To understand the hydrological outcomes of interception by gravel mulches, rainfall simulation experiments were conducted in the loess regions of northwestern China. The rainfall interception decreased with gravel size but increased with the thickness of the gravel mulch layer, following two exponential functions. Interception was 15.1% of the gross rainfall at 1 cm thickness, followed by 17.2, 20.9, 30.5 and 45.6 % at 3, 5, 7 and 10 cm thickness, respectively. For the equivalent gravel grain size of 3.43 mm, relative interception was 45.6%, which was about 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 and 2.3 times higher than that for the equivalent grain size of 11.01, 19.31, 32.8 and 43.72 mm, respectively.
gravel; interception; loess plateau; rainfall simulation
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