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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/se-2016-151
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Dec 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).
Evaluating the spatial heterogeneity of soil loss tolerance and its effects on erosion risk in the carbonate areas of South China
Yue Li1,2, Xiaoyong Bai1,2,4, Shijie Wang1,2, Luoyi Qin1,2, Yichao Tian1,3, and Guangjie Luo1,3 1State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, Guizhou, 550002, PR China
2Puding Comprehensive Karst Research and Experimental Station, Institute of Geochemistry, CAS and Science and Technology Department of Guizhou Province, Puding, Guizhou, 562100, PR China
3Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, PR China
4Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences,Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, PR China
Abstract. Soil loss tolerance (T value) is the ultimate criterion to determine the necessity of erosion control measures and ecological restoration strategy. However, the validity of this criterion in subtropical karst regions is strongly disputed. In this study, T value is computed based on soil formation rate by using a digital distribution map of carbonate rock assemblage types. Results indicated spatial heterogeneity and diversity in such values; moreover, a minimum of three criteria should be considered instead of only one criterion when investigating the carbonate areas of South China given that the “one region, one T value” concept may not apply to this region. T value is proportionate to the amount of argillaceous material in formations that determine surface soil thickness in homogenous carbonate rock areas; such values are 20 and 50 t/(km2 · a) in carbonate rock intercalated with clastic rock areas and 100 t/(km2 · a) in carbonate/clastic rock alternation areas. These three areas are each extremely, severely, and moderately sensitive to soil erosion. This erosion is extreme in karst rocky desertification (KRD) land and reflects the degree of erosion risk. Thus, the relationship between T value and erosion risk is determined with KRD as a parameter. The existence of KRD land is unrelated to T value, although this parameter indicates erosion sensitivity. In fact, erosion risk is strongly dependent on the relationship between real soil loss (RL) and T value rather than on either erosion intensity or the T value itself. If RL >> T, then erosion risk is high despite a low RL. Conversely, if T >> RL, the soil is safe although RL is high. Overall, these findings may clarify T value heterogeneity and its effect on erosion risk in a karst eco-environment; hence, innovative technological assessment solutions need not be invented.

Citation: Li, Y., Bai, X., Wang, S., Qin, L., Tian, Y., and Luo, G.: Evaluating the spatial heterogeneity of soil loss tolerance and its effects on erosion risk in the carbonate areas of South China, Solid Earth Discuss., doi:10.5194/se-2016-151, in review, 2016.
Yue Li et al.
Yue Li et al.
Yue Li et al.

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Short summary
First, we report the following discovery: T values are spatially heterogeneous, and a minimum of three criteria should be considered instead of only a single criterion in karst areas. In fact, our findings disprove the old “one region, one T value” concept. Second, we proposed a new viewpoint: in karst regions, a large soil erosion modulus does not correspond to severe soil erosion. Although T value can reflect soil sensitivity, this value cannot indicate soil erosion risk.
First, we report the following discovery: T values are spatially heterogeneous, and a minimum of...
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