Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (11): 1595-1603.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201411001

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Influences of shrubs-herbs-arbor vegetation coverage on the runoff based on the remote sensing data in Loess Plateau

Xiaoyan LIU1, Changming LIU2, Shengtian YANG2, Shuangyan JIN3, Yajun GAO3, Yunfei GAO4   

  1. 1. Yellow River Conservancy Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Zhengzhou 450003, China
    2. Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Yellow River Institute of Hydrology and Water Resources, Zhengzhou 450004, China
    4. Upper and Middle Reaches of the Yellow River Administrative Bureau of Yellow River Conservancy Commission, Xi'an 710021, China
  • Received:2014-08-07 Revised:2014-09-09 Online:2014-11-20 Published:2014-11-20
  • Supported by:
    National Key Technologies R&D Program, No.2012BAB02B00]


The impact of vegetation coverage on flood or runoff yield in the Loess Plateau has been extensively studied, but the research has been primarily based on observations from slope runoff plots or secondary forest regions. This paper is based on vegetation information from remote sensing images, measured rainfall and runoff data and water consumed from the related basin in Loess Plateau over nearly 50 years. By introducing the concepts of runoff yield coefficient, flood yield coefficient, base flow yield coefficient, and the percentage of effective vegetation, we proposed the quantitative relation between vegetation coverage extracted from remote sensing images and runoff yield at the watershed scale. The response relations reveal that the runoff yield and flood volume will decrease with the increase of shrubs-herbs-arbor vegetation, especially in the dryer region, and the reduction of the runoff in sand-covered loess region is even more than that in the loess region with similar climate. But the flood volume will be kept at a stable level, when the percentage of effective vegetation is larger than 60%. The river's runoff will be stable at a threshold, which is more than its base-flow at last, with a further increase of vegetation.

Key words: Loess Plateau, shrubs-herbs-arbor vegetation, drought index, runoff yield