• natural rainfall;
  • red sloping;
  • soil erosion;
  • surface runoff;
  • control measures;
  • PR China;
  • terraces


The severity of soil erosion is considered to vary according to the structure of the bench terrace and the ground cover conditions. Erosion losses were investigated in a field experiment based on 20 m × 5 m erosion plots on a 21 per cent slope in Southern China. Five plots were established for the present study. Rainfall, runoff and sediment yield from plots were recorded for 5 years (2001–2005) and which five different types of terraces on sloping red soil were compared. The results show that the planting of grass on the riser is the most important factor affecting runoff and sediment yield, the next most important factor was the construction of a bund built on the edge of the terrace. Although the terrace bed slope (slope < 5 degrees) does not significantly affect the runoff, it does benefit the soil. A terrace combined with vegetation measures is effective in controlling runoff and soil erosion. Among various terraces, the level terrace (i.e. grass planted on the riser and bunds built on the edge of a bench terrace) is apparently the most beneficial for soil conservation purposes, indicating that this type is an excellent choice for conserving soil and water resources in sloping red soil in Southeastern China. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.