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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (4): 544-554    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0046-8
Research Articles     
Stand structure and height-diameter relationship of a degraded Populus euphratica forest in the lower reaches of the Tarim River, Northwest China
AISHAN Tayierjiang1,2, HALIK Ümüt1,2*, Florian BETZ2, TIYIP Tashpolat1, DING Jianli1, NUERMAIMAITI Yiliyasijiang1
1 Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, College of Resource & Environmental Sciences, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046, China;
2 Faculty of Geography and Mathematics, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Eichstaett 85071, Germany
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Abstract  Understanding stand structure and height-diameter relationship of trees provides very useful information to establish appropriate countermeasures for sustainable management of endangered forests. Populus euphratica, a dominant tree species along the Tarim River watershed, plays an irreplaceable role in the sustainable development of regional ecology, economy and society. However, as the result of climate changes and human activities, the natural riparian ecosystems within the whole river basin were degraded enormously, particularly in the lower reaches of the river where about 320 km of the riparian forests were either highly degraded or dead. In this study, we presented one of the main criteria for the assessment of vitality of P. euphratica forests by estimating the defoliation level, and analyzed forest structure and determined the height-diameter (height means the height of a tree and diameter means the diameter at breast height (DBH) of a tree) relationship of trees in different vitality classes (i.e. healthy, good, medium, senesced, dying, dead and fallen). Trees classified as healthy and good accounted for approximately 40% of all sample trees, while slightly and highly degraded trees took up nearly 60% of total sample trees. The values of TH (tree height) and DBH ranged from 0–19 m and 0–125 cm, respectively. Trees more than 15 m in TH and 60 cm in DBH appeared sporadically. Trees in different vitality classes had different distribution patterns. Healthy trees were mainly composed more of relatively younger trees than of degraded tress. The height-diameter relationships differed greatly among tress in different vitality classes, with the coefficients ranging from 0.1653 to 0.6942. Correlation coefficients of TH and DBH in healthy and good trees were higher than those in trees of other vitality classes. The correlation between TH and DBH decreased with the decline of tree vitality. Our results suggested that it might be able to differentiate degraded P. euphratica trees from healthy trees by determining the height-diameter correlation coefficient, and the coefficient would be a new parameter for detecting degradation and assessing sustainable management of floodplain forests in arid regions. In addition, tree vitality should be taken into account to make an accurate height-diameter model for tree height prediction.

Key wordsbiological soil crusts      soil nutrient      enzyme activity      soil microorganism      Loess Plateau     
Received: 03 December 2014      Published: 10 August 2015

This research was supported by International Science & Tech-nology Cooperation  Program of China (2010DFA92720-12), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31360200), the German Volkswagen Foundation EcoCAR Project (Az88497) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the SuMaRiO Project (01LL0918D).

Corresponding Authors: HALIK ümüt     E-mail:
Cite this article:

AISHAN Tayierjiang, HALIK ümüt, Florian BETZ, TIYIP Tashpolat, DING Jianli, NUERMAIMAITI Yiliyasijiang. Stand structure and height-diameter relationship of a degraded Populus euphratica forest in the lower reaches of the Tarim River, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(4): 544-554.

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