Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Monit Assess. 2015 Mar;187(3):92. doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4320-1. Epub 2015 Feb 7.

Vertical distribution of soil saturated hydraulic conductivity and its influencing factors in a small karst catchment in Southwest China.

Author information

Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, 410125, China.


Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is one of the most important soil hydraulic parameters influencing hydrological processes. This paper aims to investigate the vertical distribution of Ks and to analyze its influencing factors in a small karst catchment in Southwest China. Ks was measured in 23 soil profiles for six soil horizons using a constant head method. These profiles were chosen in different topographical locations (upslope, downslope, and depression) and different land-use types (forestland, shrubland, shrub-grassland, and farmland). The influencing factors of Ks, including rock fragment content (RC), bulk density (BD), capillary porosity (CP), non-capillary porosity (NCP), and soil organic carbon (SOC), were analyzed by partial correlation analysis. The mean Ks value was higher in the entire profile in the upslope and downslope, but lower value, acting as a water-resisting layer, was found in the 10-20 cm soil depth in the depression. Higher mean Ks values were found in the soil profiles in the forestland, shrubland, and shrub-grassland, but lower in the farmland. These results indicated that saturation-excess runoff could occur primarily in the hillslopes but infiltration-excess runoff in the depression. Compared with other land-use types, surface runoff is more likely to occur in the farmlands. RC had higher correlation coefficients with Ks in all categories concerned except in the forestland and farmland with little or no rock fragments, indicating that RC was the dominant influencing factor of Ks. These results suggested that the vertical distributions of Ks and RC should be considered for hydrological modeling in karst areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center