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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (5): 685-700    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0104-8
Orginal Article     
Spatio-temporal variation of soil moisture in a fixed dune at the southern edge of the Gurbantunggut Desert in Xinjiang, China
Hai ZHU1,2,3, Shunjun HU2,4, Jingsong YANG1,*(), KARAMAGE Fidele2,3,5, Hao LI2,3, Sihua FU2,3
1 State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Akesu National Station of Observation and Research for Oasis Agro-ecosystem, Aksu 843017, China
5 Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
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Soil moisture is critical for vegetation growth in deserts. However, detailed dataregarding the soil moisture distribution in space and time in the Gurbantunggut Desert have not yet been reported. In this study, we conducted a series ofinsitu observation experiments in a fixed sand dune at the southern edge of the GurbantunggutDesert from February 2014 to October 2016, to explore the spatio-temporal variation of soil moisture content, investigate the impact of Haloxylonammodendron (C. A. Mey.) Bungeon soil moisture content in its root zone, and examine the factors influencing the soil moisture spatial pattern. One-way analysis of variance,least significant difference testsand correlation analysis were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that the soil moisture content exhibited annual periodicity and the temporal variation of soil moisture content throughout a year could be divided into three periods, namely, a moisture-gaining period, a moisture-losing period and a moisture-stable period.According to the temporal and spatial variability, the 0-400 cm soil profile could be divided into two layers: an active layer with moderate variability and a stable layer with weak variability.The temporal variability was larger than the spatial variability in the active layer,and the mean profile soil moisture content at different slope positions displayed the trend of decreasing with increasing relative heightand mainly followed the order of interdunearea>westand east slopes>slope top.The mean profile soil moisture content in the root zone of dead H. ammodendronindividuals was significantly higher than that in the root zones of adult and young individuals, while the soil moisture content in the root zone of adult individuals was slightly higher than that in the root zone of young individuals with no significant difference.The spatial pattern of soil moisture was attributable to the combined effects of snowfall, vegetation and soil texture, whereas the effects of rainfall and evaporation were not significant. The findings may offer a foundation for the management of sandy soil moisture and vegetation restoration in arid areas.

Key wordsfixed sand dune      soil moisture      root zone      Haloxylonammodendron      Gurbantunggut Desert     
Received: 04 June 2018      Published: 10 October 2019
Corresponding Authors: Jingsong YANG     E-mail:
About author:

The first and second authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Hai ZHU, Shunjun HU, Jingsong YANG, KARAMAGE Fidele, Hao LI, Sihua FU. Spatio-temporal variation of soil moisture in a fixed dune at the southern edge of the Gurbantunggut Desert in Xinjiang, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(5): 685-700.

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