Soil erosion and landslide triggered by heavy rainfall are serious problems that have threatened water resources in Taiwan watersheds. This study investigated the relationship among streamflow, sediment load, sediment concentration and typhoon characteristics (path and rainfall amount) during 2000-2017 for nine gauging stations in five basins (Tamshui River basin, Zhuoshui River basin, Zengwen River basin, Gaoping River basin, and Hualien River basin) representing the diverse geomorphologic conditions in Taiwan. The results showed that streamflow and sediment load were positively correlated, and the correlation was improved when the sediment load data were grouped by sediment concentration. Among these basins, the Zhuoshui River basin has the highest unit-discharge sediment load and unit-area sediment load. The soil in the upstream was more erodible than the downstream soil during the normal discharge conditions, indicating its unique geological characteristics and how typhoons magnified sediment export. The spatiotemporal variation in sediment loads from different watersheds was further categorized by typhoons of different paths. Although typhoon path types matter, the Zhuoshui and Hualien River basin were usually impacted by typhoons of any path type. The results indicated that sediment concentration, the watershed soil characteristics, and typhoons paths were the key factors for sediment loads. This study can be useful for developing strategies of soil and water conservation implementation for sustainable watershed management.
Keywords: sediment transport; soil erosion; typhoons; watershed management.