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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (11): 1142-1154    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0088-z
Research article     
Temporal and spatial variations of net primary productivity and its response to groundwater of a typical oasis in the Tarim Basin, China
SUN Lingxiao1,2, YU Yang1,2,3,4,*(), GAO Yuting1, ZHANG Haiyan1,2,4, YU Xiang1,2, HE Jing1,2, WANG Dagang1,2,3, Ireneusz MALIK1,4, Malgorzata WISTUBA1,4, YU Ruide1,2,4,5
1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Cele National Station of Observation and Research for Desert-Grassland Ecosystems, Cele 848300, China
4University of Silesia in Katowice, Institute of Earth Sciences, Polish-Chinese Centre for Environmental Research, Bankowa 12, 40-007 Katowice, Poland
5School of Environment and Material Engineering, Yantai University, Yantai 264005, China
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Net primary productivity (NPP) of the vegetation in an oasis can reflect the productivity capacity of a plant community under natural environmental conditions. Owing to the extreme arid climate conditions and scarce precipitation in the arid oasis regions, groundwater plays a key role in restricting the development of the vegetation. The Qira Oasis is located on the southern margin of the Taklimakan Desert (Tarim Basin, China) that is one of the most vulnerable regions regarding vegetation growth and water scarcity in the world. Based on remote sensing images of the Qira Oasis and daily meteorological data measured by the ground stations during the period 2006-2019, this study analyzed the temporal and spatial patterns of NPP in the oasis as well as its relation with the variation of groundwater depth using a modified Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach (CASA) model. At the spatial scale, NPP of the vegetation decreased from the interior of the Qira Oasis to the margin; at the temporal scale, NPP of the vegetation in the oasis fluctuated significantly (ranging from 29.80 to 50.07 g C/(m2•month)) but generally showed an increasing trend, with the average increase rate of 0.07 g C/(m2•month). The regions with decreasing NPP occupied 64% of the total area of the oasis. During the study period, NPP of both farmland and grassland showed an increasing trend, while that of forest showed a decreasing trend. The depth of groundwater was deep in the south of the oasis and shallow in the north, showing a gradual increasing trend from south to north. Groundwater, as one of the key factors in the surface change and evolution of the arid oasis, determines the succession direction of the vegetation in the Qira Oasis. With the increase of groundwater depth, grassland coverage and vegetation NPP decreased. During the period 2008-2015, with the recovery of groundwater level, NPP values of all types of vegetation with different coverages increased. This study will provide a scientific basis for the rational utilization and sustainable management of groundwater resources in the oasis.

Key wordsnet primary productivity      Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach      groundwater depth      land use      NDVI      Qira Oasis     
Received: 09 September 2021      Published: 10 November 2021
Corresponding Authors: YU Yang (E-mail:
Cite this article:

SUN Lingxiao, YU Yang, GAO Yuting, ZHANG Haiyan, YU Xiang, HE Jing, WANG Dagang, Ireneusz MALIK, Malgorzata WISTUBA, YU Ruide. Temporal and spatial variations of net primary productivity and its response to groundwater of a typical oasis in the Tarim Basin, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(11): 1142-1154.

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Fig. 1 Land use classification of the Qira Oasis
Fig. 2 Temporal and spatial distribution patterns of net primary productivity (NPP) in the Qira Oasis in June of 2006-2019 (a-o)
Fig. 3 Temporal variation of NPP in June of 2006-2019
Fig. 4 Spatial distribution of trend slope of NPP in June of 2006-2019 (a) as well as spatial distribution of difference of NPP between June 2006 and June 2019 (b)
Fig. 5 NPP variation trend for different land use types in June of 2006-2019
Fig. 6 Spatial distribution of groundwater depth in the Qira Oasis in June of 2008 (a), 2009 (b), 2010 (c), 2011 (d), 2014 (e), and 2015 (f)
Grassland type 2008 2009 2010
(g C/(m2•month))
(g C/(m2•month))
(g C/(m2•month))
High-coverage grassland 19.99 7.38 17.52 6.62 19.00 5.46
Medium-coverage grassland 15.31 8.93 12.43 7.47 16.25 6.73
Low-coverage grassland 13.46 12.61 10.39 14.84 15.30 11.82
Grassland type 2011 2014 2015
(g C/(m2•month))
(g C/(m2•month))
(g C/(m2•month))
GWD (m)
High-coverage grassland 23.77 7.67 25.85 9.76 23.45 6.42
Medium-coverage grassland 17.50 8.82 21.05 10.83 18.42 7.81
Low-coverage grassland 15.35 12.74 18.31 15.11 16.90 12.23
Table 1 Net primary productivity (NPP) and groundwater depth (GWP) of grassland with different coverages in the Qira Oasis in June of 2008-2015 (with exceptions of 2012 and 2013)
Fig. 7 Variations of NPP of the four different vegetation types and groundwater depth in June of 2008-2015
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