25 Jan 2022
25 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Investigating the effects of herbaceous root types on the soil detachment process at the species level

Jian-Fang Wang1, Bing Wang1,2, Yan-Fen Yang1,2, Guo-Bin Liu1,2, Feng-Bao Zhang1,2, and Nu-Fang Fang1,2 Jian-Fang Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, PR China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China

Abstract. The changes in soil properties and root traits caused by plant growth might have great effects on the process of soil detachment by overland flow. On this basis, two typical herbaceous plants, Bothriochloa ischcemum (Linn.). Keng (BI; fibrous root system) and Artemisia vestita Wall. ex Bess (AG; tap root system), from the Loess Plateau were studied for one year under six planted densities of 5 plants m−2, 10 plants m−2, 15 plants m−2, 20 plants m−2, 25 plants m−2, and 30 plants m−2 to determine how the soil detachment rate responds to soil properties and plant root traits. In total, 24 steel tanks were planted, and two plots were used as bare soil controls. Their soil detachment rates were tested under a constant overland flow (1.5 l s−1) on a 26.2 % slope. The results showed that the soil detachment rate under the six planted densities ranged from 0.034 kg m2 s−1 to 0.112 kg m2 s−1 for BI and was ranged from 0.053 m2 s−1 to 0.132 m2 s−1 for AG, which all greatly reduced soil detachment rate and were 68.17 % to 92.33 % and 69.20 % to 87.27 % less than that of the control. In general, BI was more effective in reducing the soil detachment rate than AG, achieving a mean soil detachment rate that was 23.75 % lower. With increasing plant density, the soil detachment rate decreased as a power function (R2 = 0.23, p < 0.01). The overland flow hydraulic characteristics, soil properties and root traits influenced by plant density were positively or negatively correlated with the soil detachment rate. Specifically, the soil detachment rate decreased with velocity, bulk density, root length density, and increased with shear stress and the Darcy–Weisbach friction factor as power or exponential functions (R2 ranged from 0.16 to 0.54, p < 0.01). On this basis, the soil detachment rate (Dr) can be satisfactorily estimated by the overland flow velocity (v), soil bulk density (BD) and root length density (RLD) as a power function (Dr = 5.636v0.118 × BD−19.917 × RLD−0.170; R2 = 0.58; NSE = 0.78; p < 0.01).

Jian-Fang Wang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-30', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', JianFang Wang, 21 Mar 2022
      • AC3: 'Reply on AC1', JianFang Wang, 22 Mar 2022
        • RC3: 'Reply on AC3', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Mar 2022
          • CC1: 'Reply on RC3', Bing Wang, 23 Mar 2022
          • CC2: 'Reply on RC3', Bing Wang, 23 Mar 2022
          • AC7: 'Reply on RC3', JianFang Wang, 11 Apr 2022
    • AC6: 'Reply on RC1', JianFang Wang, 11 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2022-30', Anonymous Referee #2, 03 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', JianFang Wang, 21 Mar 2022
      • AC4: 'Reply on AC2', JianFang Wang, 22 Mar 2022
    • AC5: 'Reply on RC2', JianFang Wang, 23 Mar 2022
    • AC8: 'Reply on RC2', JianFang Wang, 11 Apr 2022
  • EC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-30', Carla Ferreira, 24 Mar 2022
    • AC9: 'Reply on EC1', JianFang Wang, 18 Apr 2022

Jian-Fang Wang et al.

Jian-Fang Wang et al.


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Short summary
The effects of plant roots on soil detachment were detected at the species level. The efficiency of a fibrous root system in reducing soil detachment is 25 % higher than that of a tap root system. Root length density can effectively reflect the effects of root type on soil detachment.