Effects of land-use/cover change on hydrological processes using a GIS/RS-based integrated hydrological model: case study of the East River, China Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 IAHS. An integrated model, combining a surface energy balance system, an LAI-based interception model and a distributed monthly water balance model, was developed to predict hydrological impacts of land-use/land-cover change (LUCC) in the East River basin, China, with the aid of GIS/RS. The integrated model is a distributed model that not only accounts for spatial variations in basin terrain, rainfall and soil moisture, but also considers spatial and temporal variation of vegetation cover and evapotranspiration (ET), in particular, thus providing a powerful tool for investigating the hydrological impact of LUCC. The model was constructed using spatial data on topography, soil types and vegetation characteristics together with time series of precipitation from 170 stations in the basin. The model was calibrated and validated based on river discharge data from three stations in the basin for 21 years. The calibration and validation results suggested that the model is suitable for application in the basin. The results show that ET has a positive relationship with LAI (leaf area index), while runoff has a negative relationship with LAI in the same climatic zone that can be described by the surface energy balance and water balance equation. It was found that deforestation would cause an increase in annual runoff and a decrease in annual ET in southern China. Monthly runoff for different land-cover types was found to be inversely related to ET. Also, for most of the scenarios, and particularly for grassland and cropland, the most significant changes occurred in the rainy season, indicating that deforestation would cause a significant increase in monthly runoff in that season in the East River basin. These results are important for water resources management and environmental change monitoring. Editor Z.W. Kundzewicz

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, K., Zhang, Q., Chen, Y. D., & Singh, V. P.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • October 2015