Journal of Arid Land


Small watersheds are the basic composition unit of the Loess Plateau in China. An accurate estimation of vegetation net primary productivity (NPP) is of great significance for eco-benefit evaluation in small watershed management in this region. Here we describe the development and testing of a vegetation-producing process model (VPP) of a small watershed in the Loess Plateau. The model couples three modules: radiation adjustment; soil hydrological processes; and vegetation carbon assimilation. Model validation indicates that the VPP model can be used to estimate the NPP of small watersheds in the region. With the VPP model, we estimated the spatial NPP distributions in the Yangou watershed for 2007. The results show that in the Yangou watershed the NPP is relatively low, averaging 168 g C/(m2·a). Trees and shrubs have a higher NPP than crops and grasses. The NPP is larger on the partly shaded and shaded slopes than on the partly sunny and sunny slopes. The NPP on the slopes increases gradually on 0–20° slopes and decreases slightly on slopes steeper than 20°. Our simulation indicates that the vegetation type is the most important factor in determining the NPP distribution in small watersheds in the Loess Plateau.


small watershed; net primary productivity; vegetation-producing process model; solar radiation; soil hydrological process; vegetation carbon assimilation

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