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Reconstruction of soil erosion rates from exposed roots in southeast China

Journal article
Authors Y. Zhang
Keyan Fang
F. F. Zhou
Z. P. Dong
Y. J. Li
Peng Zhang
Published in Asian Geographer
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 91-105
ISSN 1022-5706
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 91-105
Language en
Keywords Soil erosion, exposed roots, dendrogeomorphology, southeast China, tree roots, anatomical changes, fujian province, central spain, growth, region, area
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Southeast China, characterized by a humid subtropical climate, is dominated by dense evergreen broad-leaved forests with the exception for the Changting area, which is one of the most eroded areas in southern China. Various methods have been employed to investigate regional soil erosion dynamics, yet these studies are limited to short periods and few sites. Dendrogeomorphological methods can alleviate this problem due to the long duration of tree rings and easy implementation for many sites. We present the first tree-ring-based soil erosion study in southeastern China, based on 123 exposed roots from 85 Pinus massoniana trees at six sites in Changting. The distinct reduction of cell lumen area of earlywood tracheids of exposed roots is a good bio-indicator for the first year of exposure due to soil erosion for this hot and humid area. The reconstructed soil erosion rates ranged from 4.26 to 43.50 mm/year with an average of 14.14 +/- 8.05 mm/year. Soil erosion rate is the highest at the slopes of 10 degrees-30 degrees. This is in line with previous findings using other methods over the study area. In addition, soil erosion in this area is found to be closely related to vegetation types and summer precipitation.

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