Impact Assessment of Land Cover on Runoff and Sediment Yields using GeoWEPP: Application on watersheds in the US and China

Authors: Han Zhang*, University At Buffalo, Chris S. Renschler, University at Buffalo
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Landscape
Keywords: land use change, climate change, watershed, runoff, sediments, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Madison A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since land use change has been recognized as a major driver of landscape transformation, land managers and policy-makers have been interested in analyzing its historical and future impact on runoff and sediment yields. Land cover changes due to management have transformed the rangelands of the arid watersheds in the southwestern United States. In contrast, land use change in the humid southwestern part of China is due to the agricultural consolidation policy of Chinese government. The rangeland of the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in the US experienced a land use change from grassland to shrubland over the past 100 years. For the Nala watershed in China, fragmentary land use was reorganized slowly. Both kinds of land use change is causing gradually increasing impacts to the runoff and sediment yields. Meanwhile, GIS-based spatial modeling has emerged as an important tool in soil erosion studies, especially at the watershed scale. In this study, runoff and sediment yield of Walnut Gulch and Nala watershed is simulated using GeoWEPP, the GIS-based geospatial interface for WEPP (Water Erosion Prediction Project). The modeling study investigates challenges in validation and applicability to analyze how land use may affect soil erosion in different environments and their use for decision and policy-making.

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