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Title: Assessment of the hydrological impacts of land use change in the Daning River Catchment, China using hydrological modelling
Author: Li, Y.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In order to effectively manage river basin systems, a full understanding of the effects of land use change on hydrological processes, as well as knowledge on spatial heterogeneity of surface runoff with associated catchment characteristics, is required. This thesis employed the SWAT2009 model and SUFI-2 tool to understand the hydrological response to land use change in the Daning River catchment, Three Gorges Reservoir area, China. Firstly, appropriate landscape representations for the SWAT-based hydrological modelling were examined. DEM spatial resolution, catchment delineation scale and HRU definition were identified so that the inputs uncertainty could be reduced to a minimal level. Secondly, a consistent underestimation of discharge using station-based climatic records disclosed there was insufficient precipitation due to the location of the rain gauge at relatively low altitude. Considering the orographic effects on precipitation, Daning hydrological models were well calibrated and validated with the sparse climate observations. The model prediction uncertainty was also quantified. Thirdly, using the calibrated hydrological models of the Daning River catchment, this study quantified the effects of land use change (1990 and 2004) on the hydrological processes in the whole basin and sub-catchment levels. In 1982-1993, the change of land use pattern from 1990 to 2004 resulted in an increase of surface runoff, whereas, in 1996-2007 reverting the land use from 2004 to 1990 caused a slight decrease of river flows. Increased forest cover decreased surface runoff at the sub-catchment level. A concurrent increase of agricultural land, which brought about more surface runoff, weakened the forest‘s ecological function of water retention at the catchment scale. This thesis highlights that the strategy of land use exploration for human use along with the afforestation is not always effective in ecological protection. With the changing land use in future, composition of forests and agricultural land is a significant element being considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available