2015 Volume 87 Issue 2 Pages 99-102
The Chinese Loess Plateau experiences the most severe soil erosion in the world, induced by the destruction of natural vegetation for cultivation. To stop soil erosion, in 1999 the Chinese government began an intensive afforestation program named Grain-for-Green-Policy in order to convert steep cultivated land to forest and grassland. Balancing afforestation with grain production and water use is crucial for obtaining sustainable effects of soil conservation. This study assessed the current balance among afforestation, grain production, and water use in river basins on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Annual afforested area, planted area of grain fields, precipitation, and irrigated area in these river basins were compared based on the data collected from the statistical yearbooks of the Yan’an City. River discharge and sediment yield in the areas were compared based on data collected from the Annual Report on Chinese Soil Conservation. The evapotranspiration rates of the main crops cultivated in each river basin were also compared. Collectively, the data suggest that the balance between afforestation, grain production, and water use has been improved by the Grain-for-Green-Policy in the river basins on the Chinese Loess Plateau.