Integrating biophysical and socio-economic aspects of soil conservation on the Loess Plateau, China. Part I. Design and calibration of a model

M. Stocking, Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A principal challenge in erosion control is the integration of the many technical and non-technical issues that affect the acceptance of soil conservation measures by land users. This first paper in a three-part series considers the main criteria at farm level: biophysical efficiency; productivity and sustainability; and socio-economic acceptability. A model is developed to integrate these various components into a decision-making framework for soil conservation at the farm level. With the particular conditions of the Loess Plateau in China, land degradation comprises a number of key biophysical and socio-economic variables. The model components therefore include available water storage capacity of the soil as an index of productivity, the organic matter and mineral soil balance to reflect the major changes to the soil when eroded, and cost-benefit analysis to determine the economic wisdom of devoting household resources to land improvement. The model is calibrated using data from the Nihegou Catchment near Chunhua in the southern part of the Loess Plateau. Through simulation runs, this model enables a better understanding of erosion–productivity–time relationships. Although relatively simple, the model successfully encompasses the processes of greatest significance to agricultural development in this part of China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalLand Degradation & Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

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