ConservancyChengduChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina
  4. 4.Institute of Tropical Eco-agricultural SciencesYunnan Academy of Agricultural SciencesYuanmouChina

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