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30 September 2023, Volume 15 Issue 9 Previous Issue   
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Review article
Review and prospect of soil compound erosion
YANG Wenqian, ZHANG Gangfeng, YANG Huimin, LIN Degen, SHI Peijun
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1007-1022.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0107-3
Abstract ( 20 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (1035KB) ( 10 )  

Soil erosion is one of the most serious environmental issues constraining the sustainable development of human society and economies. Soil compound erosion is the result of the alternation or interaction between two or more erosion forces. In recent years, fluctuations and extreme changes in climatic factors (air temperature, precipitation, wind speed, etc.) have led to an increase in the intensity and extent of compound erosion, which is increasingly considered in soil erosion research. First, depending on the involvement of gravity, compound erosion process can be divided into compound erosion with and without gravity. We systematically summarized the research on the mechanisms and processes of alternating or interacting soil erosion forces (wind, water, and freeze-thaw) considering different combinations, combed the characteristics of compound erosion in three typical regions, namely, high-elevation areas, high-latitude areas, and dry and wet transition regions, and reviewed soil compound erosion research methods, such as station observations, simulation experiments, prediction models, and artificial neural networks. The soil erosion model of wind, water, and freeze-thaw interaction is the most significant method for quantifying and predicting compound erosion. Furthermore, it is proposed that there are several issues such as unclear internal mechanisms, lack of comprehensive prediction models, and insufficient scale conversion methods in soil compound erosion research. It is also suggested that future soil compound erosion mechanism research should prioritize the coupling of compound erosion forces and climate change.

Research article
Projecting future precipitation change across the semi-arid Borana lowland, southern Ethiopia
Mitiku A WORKU, Gudina L FEYISA, Kassahun T BEKETIE, Emmanuel GARBOLINO
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1023-1036.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0063-y
Abstract ( 11 )   HTML ( 4 )     PDF (1928KB) ( 7 )  

Climate change caused by past, current, and future greenhouse gas emissions has become a major concern for scientists in the field in many countries and regions of the world. This study modelled future precipitation change by downscaling a set of large-scale climate predictor variables (predictors) from the second generation Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2) under two Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) in the semi-arid Borana lowland, southern Ethiopia. The Statistical DownScaling Model (SDSM) 4.2.9 was employed to downscale and project future precipitation change in the middle (2036-2065; 2050s) and far (2066-2095; 2080s) future at the local scale. Historical precipitation observations from eight meteorological stations stretching from 1981 to 1995 and 1996 to 2005 were used for the model calibration and validation, respectively, and the time period of 1981-2018 was considered and used as the baseline period to analyze future precipitation change. The results revealed that the surface-specific humidity and the geopotential height at 500 hPa were the preferred large-scale predictors. Compared to the middle future (2050s), precipitation showed a much greater increase in the far future (2080s) under both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios at all meteorological stations (except Teletele and Dillo stations). At Teltele station, the projected annual precipitation will decrease by 26.53% (2050s) and 39.45% (2080s) under RCP4.5 scenario, and 34.99% (2050s) and 60.62% (2080s) under RCP8.5 scenario. Seasonally, the main rainy period would shift from spring (March to May) to autumn (September to November) at Dehas, Dire, Moyale, and Teltele stations, but for Arero and Yabelo stations, spring would consistently receive more precipitation than autumn. It can be concluded that future precipitation in the semi-arid Borana lowland is predicted to differ under the two climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), showing an increasing trend at most meteorological stations. This information could be helpful for policymakers to design adaptation plans in water resources management, and we suggest that the government should give more attention to improve early warning systems in drought-prone areas by providing dependable climate forecast information as early as possible.

Evolution of groundwater recharge-discharge balance in the Turpan Basin of China during 1959-2021
QIN Guoqiang, WU Bin, DONG Xinguang, DU Mingliang, WANG Bo
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1037-1051.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0067-7
Abstract ( 29 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (3298KB) ( 16 )  

Groundwater overexploitation is a serious problem in the Turpan Basin, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, causing groundwater level declines and ecological and environmental problems such as the desiccation of karez wells and the shrinkage of lakes. Based on historical groundwater data and field survey data from 1959 to 2021, we comprehensively studied the evolution of groundwater recharge and discharge terms in the Turpan Basin using the groundwater equilibrium method, mathematical statistics, and GIS spatial analysis. The reasons for groundwater overexploitation were also discussed. The results indicated that groundwater recharge increased from 14.58×108 m3 in 1959 to 15.69×108 m3 in 1980, then continued to decrease to 6.77×108 m3 in 2021. Groundwater discharge increased from 14.49×108 m3 in 1959 to 16.02×108 m3 in 1989, while continued to decrease to 9.97×108 m3 in 2021. Since 1980, groundwater recharge-discharge balance has been broken, the decrease rate of groundwater recharge exceeded that of groundwater discharge and groundwater recharge was always lower than groundwater discharge, showing in a negative equilibrium, which caused the continuous decrease in groundwater level in the Turpan Basin. From 1980 to 2002, groundwater overexploitation increased rapidly, peaking from 2003 to 2011 with an average overexploitation rate of 4.79×108 m3/a; then, it slowed slightly from 2012 to 2021, and the cumulative groundwater overexploitation was 99.21×108 m3 during 1980-2021. This research can provide a scientific foundation for the restoration and sustainable use of groundwater in the overexploited areas of the Turpan Basin.

Environmental significance and hydrochemical characteristics of rivers in the western region of the Altay Mountains, China
LIU Shuangshuang, WANG Feiteng, XU Chunhai, WANG Lin, LI Huilin
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1052-1066.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0106-4
Abstract ( 17 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (2120KB) ( 14 )  

Analysis of environmental significance and hydrochemical characteristics of river water in mountainous regions is vital for ensuring water security. In this study, we collected a total of 164 water samples in the western region of the Altay Mountains, China, in 2021. We used principal component analysis and enrichment factor analysis to examine the chemical properties and spatiotemporal variations of major ions (including F-, Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, Li+, Na+, NH4+, K+, Mg2+, and Ca2+) present in river water, as well as to identify the factors influencing these variations. Additionally, we assessed the suitability of river water for drinking and irrigation purposes based on the total dissolved solids, soluble sodium percentage, sodium adsorption ratio, and total hardness. Results revealed that river water had an alkaline aquatic environment with a mean pH value of 8.00. The mean ion concentration was ranked as follows: Ca2+>SO42->Na+>NO3->Mg2+>K+>Cl->F->NH4+>Li+. Ca2+, SO42-, Na+, and NO3- occupied 83% of the total ion concentration. In addition, compared with other seasons, the spatial variation of the ion concentration in spring was obvious. An analysis of the sources of major ions revealed that these ions originated mainly from carbonate dissolution and silicate weathering. The recharge impact of precipitation and snowmelt merely influenced the concentration of Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, Ca2+, and Na+. Overall, river water was in pristine condition in terms of quality and was suitable for both irrigation and drinking. This study provides a scientific basis for sustainable management of water quality in rivers of the Altay Mountains.

Combination of artificial zeolite and microbial fertilizer to improve mining soils in an arid area of Inner Mongolia, China
LI Wenye, ZHANG Jianfeng, SONG Shuangshuang, LIANG Yao, SUN Baoping, WU Yi, MAO Xiao, LIN Yachao
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1067-1083.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0028-1
Abstract ( 11 )   HTML ( 4 )     PDF (4252KB) ( 4 )  

Restoration of mining soils is important to the vegetation and environment. This study aimed to explore the variations in soil nutrient contents, microbial abundance, and biomass under different gradients of substrate amendments in mining soils to select effective measures. Soil samples were collected from the Bayan Obo mining region in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Contents of soil organic matter (SOM), available nitrogen (AN), available phosphorus (AP), available potassium (AK), microbial biomass carbon/microbial biomass nitrogen (MBC/MBN) ratio, biomass, and bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes abundance were assessed in Agropyron cristatum L. Gaertn., Elymus dahuricus Turcz., and Medicago sativa L. soils with artificial zeolite (AZ) and microbial fertilizer (MF) applied at T0 (0 g/kg), T1 (5 g/kg), T2 (10 g/kg), and T3 (20 g/kg). Redundancy analysis (RDA) and technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) were used to identify the main factors controlling the variation of biomass. Results showed that chemical indices and microbial content of restored soils were far greater than those of control. The application of AZ significantly increases SOM, AN, and AP by 20.27%, 23.61%, and 40.43%, respectively. AZ significantly increased bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes abundance by 0.63, 3.12, and 1.93 times of control, respectively. RDA indicated that AN, MBC/MBN ratio, and SOM were dominant predictors for biomass across samples with AZ application, explaining 87.6% of the biomass variance. SOM, MBC/MBN ratio, and AK were dominant predictors with MF application, explaining 82.9% of the biomass variance. TOPSIS indicated that T2 was the best dosage and the three plant species could all be used to repair mining soils. AZ and MF application at T2 concentration in the mining soils with M. sativa was found to be the most appropriate measure.

Response of soil respiration to short-term changes in precipitation and nitrogen addition in a desert steppe
MA Jinpeng, PANG Danbo, HE Wenqiang, ZHANG Yaqi, WU Mengyao, LI Xuebin, CHEN Lin
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1084-1106.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0068-6
Abstract ( 12 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (7280KB) ( 7 )  

Changes in precipitation and nitrogen (N) addition may significantly affect the processes of soil carbon (C) cycle in terrestrial ecosystems, such as soil respiration. However, relatively few studies have investigated the effects of changes in precipitation and N addition on soil respiration in the upper soil layer in desert steppes. In this study, we conducted a control experiment that involved a field simulation from July 2020 to December 2021 in a desert steppe in Yanchi County, China. Specifically, we measured soil parameters including soil temperature, soil moisture, total nitrogen (TN), soil organic carbon (SOC), soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC), soil microbial biomass nitrogen (SMBN), and contents of soil microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, actinomyces, and protozoa, and determined the components of soil respiration including soil respiration with litter (RS+L), soil respiration without litter (RS), and litter respiration (RL) under short-term changes in precipitation (control, increased precipitation by 30%, and decreased precipitation by 30%) and N addition (0.0 and 10.0 g/(m2·a)) treatments. Our results indicated that short-term changes in precipitation and N addition had substantial positive effects on the contents of TN, SOC, and SMBC, as well as the contents of soil actinomyces and protozoa. In addition, N addition significantly enhanced the rates of RS+L and RS by 4.8% and 8.0% (P<0.05), respectively. The increase in precipitation markedly increased the rates of RS+L and RS by 2.3% (P<0.05) and 5.7% (P<0.001), respectively. The decrease in precipitation significantly increased the rates of RS+L and RS by 12.9% (P<0.05) and 23.4% (P<0.001), respectively. In contrast, short-term changes in precipitation and N addition had no significant effects on RL rate (P>0.05). The mean RL/RS+L value observed under all treatments was 27.63%, which suggested that RL is an important component of soil respiration in the desert steppe ecosystems. The results also showed that short-term changes in precipitation and N addition had significant interactive effects on the rates of RS+L, RS, and RL (P<0.001). In addition, soil temperature was the most important abiotic factor that affected the rates of RS+L, RS, and RL. Results of the correlation analysis demonstrated that the rates of RS+L, RS, and RL were closely related to soil temperature, soil moisture, TN, SOC, and the contents of soil microorganisms, and the structural equation model revealed that SOC and SMBC are the key factors influencing the rates of RS+L, RS, and RL. This study provides further insights into the characteristics of soil C emissions in desert steppe ecosystems in the context of climate change, which can be used as a reference for future related studies.

Leguminosae plants play a key role in affecting soil physical-chemical and biological properties during grassland succession after farmland abandonment in the Loess Plateau, China
SUN Lin, YU Zhouchang, TIAN Xingfang, ZHANG Ying, SHI Jiayi, FU Rong, LIANG Yujie, ZHANG Wei
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1107-1128.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0025-4
Abstract ( 8 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (1962KB) ( 8 )  

Leguminosae are an important part of terrestrial ecosystems and play a key role in promoting soil nutrient cycling and improving soil properties. However, plant composition and species diversity change rapidly during the process of succession, the effect of leguminosae on soil physical-chemical and biological properties is still unclear. This study investigated the changes in the composition of plant community, vegetation characteristics, soil physical-chemical properties, and soil biological properties on five former farmlands in China, which had been abandoned for 0, 5, 10, 18, and 30 a. Results showed that, with successional time, plant community developed from annual plants to perennial plants, the importance of Leguminosae and Asteraceae significantly increased and decreased, respectively, and the importance of grass increased and then decreased, having a maximum value after 5 a of abandonment. Plant diversity indices increased with successional time, and vegetation coverage and above- and below-ground biomass increased significantly with successional time after 5 a of abandonment. Compared with farmland, 30 a of abandonment significantly increased soil nutrient content, but total and available phosphorus decreased with successional time. Changes in plant community composition and vegetation characteristics not only change soil properties and improve soil physical-chemical properties, but also regulate soil biological activity, thus affecting soil nutrient cycling. Among these, Leguminosae have the greatest influence on soil properties, and their importance values and community composition are significantly correlated with soil properties. Therefore, this research provides more scientific guidance for selecting plant species to stabilize soil ecosystem of farmland to grassland in the Loess Plateau, China.

Effects of loading rate on root pullout performance of two plants in the eastern Loess Plateau, China
ZHANG Chaobo, LI Rong, JIANG Jing, YANG Qihong
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (9): 1129-1142.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0026-3
Abstract ( 9 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (1363KB) ( 3 )  

Root pullout performance of plants is an important mechanical basis for soil reinforcement by plant roots in the semi-arid areas. Studies have shown that it is affected by plant factors (species, ages, root geometry, etc.) and soil factors (soil types, soil moisture, soil bulk densities, etc.). However, the effects of loading rates on root pullout performance are not well studied. To explore the mechanical interactions under different loading rates, we conducted pullout tests on Medicago sativa L. and Hippophae rhamnoides L. roots under five loading rates, i.e., 5, 50, 100, 150, and 200 mm/min. In addition, tensile tests were conducted on the roots in diameters of 0.5-2.0 mm to compare the relationship between root tensile properties and root pullout properties. Results showed that two root failure modes, slippage and breakage, were observed during root pullout tests. All M. sativa roots were pulled out, while 72.2% of H. rhamnoides roots were broken. The maximum fracture diameter and fracture root length of H. rhamnoides were 1.22 mm and 7.44 cm under 100 mm/min loading rate, respectively. Root displacement values were 4.63% (±0.43%) and 8.91% (±0.52%) of the total root length for M. sativa and H. rhamnoides, respectively. The values of maximum pullout force were 14.6 (±0.7) and 17.7 (±1.8) N under 100 mm/min for M. sativa and H. rhamnoides, respectively. Values of the maximum pullout strength for M. sativa and H. rhamnoides were 38.38 (±5.48) MPa under 150 mm/min and 12.47 (±1.43) MPa under 100 mm/min, respectively. Root-soil friction coefficient under 100 mm/min was significantly larger than those under other loading rates for both the two species. Values of the maximum root pullout energy for M. sativa and H. rhamnoides were 87.83 (±21.55) mm·N under 100 mm/min and 173.53 (±38.53) mm·N under 200 mm/min, respectively. Root pullout force was significantly related to root diameter (P<0.01). Peak root pullout force was significantly affected by loading rates when the effect of root diameter was included (P<0.01), and vice versa. Except for the failure mode and peak pullout force, other pullout parameters, including root pullout strength, root displacement, root-soil friction coefficient, and root pullout energy were not significantly affected by loading rates (P>0.05). Root pullout strength was greater than root tensile strength for the two species. The results suggested that there was no need to deliberately control loading rate in root pullout tests in the semi-arid soil, and root pullout force and pullout strength could be better parameters for root reinforcement model compared with root tensile strength as root pullout force and pullout strength could more realistically reflect the working state of roots in the semi-arid soil.