The relationships between precipitation, vegetation and erosion are important and are unsolved issues in the field of earth surface processes. Based on data from the Loess Plateau of China, some non-linear relationships between forest cover (Cf), mean annual rainfall erosivity (Re) and annual precipitation (Pm) have been found. A threshold has been identified at Pm= 450 mm, that is, when Pmis < 450 mm, Cfis low and basically does not vary with Pm; when Pmexceeds 450 mm, Cfincreases rapidly. Furthermore, two thresholds are identified in the relationship between rainfall erosivity and annual precipitation. When Pmis < 300 mm, Reis low and basically does not vary with Pm.When Pmexceeds 300 mm, Reincreases rapidly; when Pmbecomes > 530 mm, the rate at which Reincreases with Pmbecomes higher. Based on these relationships, the non-linear relationship between erosion intensity and annual precipitation (i.e., the erosion intensity increases with annual precipitation to a peak and then declines) is explained. The implication of these thresholds for erosion control on the Loess Plateau is discussed. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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