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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2019, Vol. 29 Issue (5) : 779-790     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1627-9
Geodetection analysis of the driving forces and mechanisms of erosion in the hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
YUAN Xuefeng1,2,3,4(),HAN Jichang1,2,*(),SHAO Yajing4,LI Yuheng3,WANG Yongsheng3
1. College of Land Engineering, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710075, China
2. Key Laboratory of Degraded and Unused Land Consolidation Engineering, The Ministry of Land and Resources, Xi’an 710075, China
3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
4. School of Earth Science and Resources, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710054, China
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This paper analyzes the spatial variation in soil erosion in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province, China. It sums up existing research, describes the factors that drive soil erosion, and uses geodetection to investigate the factors individually and in pairs. Our results show that soil erosion in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi is mainly hydraulic erosion. There are significant spatial differences in the severity of soil erosion in the region. Generally, it is more severe in the north and west and less severe in the south and east. Individual factor detection results show that the major risk factors affecting soil erosion are human population distribution, precipitation, land-use type, elevation, and soil type. Interactive detection results show that interacting factors play much bigger roles in soil erosion than do individual factors. Based on forced detection results from different periods of time, we can see that forest and grass coverage, urbanization, and economic development in the study area all clearly inhibit soil erosion.

Keywords soil erosion      driving factors      geodetection      loess hilly-gully region      northern Shaanxi     
Fund:Fund from the Key Laboratory of Degraded and Unused Land Consolidation Engineering, No.214027170087;National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2017YFC0504705
Corresponding Authors: HAN Jichang     E-mail:;
Issue Date: 19 April 2019
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YUAN Xuefeng
HAN Jichang
SHAO Yajing
LI Yuheng
WANG Yongsheng
Cite this article:   
YUAN Xuefeng,HAN Jichang,SHAO Yajing, et al. Geodetection analysis of the driving forces and mechanisms of erosion in the hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 779-790.
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Figure 1  Location and elevation of the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
Figure 2  Spatial distribution and grades of soil erosion in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province in 1995
Grade number Erosion level Average erosion modulus (t/km2×a) Area (km2) Proportion (%)
1 Slight <1000 2618 8.07
2 Minor 1000-2500 3160 9.74
3 Moderate 2500-5000 8659 26.69
4 Intense 5000-8000 6080 18.74
5 Very intense 8000-15000 6333 19.52
6 Extreme >15000 5587 17.22
Table 1  Quantitative analysis of various soil erosion grades in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
Influencing factor Population Precipitation Land-use type Elevation Soil type Sand content
q value 0.127102 0.102612 0.066366 0.027132 0.018847 0.015876
Influencing factor Silt content Clay content GDP Slope Aspect
q value 0.009635 0.004776 0.003131 0.001543 0.000789
Table 2  Determinants of soil erosion in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
Precipitation Land-use type Population Soil type Elevation
Precipitation 0.1026 - - - -
Land-use type 0.1534 0.0664 - - -
Population 0.2062 0.1805 0.1271 - -
Soil type 0.1207 0.0895 0.1441 0.0188 -
Elevation 0.1318 0.0940 0.1882 0.0538 0.0271
Table 3  Factor interaction survey results matrix in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
Year q value Cultivated land area (km2) Forested area (km2) Grassland area (km2) Wetland area (km2) Urban and industrial infrastructure area (km2) Unused land (km2) Ratio of forest and grassland (%)
1995 0.066 16100 4080 17204 233 124 59 55.22
2000 0.059 16669 4695 16834 202 80 64 55.86
2005 0.049 15790 5638 16754 201 97 64 58.09
2010 0.048 15712 5727 16745 198 98 64 58.30
2015 0.047 15759 5688 16649 203 135 110 57.95
Table 4  The effect of land coverage changes on the q value in the loess hilly-gully region of northern Shaanxi Province
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