The Effect of Returning Farmland to Grassland and Coniferous Forest on Watershed Runoff—A Case Study of the Naoli River Basin in Heilongjiang Province, China
In the 1950s and 1970s, China implemented large-scale wasteland reclamation in the Sanjiang Plain in eastern Heilongjiang Province, which expanded the area of cultivated land. Cultivated areas alter the quantity of water resources, provide the ecological requirements of river basins, and promote the ecological health of land use. In this study, the grid-based Sacramento (GSAC) model was adopted to simulate various changes in arable land, grassland, cultivated land, and deciduous coniferous
... t. Quantitative analysis of the influence of cultivated land change on runoff and under dry season flow was conducted. The results showed that the GSAC model attains a high certainty coefficient in the process of simulating the daily basin discharge and reproduces the daily basin discharge process well for many years. The annual runoff increased between 5.07 and 64.05% due to the return of farmland to grassland and coniferous forest. The return of farmland to grassland greatly impacted runoff. The slope of the grassland and coniferous forest converted from farmland was negatively correlated with the discharge in the basin outlet section. The lower the gradient threshold in the scenario of returning arable land to forest or grassland, the more arable land will be replaced by grassland or deciduous coniferous forest, which could result in more water production in the watershed. Among the different change scenarios, the average flow rate of cultivated land with a slope larger than 15° was the closest to the ecological water demand of the studied watershed. The land use mode of converting cultivated land with a slope larger than 15° into grassland is expected to promote the ecological health of the watershed.