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10 August 2021, Volume 13 Issue 8 Previous Issue   
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Reducing water and nitrogen inputs combined with plastic mulched ridge-furrow irrigation improves soil water and salt status in arid saline areas, China
LI Cheng, WANG Qingsong, LUO Shuai, QUAN Hao, WANG Naijiang, LUO Xiaoqi, ZHANG Tibin, DING Dianyuan, DONG Qin'ge, FENG Hao
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 761-776.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0015-3
Abstract ( 37 )   HTML ( 18 )     PDF (710KB) ( 28 )  

Plastic mulched ridge-furrow irrigation is a useful method to improve crop productivity and decrease salt accumulation in arid saline areas. However, inappropriate irrigation and fertilizer practices may result in ecological and environmental problems. In order to improve the resource use efficiency in these areas, we investigated the effects of different irrigation amounts (400 (I1), 300 (I2) and 200 (I3) mm) and nitrogen application rates (300 (F1) and 150 (F2) kg N/hm2) on water consumption, salt variation and resource use efficiency of spring maize (Zea mays L.) in the Hetao Irrigation District (HID) of Northwest China in 2017 and 2018. Result showed that soil water contents were 0.2%-8.9% and 13.9%-18.1% lower for I2 and I3 than for I1, respectively, but that was slightly higher for F2 than for F1. Soil salt contents were 7.8%-23.5% and 48.5%-48.9% lower for I2 than for I1 and I3, but that was 1.6%-5.5% higher for F1 than for F2. Less salt leaching at the early growth stage (from sowing to six-leaf stage) and higher salt accumulation at the peak growth stage (from six-leaf to tasseling stage and from grain-filling to maturity stage) resulted in a higher soil salt content for I3 than for I1 and I2. Grain yields for I1 and I2 were significantly higher than that for I3 and irrigation water use efficiency for I2 was 14.7%-34.0% higher than that for I1. Compared with F1, F2 increased the partial factor productivity (PFP) of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 80%. PFP was not significantly different between I1F2 and I2F2, but significantly higher than those of other treatments. Considering the goal of saving water and nitrogen resources, and ensuring food security, we recommended the combination of I2F2 to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture in the HID and other similar arid saline areas.

Soil quality assessment in different dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the northern Loess Plateau, China
CHEN Shumin, JIN Zhao, ZHANG Jing, YANG Siqi
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 777-789.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0014-4
Abstract ( 29 )   HTML ( 12 )     PDF (1224KB) ( 12 )  

There are numerous valley farmlands on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP), where suffers from low soil quality and high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table and poor drainage system. Currently, research on the evolution processes and mechanisms of soil quality and salinization in these dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP is still inadequately understood. In this study, three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully areas of the northern CLP were selected, and the status of soil quality and the impact factors of soil salinization were examined. The dammed-valley farmlands include the new farmland created by the project of Gully Land Consolidation, the 60-a farmland created by sedimentation from check dam, and the 400-a farmland created by sedimentation from an ancient landslide-dammed lake. Results showed that (1) the newly created farmland had the lowest soil quality in terms of soil bulk density, porosity, soil organic carbon and total nitrogen among the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands; (2) soil salinization occurred in the middle and upper reaches of the new and 60-a valley farmlands, whereas no soil salinization was found in the 400-a valley farmland; and (3) soil salinization and low soil nutrient were determined to be the two important factors that impacted the soil quality of the valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the CLP. We conclude that the dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP have a high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table, alkalinity of the loessial soil and local landform feature, thus resulting in the low soil quality of the valley farmlands. Therefore, strengthening drainage and decreasing groundwater table are extremely important to improve the soil quality of the valley farmlands and guarantee the sustainable development of the valley agriculture on the CLP.

Diversity of cultivable endophytic bacteria associated with halophytes in Xinjiang of China and their plant beneficial traits
LI Li, GAO Lei, LIU Yonghong, FANG Baozhu, HUANG Yin, Osama A A MOHAMAD, Dilfuza EGAMBERDIEVA, LI Wenjun, MA Jinbiao
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 790-800.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0016-2
Abstract ( 19 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (550KB) ( 9 )  

Endophytic bacteria from halophytes have a wide range of application prospects in various fields, such as plant growth-promoting, biocontrol activity and stress resistance. The current study aimed to identify cultivable endophytic bacteria associated with halophytes grown in the salt-affected soil in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China and to evaluate their plant beneficial traits and enzyme-producing activity. Endophytic bacteria were isolated from Reaumuria soongorica (PalL Maxim.), Artemisia carvifolia (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb. Hort. Beng.), Peganum harmala L. and Suaeda dendroides (C. A. Mey. Moq.) by using the cultural-dependent method. Then we classified these bacteria based on the difference between their sequences of 16S rRNA (16S ribosomal RNA) gene. Results showed that the isolated bacteria from R. soongorica belonged to the genera Brucella, Bacillus and Variovorax. The bacteria from A. carvifolia belonged to the genera Micromonospora and Brucella. The bacteria from P. harmala belonged to the genera Paramesorhizobium, Bacillus and Peribacillus. The bacteria from S. dendroides belonged to the genus Bacillus. Notably, the genus Bacillus was detected in the three above plants, indicating that Bacillus is a common taxon of endophytic bacteria in halophytes. And, our results found that about 37.50% of the tested strains showed strong protease-producing activity, 6.25% of the tested strains showed strong cellulase-producing activity and 12.50% of the tested strains showed moderate lipase-producing activity. Besides, all isolated strains were positive for IAA (3-Indoleacetic acid) production, 31.25% of isolated strains exhibited a moderate phosphate solubilization activity and 50.00% of isolated strains exhibited a weak siderophore production activity. Our findings suggest that halophytes are valuable resources for identifying microbes with the ability to increase host plant growth and health in salt-affected soils.

Mathematical and statistical modeling of morphometric and planar parameters of barchans in Pashoeyeh Erg in the west of Lut Desert, Iran
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 801-813.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0102-5
Abstract ( 17 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (444KB) ( 15 )  

Barchan dunes are among the most common accumulative phenomena made by wind erosion, which are usually formed in regions where the prevailing wind direction is almost constant throughout the year and there is not enough sand to completely cover the land surface. Barchans are among the most common windy landscapes in Pashoueyeh Erg in the west of Lut Desert, Iran. This study aims to elaborate on morphological properties of barchans in this region using mathematical and statistical models. The results of these methods are very important in investigating barchan shapes and identifying their behavior. Barchan shapes were mathematically modeled by simulating them in the coordinate system through nonlinear parabolic equations, so that two separate equations were calculated for barchan windward and slip-face parabolas. The type and intensity of relationships between barchan morphology and mathematical parameters were determined by the statistical modeling. The results indicated that the existing relationships followed the power correlation with the maximum coefficient of determination and minimum error of estimate. Combining the above two methods is a powerful basis for stimulating barchans in virtual and laboratory environments. The most important result of this study is to convert the mathematical and statistical models of barchan morphology to each other. Focal length is one of the most important parameters of barchan parabolas, suggesting different states of barchans in comparison with each other. As the barchan's focal length decreases, its opening becomes narrower, and the divergence of the barchan's horns reduces. Barchans with longer focal length have greater width, dimensions, and volume. In general, identifying and estimating the morphometric and planar parameters of barchans is effective in how they move, how much they move, and how they behave in the environment. These cases play an important role in the management of desert areas.

Spatial-temporal variations of ecological vulnerability in the Tarim River Basin, Northwest China
BAI Jie, LI Junli, BAO Anmin, CHANG Cun
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 814-834.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0079-0
Abstract ( 16 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (4053KB) ( 25 )  

As the largest inland river basin of China, the Tarim River Basin (TRB), known for its various natural resources and fragile environment, has an increased risk of ecological crisis due to the intensive exploitation and utilization of water and land resources. Since the Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP), which was implemented in 2001 to save endangered desert vegetation, there has been growing evidence of ecological improvement in local regions, but few studies have performed a comprehensive ecological vulnerability assessment of the whole TRB. This study established an evaluation framework integrating the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and entropy method to estimate the ecological vulnerability of the TRB covering climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic indicators during 2000-2017. Based on the geographical detector model, the importance of ten driving factors on the spatial-temporal variations of ecological vulnerability was explored. The results showed that the ecosystem of the TRB was fragile, with more than half of the area (57.27%) dominated by very heavy and heavy grades of ecological vulnerability, and 28.40% of the area had potential and light grades of ecological vulnerability. The light grade of ecological vulnerability was distributed in the northern regions (Aksu River and Weigan River catchments) and western regions (Kashgar River and Yarkant River catchments), while the heavy grade was located in the southern regions (Kunlun Mountains and Qarqan River catchments) and the Mainstream catchment. The ecosystems in the western and northern regions were less vulnerable than those in the southern and eastern regions. From 2000 to 2017, the overall improvement in ecological vulnerability in the whole TRB showed that the areas with great ecological improvement increased by 46.11%, while the areas with ecological degradation decreased by 9.64%. The vegetation cover and potential evapotranspiration (PET) were the obvious driving factors, explaining 57.56% and 21.55% of the changes in ecological vulnerability across the TRB, respectively. In terms of ecological vulnerability grade changes, obvious spatial differences were observed in the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the TRB due to the different vegetation and hydrothermal conditions. The alpine source region of the TRB showed obvious ecological improvement due to increased precipitation and temperature, but the alpine meadow of the Kaidu River catchment in the Middle Tianshan Mountains experienced degradation associated with overgrazing and local drought. The improved agricultural management technologies had positive effects on farmland ecological improvement, while the desert vegetation in oasis-desert ecotones showed a decreasing trend as a result of cropland reclamation and intensive drought. The desert riparian vegetation in the lower reaches of the Tarim River was greatly improved due to the implementation of the EWDP, which has been active for tens of years. These results provide comprehensive knowledge about ecological processes and mechanisms in the whole TRB and help to develop environmental restoration measures based on different ecological vulnerability grades in each sub-catchment.

Synergistic effects of multiple driving factors on the runoff variations in the Yellow River Basin, China
WANG Junjie, SHI Bing, ZHAO Enjin, CHEN Xuguang, YANG Shaopeng
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 835-857.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0078-1
Abstract ( 15 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (8557KB) ( 8 )  

River runoff plays an important role in watershed ecosystems and human survival, and it is controlled by multiple environmental factors. However, the synergistic effects of various large-scale circulation factors and meteorological factors on the runoff on different time-frequency scales have rarely been explored. In light of this, the underlying mechanism of the synergistic effects of the different environmental factors on the runoff variations was investigated in the Yellow River Basin of China during the period 1950-2019 using the bivariate wavelet coherence (WTC) and multiple wavelet coherence (MWC) methods. First, the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) method was used to analyze the multiscale characteristics of the runoff. The results of the CWT indicate that the runoff exhibited significant continuous or discontinuous annual and semiannual oscillations during the study period. Scattered inter-annual time scales were also observed for the runoff in the Yellow River Basin. The meteorological factors better explained the runoff variations on seasonal and annual time scales. The average wavelet coherence (AWC) and the percent area of the significant coherence (PASC) between the runoff and individual meteorological factors were 0.454 and 19.89%, respectively. The circulation factors mainly regulated the runoff on the inter-annual and decadal time scales with more complicated phase relationships due to their indirect effects on the runoff. The AWC and PASC between the runoff and individual circulation factors were 0.359 and 7.31%, respectively. The MWC analysis revealed that the synergistic effects of multiple factors should be taken into consideration to explain the multiscale characteristic variations of the runoff. The AWC or MWC ranges were 0.320-0.560, 0.617-0.755, and 0.819-0.884 for the combinations of one, two, and three circulation and meteorological factors, respectively. The PASC ranges were 3.53%-33.77%, 12.93%-36.90%, and 20.67%-39.34% for the combinations one, two, and three driving factors, respectively. The combinations of precipitation, evapotranspiration (or the number of rainy days), and the Arctic Oscillation performed well in explaining the variability in the runoff on all time scales, and the average MWC and PASC were 0.847 and 28.79%, respectively. These findings are of great significance for improving our understanding of hydro-climate interactions and water resources prediction in the Yellow River Basin.

Spatiotemporal variations of evapotranspiration and reference crop water requirement over 1957-2016 in Iran based on CRU TS gridded dataset
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (8): 858-878.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0103-4
Abstract ( 17 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (6486KB) ( 13 )  

Agriculture needs to produce more food to feed the growing population in the 21st century. It makes the reference crop water requirement (WREQ) a major challenge especially in regions with limited water and high water demand. Iran, with large climatic variability, is experiencing a serious water crisis due to limited water resources and inefficient agriculture. In order to overcome the issue of uneven distribution of weather stations, gridded Climatic Research Unit (CRU) data was applied to analyze the changes in potential evapotranspiration (PET), effective precipitation (EFFPRE) and WREQ. Validation of data using in situ observation showed an acceptable performance of CRU in Iran. Changes in PET, EFFPRE and WREQ were analyzed in two 30-a periods 1957-1986 and 1987-2016. Comparing two periods showed an increase in PET and WREQ in regions extended from the southwest to northeast and a decrease in the southeast, more significant in summer and spring. However, EFFPRE decreased in the southeast, northeast, and northwest, especially in winter and spring. Analysis of annual trends revealed an upward trend in PET (14.32 mm/decade) and WREQ (25.50 mm/decade), but a downward trend in EFFPRE (-11.8 mm/decade) over the second period. Changes in PET, EFFPRE and WREQ in winter have the impact on the annual trend. Among climate variables, WREQ showed a significant correlation (r=0.59) with minimum temperature. The increase in WREQ and decrease in EFFPRE would exacerbate the agricultural water crisis in Iran. With all changes in PET and WREQ, immediate actions are needed to address the challenges in agriculture and adapt to the changing climate.