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Influence of Mechanical Disturbance on Erodibility of Sandy Loam Soils by Wind

Weinan Chen and D.W. Fryrear


Conditions of surface soils can accelerate or control wind erosion. This response becomes an important factor in modeling and predicting wind erosion rate. Wind erosion in the Northern Loess Plateau of China is serious, mostly because of the disturbance by over-cultivation, over-grazing, and other land use practices. Field surveys and indoor wind-tunnel experiments were carried out to investigate the influence of disturbance on wind erosion. A disturbance ratio was defined to express the soil disturbance extent. Results suggested that the erosion coefficient increased as a power function with increasing disturbance ratio. The erosion rate increased by a power function of increasing wind velocities. The mechanical disturbance manifested more influence on the erodibility of surface soils than wind velocity. Soil hardness can be used as an index to describe soil resistibility to wind erosion. It revealed a negative exponential relationship between the erosion rate and soil hardness value. Silt and clay particles were more important than organic matter and CaCO3 in forming the structure for loessal sandy loam soils. To reduce mechanical disturbance would be an effective way to prevent wind erosion.

Key words: loessal sandy loam soils; structural stability; surface disturbance ratio; wind erosion; Loess Plateau.