Relationship between soil erosion and distance to roadways in undeveloped areas of China

X. Z. Shi, K. Wang, E. D. Warner, D. S. Yu, H. J. Wang, R. W. Yang, Y. Liang, D. M. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The presence and condition of roadways control the utilization of natural resources, which are associated with direct and indirect impacts on soil erosion in undeveloped countries. This paper addresses the relationship between soil erosion and distance to roadways in Xingguo County, an undeveloped area in Jiangxi Province of South China, for four time periods, 1958, 1975, 1982, and 2000. Soil erosion maps for each time period were interpreted using remote sensing and GIS technology for buffer zones four kilometers wide, subdivided into eight strips, each 0.5 kilometers wide, which were located alongside various types of road classes, namely trunk, town, village, and unpaved. The distribution patterns of various types of erosion were identified by GIS overlay of buffer strips and soil erosion maps. Results demonstrate that soil erosion cases found in buffer zones along both sides of trunk and town roads are the most severe, and areas with severe erosion decrease as distance from the strip to the road increases. However, moderate and slight erosion cases only have a minor relationship to the strip to road distance. There are more severe erosion cases than moderate and light erosion cases alongside village and unpaved roads, but the total area is not distinctly different from moderate and slight erosion cases, and severe erosion cases tend to decrease with an increase in the strip to road distance. Also, areas with severe erosion differentiated by time periods in the strips alongside roadways of all classes, except trunk roads, rank from highest to lowest as follows: 1975, 1958, 1982, and 2000. Notably, severe erosion areas in 1975, 1958 and 1982 are all quite extensive. Soil erosion alongside roadways of various classes is impacted jointly by historical policy, distance to roadways, and landscape. In undeveloped countries and areas, much more attention should be paid to the impacts of road construction, specifically soil erosion associated with road edge construction, and relevant measures for forest resource conservation should be formulated before initiating road construction projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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