Pedosphere 15(4): 465--472, 2005
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2005 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Spatial distribution of soil erosion sensitivity on the Tibet Plateau
WANG Xiao-Dan, ZHONG Xiang-Hao, FAN Jian-Rong
Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041 (China). E-mail:
      The Tibet Plateau, occupying the main part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and having an average altitude of 4 500 m, has geomotphological features that are unique in the world, with soil erosion being one of the main ecological problems. Thus the main objectives of the present research were to set up an efficient and simple way of evaluating spatial distribution of soil erosion sensitivity in the Tibet Plateau as well as the responses of soil erosion to changes of natural environmental conditions, and to indicate key regions where soil erosion should be preferentially controlled. Based on the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), the study applied geographic information system (GIS) technology to develop a methodological reference framework, from which soil erosion sensitivity could be evaluated. The impact of precipitation, soil, topography and vegetation on soil erosion was divided into classes of extreme sensitivity, high sensitivity, medium sensitivity, low sensitivity and no sensitivity. With the aid of GIS, the resultant map from overlaying various factors showed that soil erosion sensitivity had great discrepancy in different parts of the region.In the southeastern part of the Tibet Plateau there were mainly three classes of sensitivity, namely, extreme, high and medium sensitivity. However, the other two classes, low and no sensitivity, were dominant in the northwestern part.
Key Words:  GIS, soil erosion sensitivity, spatial distribution, Tibet Plateau
Citation: Wang, X. D., Zhong, X. H. and Fan, J. R. 2005. Spatial distribution of soil erosion sensitivity on the Tibet Plateau. Pedosphere. 15(4): 465-472.
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