ABSTRACT The importance of roots in soil conservation has long been underestimated due to a lack of sys-tematic studies conducted to evaluate root dis-tribution patterns and their effects on soil ero-sion. Current knowledge regarding root mor-phology and its impact on soil erosion by water is limited; therefore, detailed analysis of the role that root systems play in controlling soil ero-sion is needed. In this study, stratified runoff scouring at different soil depths in the field was conducted in a grassland area. The results in-dicated that both root biomass and soil wa-ter-stable aggregates decreased as soil depth increased at all three sites, while there was al-most no change in soil bulk density at 1.3g/cm3. Sediment yields under different runoff dis-charge at different sites showed similar trends, and the sediment yield increased as the soil depth increased at all three sites. Further analysis revealed that close relationships ex-isted between root biomass and the amount of water-stable aggregates and soil organic matter content, and that these factors greatly influ-enced soil erosion. Based on the data generated by the experiment, equations describing the relationship between sediment production at different soil depths and root biomass were determined.
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