Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 401-422.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1734-7

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal characteristics of soil protection efforts of the Grain for Green Project in northern Shaanxi Province

LIU Wenchao1,2, LIU Jiyuan1, KUANG Wenhui1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. School of Geographic and Environmental Sciences, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China
  • Received:2019-04-16 Accepted:2019-06-22 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-05-25
  • Contact: KUANG Wenhui
  • About author:Liu Wenchao (1986–), PhD and Lecturer, specialized in remote sensing of natural resources and environment, land use and cover change (LUCC) and ecological effect. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China(No.2016YFC0500204);Doctor Foundation of Tianjin Normal University(No.52XB1622)


This paper looks at the Green for Grain Project in northern Shaanxi Province. Based on remote sensing monitoring data, this study analyzes the locations of arable land in northern Shaanxi in the years 2000, 2010 and 2013 as well as spatio-temporal changes over that period, and then incorporates data on the distribution of terraced fields to improve the input parameters of a RUSLE model and simulate and generate raster data on soil erosion for northern Shaanxi at different stages with a accuracy verification. Finally, combined with the dataset of farmland change, compared and analyzed the characteristics of soil erosion change in the converted farmland to forest (grassland) and the unconverted farmland in northern Shaanxi, so as to determine the project’s impact on soil erosion over time across the region. The results show that between 2000 and 2010, the soil erosion modulus of repurposed farmland in northern Shaanxi decreased 22.7 t/ha, equivalent to 47.08% of the soil erosion modulus of repurposed farmland in 2000. In the same period, the soil erosion modulus of non-repurposed farmland fell 10.99 t/ha, equivalent to 28.6% of the soil erosion modulus of non-repurposed farmland in 2000. The soil erosion modulus for all types of land in northern Shaanxi decreased by an average of 14.51 t/ha between 2000 and 2010, equivalent to 41.87% of the soil erosion modulus for the entire region in 2000. This suggests that the Green for Grain Project effectively reduced the soil erosion modulus, thus helping to protect the soil. In particular, arable land that was turned into forest and grassland reduced erosion most noticeably and contributed most to soil conservation. Nevertheless, in the period 2010 to 2013, which was a period of consolidation of the Green for Grain Project, the soil erosion modulus and change in volume of soil erosion in northern Shaanxi were significantly lower than in the previous decade.

Key words: northern Shaanxi, converting farmland into forest and grassland, remote sensing, RUSLE, soil erosion, soil conservation