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Drought trend analysis in a semi-arid area of Iraq based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Normalized Difference Water Index and Standardized Precipitation Index
Ayad M F AL-QURAISHI, Heman A GAZNAYEE, Mattia CRESPI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (4): 413-430.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0062-9
Abstract334)   HTML31)    PDF (3359KB)(431)      

Drought was a severe recurring phenomenon in Iraq over the past two decades due to climate change despite the fact that Iraq has been one of the most water-rich countries in the Middle East in the past. The Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) is located in the north of Iraq, which has also suffered from extreme drought. In this study, the drought severity status in Sulaimaniyah Province, one of four provinces of the IKR, was investigated for the years from 1998 to 2017. Thus, Landsat time series dataset, including 40 images, were downloaded and used in this study. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) were utilized as spectral-based drought indices and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was employed as a meteorological-based drought index, to assess the drought severity and analyse the changes of vegetative cover and water bodies. The study area experienced precipitation deficiency and severe drought in 1999, 2000, 2008, 2009, and 2012. Study findings also revealed a drop in the vegetative cover by 33.3% in the year 2000. Furthermore, the most significant shrinkage in water bodies was observed in the Lake Darbandikhan (LDK), which lost 40.5% of its total surface area in 2009. The statistical analyses revealed that precipitation was significantly positively correlated with the SPI and the surface area of the LDK (correlation coefficients of 0.92 and 0.72, respectively). The relationship between SPI and NDVI-based vegetation cover was positive but not significant. Low precipitation did not always correspond to vegetative drought; the delay of the effect of precipitation on NDVI was one year.

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Changes in rainfall partitioning caused by the replacement of native dry forests of Lithraea molleoides by exotic plantations of Pinus elliottii in the dry Chaco mountain forests, central Argentina
Samia S CORTéS, Juan I WHITWORTH-HULSE, Eduardo L PIOVANO, Diego E GURVICH, Patricio N MAGLIANO
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 717-729.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0070-1
Abstract206)   HTML19)    PDF (440KB)(317)      

The replacement of native dry forests by commercial (exotic) tree plantations could generate changes in rainfall partitioning, which further affects the water cycle. In this study, we determined (i) the rainfall partitioning into interception, throughfall and stemflow, (ii) the role of rainfall event size on rainfall partitioning, (iii) the pH of water channelized as throughfall and stemflow, and (iv) the runoff in Lithraea molleoides (a native species) and Pinus elliottii (an exotic species) stands in the dry Chaco mountain forests, central Argentina. On average, interception, throughfall and stemflow accounted for 19.3%, 79.5% and 1.2% of the gross rainfall in L. molleoides stand, and 32.6%, 66.7% and 0.7% of the gross rainfall in P. elliottii stand, respectively. Amounts of interception, throughfall and stemflow presented positive linear relationships with the increment of rainfall event size for both tree species (P<0.01 in all cases). Percentages of interception, throughfall and stemflow were all related to the increment of rainfall event size, showing different patterns. With increasing rainfall event size, interception exponentially decreased, throughfall asymptotically increased and stemflow linearly increased. Both P. elliottii and L. molleoides stands presented significant differences in the pH values of water channelized as throughfall (6.3 vs. 6.7, respectively; P<0.01) and stemflow (4.5 vs. 5.8, respectively; P<0.01). Runoff occupied only 0.3% of the gross rainfall in P. elliottii stand and was zero in L. molleoides stand. Our results showed that the native species L. molleoides presented 13.6% more water reaching the topsoil (i.e., net rainfall; net rainfall=gross rainfall-interception-runoff) than the exotic species P. elliottii. This study improves our understanding of the effects of native vegetation replacement on the local water balance in the dry forest ecosystems.

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Vegetation dynamics of coal mining city in an arid desert region of Northwest China from 2000 to 2019
ZHOU Siyuan, DUAN Yufeng, ZHANG Yuxiu, GUO Jinjin
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (5): 534-547.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0007-3
Abstract199)   HTML12)    PDF (3342KB)(169)      

Coal mining has led to serious ecological damages in arid desert region of Northwest China. However, effects of climatic factor and mining activity on vegetation dynamics and plant diversity in this region remain unknown. Wuhai City located in the arid desert region of Northwest China is an industrial city and dominated by coal mining. Based on Landsat data and field investigation in Wuhai City, we analyzed the vegetation dynamics and the relationships with climate factors, coal mining activity and ecological restoration projects from 2000 to 2019. Results showed that vegetation in Wuhai City mostly consisted of desert plants, such as Caragana microphylla, Tetraena mongolica and Achnatherum splendens. And the vegetation fractional coverage (VFC) and greenness rate of change (GRC) showed that vegetation was slightly improved during the study period. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was positively correlated with annual mean precipitation, relative humidity and annual mean temperature, indicating that these climate factors might play important roles in the improved vegetation. Vegetation coverage and plant diversity around the coal mining area were reduced by coal mining, while the implementation of ecological restoration projects improved the vegetation coverage and plant diversity. Our results suggested that vegetation in the arid desert region was mainly affected by climate factors, and the implementation of ecological restoration projects could mitigate the impacts of coal mining on vegetation and ecological environment.

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Spatiotemporal variation in snow cover and its effects on grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau
SA Chula, MENG Fanhao, LUO Min, LI Chenhao, WANG Mulan, ADIYA Saruulzaya, BAO Yuhai
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (4): 332-349.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0056-7
Abstract171)   HTML17)    PDF (2744KB)(289)      

Snow cover is an important water source for vegetation growth in arid and semi-arid areas, and grassland phenology provides valuable information on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. The Mongolian Plateau features both abundant snow cover resources and typical grassland ecosystems. In recent years, with the intensification of global climate change, the snow cover on the Mongolian Plateau has changed correspondingly, with resulting effects on vegetation growth. In this study, using MOD10A1 snow cover data and MOD13A1 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data combined with remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques, we analyzed the spatiotemporal changes in snow cover and grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018. The correlation analysis and grey relation analysis were used to determine the influence of snow cover parameters (snow cover fraction (SCF), snow cover duration (SCD), snow cover onset date (SCOD), and snow cover end date (SCED)) on different types of grassland vegetation. The results showed wide snow cover areas, an early start time, a late end time, and a long duration of snow cover over the northern Mongolian Plateau. Additionally, a late start, an early end, and a short duration were observed for grassland phenology, but the southern area showed the opposite trend. The SCF decreased at an annual rate of 0.33%. The SCD was shortened at an annual rate of 0.57 d. The SCOD and SCED in more than half of the study area advanced at annual rates of 5.33 and 5.74 DOY (day of year), respectively. For grassland phenology, the start of the growing season (SOS) advanced at an annual rate of 0.03 DOY, the end of the growing season (EOS) was delayed at an annual rate of 0.14 DOY, and the length of the growing season (LOS) was prolonged at an annual rate of 0.17 d. The SCF, SCD, and SCED in the snow season were significantly positively correlated with the SOS and negatively correlated with the EOS and LOS. The SCOD was significantly negatively correlated with the SOS and positively correlated with the EOS and LOS. The SCD and SCF can directly affect the SOS of grassland vegetation, while the EOS and LOS were obviously influenced by the SCOD and SCED. This study provides a scientific basis for exploring the response trends of alpine vegetation to global climate change.

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Spatiotemporal changes in water, land use, and ecosystem services in Central Asia considering climate changes and human activities
YU Yang, CHEN Xi, Ireneusz MALIK, Malgorzata WISTUBA, CAO Yiguo, HOU Dongde, TA Zhijie, HE Jing, ZHANG Lingyun, YU Ruide, ZHANG Haiyan, SUN Lingxiao
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (9): 881-890.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0084-3
Abstract162)   HTML21)    PDF (472KB)(363)      

Central Asia is located in the hinterland of Eurasia, comprising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan; over 93.00% of the total area is dryland. Temperature rise and human activities have severe impacts on the fragile ecosystems. Since the 1970s, nearly half the great lakes in Central Asia have shrunk and rivers are drying rapidly owing to climate changes and human activities. Water shortage and ecological crisis have attracted extensive international attention. In general, ecosystem services in Central Asia are declining, particularly with respect to biodiversity, water, and soil conservation. Furthermore, the annual average temperature and annual precipitation in Central Asia increased by 0.30°C/decade and 6.9 mm/decade in recent decades, respectively. Temperature rise significantly affected glacier retreat in the Tianshan Mountains and Pamir Mountains, which may intensify water shortage in the 21st century. The increase in precipitation cannot counterbalance the aggravation of water shortage caused by the temperature rise and human activities in Central Asia. The population of Central Asia is growing gradually, and its economy is increasing steadily. Moreover, the agricultural land has not been expended in the last two decades. Thus, water and ecological crises, such as the Aral Sea shrinkage in the 21st century, cannot be attributed to agriculture extension any longer. Unbalanced regional development and water interception/transfer have led to the irrational exploitation of water resources in some watersheds, inducing downstream water shortage and ecological degradation. In addition, accelerated industrialization and urbanization have intensified this process. Therefore, all Central Asian countries must urgently reach a consensus and adopt common measures for water and ecological protection.

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Morphological characteristics and dynamic changes of seif dunes in the eastern margin of the Kumtagh Desert, China
PANG Yingjun, WU Bo, LI Yonghua, XIE Shengbo
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 887-902.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0099-1
Abstract146)   HTML5)    PDF (1113KB)(227)      

The seif dune field over the gravel desert surface in the eastern margin of the Kumtagh Desert is a valuable experimental site for the observation of dune formation and dynamics. We used high-resolution remote sensing and station observation approaches, combined with wind and grain size data, to study the characteristics of the aeolian environment and the morphologies of and dynamic changes in seif dunes. We observed the ratio of the resultant drift potential (RDP) to the drift potential (DP), which was 0.37, associated with an obtuse bimodal wind regime. The drift potentials in the west-northwest (WNW) and east-northeast (ENE) directions were dominant, and the angle between the two primary DP directions was 135.00°. The dune orientations ranged from 168.75°-213.75°, which were parallel to the resultant drift direction (186.15°). The dune lengths ranged from 51.68 to 1932.11 m with a mean value of 344.91 m. The spacings of the dunes ranged from 32.34 to 319.77 m with a mean value of 93.39 m. The mean grain size of the sediments became finer, and the sorting became better from upwind tail to downwind tip, which indicated that the sediment of the seif dunes in the study region may be transported from northward to southward. The rate of increase in the length, the mean longitudinal migration rate of the dune tail, and the mean longitudinal extension rate of the dune tip (also called elongation rate) were 4.93, 4.63, and 9.55 m/a, respectively. The mean lateral migration vector of the seif dunes was approximately 0.11 m/a towards the west (-0.11 m/a), while the mean amplitude of lateral migration was 0.53 m/a, ignoring the direction of lateral migration. We found that the seif dune field formed first beside seasonal rivers, which can provide sediment, and then expanded downwind.

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Assessing the effects of vegetation and precipitation on soil erosion in the Three-River Headwaters Region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China
HE Qian, DAI Xiao'ai, CHEN Shiqi
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 865-886.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0075-9
Abstract143)   HTML3)    PDF (2546KB)(524)      

Soil erosion in the Three-River Headwaters Region (TRHR) of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China has a significant impact on local economic development and ecological environment. Vegetation and precipitation are considered to be the main factors for the variation in soil erosion. However, it is a big challenge to analyze the impacts of precipitation and vegetation respectively as well as their combined effects on soil erosion from the pixel scale. To assess the influences of vegetation and precipitation on the variation of soil erosion from 2005 to 2015, we employed the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model to evaluate soil erosion in the TRHR, and then developed a method using the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index model (LMDI) which can exponentially decompose the influencing factors, to calculate the contribution values of the vegetation cover factor (C factor) and the rainfall erosivity factor (R factor) to the variation of soil erosion from the pixel scale. In general, soil erosion in the TRHR was alleviated from 2005 to 2015, of which about 54.95% of the area where soil erosion decreased was caused by the combined effects of the C factor and the R factor, and 41.31% was caused by the change in the R factor. There were relatively few areas with increased soil erosion modulus, of which 64.10% of the area where soil erosion increased was caused by the change in the C factor, and 23.88% was caused by the combined effects of the C factor and the R factor. Therefore, the combined effects of the C factor and the R factor were regarded as the main driving force for the decrease of soil erosion, while the C factor was the dominant factor for the increase of soil erosion. The area with decreased soil erosion caused by the C factor (12.10×103 km2) was larger than the area with increased soil erosion caused by the C factor (8.30×103 km2), which indicated that vegetation had a positive effect on soil erosion. This study generally put forward a new method for quantitative assessment of the impacts of the influencing factors on soil erosion, and also provided a scientific basis for the regional control of soil erosion.

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Endophytic bacteria associated with halophyte Seidlitzia rosmarinus Ehrenb. ex Boiss. from saline soil of Uzbekistan and their plant beneficial traits
Vyacheslav SHURIGIN, Dilfuza EGAMBERDIEVA, LI Li, Kakhramon DAVRANOV, Hovik PANOSYAN, Nils-Kåre BIRKELAND, Stephan WIRTH, Sonoko D BELLINGRATH-KIMURA
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 730-740.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0019-4
Abstract143)   HTML8)    PDF (423KB)(474)      

Endophytic bacteria of halophytic plants play essential roles in salt stress tolerance. Therefore, an understanding of the true nature of plant-microbe interactions under extreme conditions is essential. The current study aimed to identify cultivable endophytic bacteria associated with the roots and shoots of Seidlitzia rosmarinus Ehrenb. ex Boiss. grown in the salt-affected soil in Uzbekistan and to evaluate their plant beneficial traits related to plant growth stimulation and stress tolerance. Bacteria were isolated from the roots and the shoots of S. rosmarinus using culture-dependent techniques and identified by the 16S rRNA gene. RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) analysis was conducted to eliminate similar isolates. Results showed that the isolates from the roots of S. rosmarinus belonged to the genera Rothia, Kocuria, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Paenibacillus and Brevibacterium. The bacterial isolates from the shoots of S. rosmarinus belonged to the genera Staphylococcus, Rothia, Stenotrophomonas, Brevibacterium, Halomonas, Planococcus, Planomicrobium and Pseudomonas, which differed from those of the roots. Notably, Staphylococcus, Rothia and Brevibacterium were detected in both roots and shoots, indicating possible migration of some species from roots to shoots. The root-associated bacteria showed higher levels of IAA (indole-3-acetic acid) synthesis compared with those isolated from the shoots, as well as the higher production of ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate) deaminase. Our findings suggest that halophytic plants are valuable sources for the selection of microbes with a potential to improve plant fitness under saline soils.

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Spatiotemporal analysis of drought variability based on the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index in the Koshi River Basin, Nepal
Nirmal M DAHAL, XIONG Donghong, Nilhari NEUPANE, Belayneh YIGEZ, ZHANG Baojun, YUAN Yong, Saroj KOIRALA, LIU Lin, FANG Yiping
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (5): 433-454.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0065-6
Abstract139)   HTML26)    PDF (1086KB)(157)      

Drought is an inevitable condition with negative impacts in the agricultural and climatic sectors, especially in developing countries. This study attempts to examine the spatial and temporal characteristics of drought and its trends in the Koshi River Basin (KRB) in Nepal, using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) over the period from 1987 to 2017. The Mann-Kendall test was used to explore the trends of the SPEI values. The study illustrated the increasing annual and seasonal drought trends in the KRB over the study period. Spatially, the hill region of the KRB showed substantial increasing drought trends at the annual and seasonal scales, especially in summer and winter. The mountain region also showed a significant increasing drought trend in winter. The drought characteristic analysis indicated that the maximum duration, intensity, and severity of drought events were observed in the KRB after 2000. The Terai region presented the highest drought frequency and intensity, while the hill region presented the longest maximum drought duration. Moreover, the spatial extent of drought showed a significant increasing trend in the hill region at the monthly (drought station proportion of 7.6%/10a in August), seasonal (drought station proportion of 7.2%/10a in summer), and annual (drought station proportion of 6.7%/10a) scales. The findings of this study can assist local governments, planners, and project implementers in understanding drought and developing appropriate mitigation strategies to cope with its impacts.

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Source identification of nitrate in the upper aquifer system of the Wadi Shueib catchment area in Jordan based on stable isotope composition
Mutawakil OBEIDAT, Muheeb AWAWDEH, Noor AL-KHARABSHEH, Ahmad AL-AJLOUNI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (4): 350-374.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0055-8
Abstract136)   HTML8)    PDF (1114KB)(298)      

Groundwater forms the main freshwater supply in arid and semi-arid areas, and contamination of this precious resource is complicated by the slow rate of recharge in these areas. Nitrate contamination of groundwater is a global water quality problem, as it entails threat to human health as well as aquatic ecosystems. Source identification of contamination is the cornerstone and a prerequisite for any effective management program of water quality. Stable isotope composition of the dissolved nitrate (δ15N-NO3- and δ 18O-NO3-) has been applied to identify NO3- sources and the main transformation processes in the upper aquifer system (A1/2, A4, and B2/A7 aquifers) in the Wadi Shueib catchment area, Jordan. Moreover, the stable isotope compositions of the groundwater (δ2H-H2O and δ18O-H2O) in conjunction with the groundwater hydrochemistry were integrated to investigate the origin and evolution of the groundwater. Results revealed that groundwater in the study area is fresh and hard-very hard water, and mainly a Ca-Mg-Cl type. NO3- concentration was in the range of 7.0-74.0 mg/L with an average of 37.0 mg/L. Most of the samples showed concentration higher than the natural background concentration of NO3- (5.0-10.0 mg/L). The δ 2H-H2O and δ18O-H2O values indicated that the groundwater is meteoric, and of Mediterranean origin, with a strong evaporation effect. The δ15N-NO3- values ranged between 6.0‰ and 11.3‰ with an average of 8.7‰, and the δ18O-NO3- values ranged between 1.6‰ and 5.9‰ with an average of 3.4‰. These values are in conformity with the stable isotope composition of nitrate derived the nitrification of wastewater/manure, and soil NH4. Nitrification and denitrification are the main transformation processes affecting nitrogen species. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences in the δ2H-H2O and δ18O-H2O values, and δ15N-NO3- and δ 18O-NO3- values for the three aquifers (A1/2, A4, and B2/A7), indicating that the groundwater of these aquifers has the same origin, and a common source of pollution.

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Impacts of snow on seed germination are independent of seed traits and plant ecological characteristics in a temperate desert of Central Asia
Anlifeire ANNIWAER, SU Yangui, ZHOU Xiaobing, ZHANG Yuanming
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 775-790.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0059-9
Abstract136)   HTML4)    PDF (451KB)(424)      

Seed germination profoundly impacts plant community composition within the plant life cycle. Snow is an important source of water for seed germination in the temperate deserts of Central Asia. Understanding how seed germination responds to variations in snow cover in relation to seed traits and plant ecological characteristics can help predict plant community sustainability and stability in Central Asia under a scenario climate change. This study investigated the seed germination of 35 plant species common to the Gurbantunggut Desert in Central Asia under the three snow treatments: (1) snow addition; (2) ambient snow; and (3) snow removal. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were performed to assess interactions among the impacts of snow treatments, seed traits and plant ecological characteristics on seed germination. Phylogenetic generalized least-squares (PGLS) model was used to test the relationships between seed traits and seed germination. The results demonstrated that snow variations had no significant impacts on seed germination overall. Seed germination under the snow addition treatment was similar with that under the ambient snow treatment, irrespective of seed traits and plant ecological characteristics. Snow removal only had negative impacts on seed germination for certain groups of seed traits and plant ecological characteristics. Seed mass positively affected seed germination, showing a linear increase of arcsin square root-transformed seed germination with log-transformed seed mass. Seed shape also profoundly impacted seed germination, with a higher germination percentage for elongated and flat seeds. Seed germination differed under different plant life forms, with semi-shrub species showing a significantly higher germination percentage. Most importantly, although snow treatments, seed traits and plant ecological characteristics had no interactive effects on seed germination overall, some negative impacts from the snow removal treatment were detected when seeds were categorized on the basis of seed mass and shape. This result suggests that variations of snow cover may change plant community composition in this temperate desert due to their impacts on seed germination.

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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
Abstract132)   HTML26)    PDF (710KB)(107)      

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.

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Assessment of drought hazard, vulnerability and risk in Iran using GIS techniques
Esmail HEYDARI ALAMDARLOO, Hassan KHOSRAVI, Sahar NASABPOUR, Ahmad GHOLAMI
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 984-1000.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0096-4
Abstract130)   HTML12)    PDF (2750KB)(604)      

The drought has enormous adverse effects on agriculture, water resources and environment, and causes damages around the world. Drought risk assessment and prioritization of drought management can help decision makers and planners to manage the adverse effects of drought. This paper aims to determine the risk of drought in Iran. At the first stage, standardized precipitation index (SPI) was calculated for the period 1981-2016. Then the probability map of different drought classes or drought hazard probability map were prepared. After that the indicator-based vulnerability assessment method was used to determine the drought vulnerability index. Five indices including climate, topography, waterway density, land use and groundwater resources were chosen as the most critical factors of drought in Iran and followed by the analytical hierarchy process questionnaire, the weights of each index were obtained based on expert opinions. Fuzzy membership maps of each index and sub-index were prepared using ArcGIS software. The drought vulnerability map of Iran was plotted using these weights and maps of each indicator. Finally, the drought risk map of Iran was provided by multiplying drought hazard and vulnerability maps. According to the 43-completed questionnaires by experts, climate index has the highest vulnerability to drought. Climate does not have an important role in drought hazard index, but it is the most crucial factor to classified drought vulnerability index. The results showed that central, northeast, southeast and west parts of Iran are at high risks of drought. There are regions with different risks in Iran due to unusual weather and climatic conditions. We realized that the climate and the groundwater situation is almost the same in the central, east and south parts of Iran, because the land use plays a crucial role in the drought vulnerability and risk in these areas. The drought risk decreases from the center of Iran to the southwest and northwest.

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A study on historical location and evolution of Lop Nor in China with maps and DEM
ZHANG Tingting, SHAO Yun, GENG Yuyang, GONG Huaze, YANG Lan
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (6): 639-652.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0099-9
Abstract126)   HTML15)    PDF (2943KB)(248)      

Lop Sea, located at the east end of the Tarim Basin, Northwest China, dried up permanently, which is the terminal lake of the Tarim River. Lop Sea was considered as the lake basin of Lop Nor since Quaternary. However, the possibility that Lop Nor was away from the Lop Sea in historical time is crucial to be discussed to interpret the proxy records in sediment profiles. To obtain a general view of the evolution of Lop Nor and Lop Sea in a historical period, several approaches were adopted in this paper. First, the Qianlong Thirteen-Row Atlas, an ancient imperial atlas of the Qing Dynasty, which was completed around 1760, indicated that the Tarim River formed a relatively large lake at its modern upstream region. Second, a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with a 10-m spatial resolution and a relative precision of 0.42 m was derived from TanDEM-X/TerraSAR-X satellite image pairs using the interferometry method, which was verified using ICESat-GLAS laser footprints and a local DEM acquired by a drone. Finally, based on the spatial analysis of historical documents, expedition reports, sediment profiles and archaeological evidence, it can be deduced that the lacustrine deposition was discontinued in the Lop Sea. Six episodes in the evolutionary history of the drainage system in eastern Tarim Basin were summarized. The proved depositional condition variations could be used for future interpretation of proxy records in sediment. The high-accurate DEM provided a reference for the location of further fieldwork in the Lop Sea. The method proposed in this paper may be efficient for the research of inland lakes or rivers in global arid regions.

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Seasonal changes in the water-use strategies of three herbaceous species in a native desert steppe of Ningxia, China
HU Haiying, ZHU Lin, LI Huixia, XU Dongmei, XIE Yingzhong
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (2): 109-122.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0051-z
Abstract125)   HTML25)    PDF (1483KB)(574)      

Frequent periods of drought conditions are known to limit plant performance, primary production, and ecosystem stability in arid and semi-arid desert steppe environments. Plants often avoid competition by shifting their water use seasonally, which affects the water-use patterns of dominant species as well as the composition and structure of plant communities. However, the water-use strategies of dominant herbaceous species, which grow under natural field conditions in the desert steppe region of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China, are poorly known. Here, we explored the possible sources of water uptake and water-use efficiency (WUE) of three dominant herbaceous plant species (Stipa breviflora, Agropyron mongolicum, and Glycyrrhiza uralensis) in a native desert steppe in the semi-arid area of Ningxia through an analysis of multiple parameters, including (1) the stable isotopic oxygen and hydrogen (δ 18O and δ 2H) compositions of precipitation, soil water, and stem water, (2) the carbon isotope ( 13C) composition of leaves, and (3) the soil water contents, based on field sampling across varying water conditions from June to September, 2017. Frequent small precipitation events replenished shallow soil water, whereas large events only percolated down to the deep soil layers. Changes in soil water availability affected the water-use patterns of plants. Generally, during light precipitation periods, the deep root system of G. uralensis accessed deeper (>80 cm) soil water, whereas S. breviflora and A. mongolicum, which only have shallow roots, primarily absorbed water from the shallow and middle soil layers. As precipitation increased, all three plant species primarily obtained water from the shallow soil layers. Variation in soil water uptake between the dry and wet seasons enabled plants to make better use of existing satoil water. In addition, the δ 13C values of G. uralensis and S. breviflora were higher than those of A. mongolicum. The δ 13C values of the three plant species were significantly negatively correlated with soil water content. Therefore, G. uralensis and S. breviflora maintained a higher WUE through their conservative and water-saving strategies across the entire growing season. In contrast, A. mongolicum, with a relatively low WUE in the wet season but a high WUE in the dry season, exhibited a more flexible water-use strategy. The different water-use strategies of these dominant plant species demonstrated the mechanisms by which plant communities can respond to drought.

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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
Abstract119)   HTML18)    PDF (1224KB)(320)      

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.

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Glacier mass balance in High Mountain Asia inferred from a GRACE release-6 gravity solution for the period 2002-2016
XIANG Longwei, WANG Hansheng, JIANG Liming, SHEN Qiang, Holger STEFFEN, LI Zhen
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (3): 224-238.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0094-0
Abstract118)   HTML16)    PDF (1977KB)(173)      

We provide estimates of glacier mass changes in the High Mountain Asia (HMA) area from April 2002 to August 2016 by employing a new version of gravity solutions of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin-satellite mission. We found a total mass loss trend of the HMA glaciers at a rate of -22.17 (±1.96) Gt/a. The largest mass loss rates of -7.02 (±0.94) and -6.73 (±0.78) Gt/a are found for the glaciers in Nyainqentanglha Mountains and Eastern Himalayas, respectively. Although most glaciers in the HMA area show a mass loss, we find a small glacier mass gain of 1.19 (±0.55) and 0.77 (±0.37) Gt/a in Karakoram Mountains and West Kunlun Mountains, respectively. There is also a nearly zero mass balance in Pamirs. Our estimates of glacier mass change trends confirm previous results from the analysis of altimetry data of the ICESat (Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation) and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) DEM (Digital Elevation Model) satellites in most of the selected glacier areas. However, they largely differ to previous GRACE-based studies which we attribute to our different post-processing techniques of the newer GRACE data. In addition, we explicitly show regional mass change features for both the interannual glacier mass changes and the 14-a averaged seasonal glacier mass changes. These changes can be explained in parts by total net precipitation (net snowfall and net rainfall) and net snowfall, but mostly by total net radiation energy when compared to data from the ERA5-Land meteorological reanalysis. Moreover, nearly all the non-trend interannual mass changes and most seasonal mass changes can be explained by the total net radiation energy data. The mass loss trends could be partly related to a heat effect due to increased net rainfall in Tianshan Mountains, Qilian Mountains, Nyainqentanglha Mountains and Eastern Himalayas. Our new results for the glacier mass change in this study could help improve the understanding of glacier variation in the HMA area and contribute to the study of global change. They could also serve the utilization of water resources there and in neighboring areas.

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Plant community dynamics in arid lands: the role of desert ants
Mohsen SHARAFATMANDRAD, Azam KHOSRAVI MASHIZI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (3): 303-316.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0006-4
Abstract117)   HTML7)    PDF (499KB)(344)      

Ants (Formicidae, Hymenoptera) play an important role in seed bank, seedling establishment and plant composition of arid ecosystems. Thus, knowing plant-ant interaction provides useful information for managers to design restoration and conservation plans. In this study, the roles of desert harvester ants (Messor intermedius and Messor melancholicus) and scavenger ants (Cataglyphis nodus and Lepisiota semenovi) on plant communities were investigated in arid ecosystems of southeastern Iran. Two vegetation types were distinguished in the study area and the nest density of ant species was determined. Furthermore, plant composition and soil seed bank were estimated at different distances from the ant nests. Results showed that the density of M. intermedius and M. melancholicus nests was higher in dwarf shrub-shrub vegetation type and the density of C. nodus and L. semenovi nests was higher in dwarf shrub vegetation type. The harvester and scavenger ants had enhanced the seed bank to 55% and 70%, respectively. Therefore, the role of scavenger ants on the plant communities' seed bank was greater than that of harvester ants. Although the scavenger ants were more influential on the annuals and the invasive plant species, the radius impact of the harvester ants on the perennials was greater, i.e., a positive interaction existed between the perennial plants and the harvester ants. C. nodus and L. semenovi played an important role in enhancing the ecosystem's potential for restoration through establishment of pioneer species in early stage of succession. The activity of M. intermedius is crucial for the development and maintenance of climax plant communities in arid ecosystems through assisting the plant species' establishment in late stage of succession. It is essential to preserve the diversity of these key ant species for the maintenance and sustainability of shrubs in arid ecosystems.

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Effect of stones on the sand saltation threshold during natural sand and dust storms in a stony desert in Tsogt-Ovoo in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Batjargal BUYANTOGTOKH, Yasunori KUROSAKI, Atsushi TSUNEKAWA, Mitsuru TSUBO, Batdelger GANTSETSEG, Amarsaikhan DAVAADORJ, Masahide ISHIZUKA, Tsuyoshi T SEKIYAMA, Taichu Y TANAKA, Takashi MAKI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (7): 653-673.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0072-7
Abstract113)   HTML24)    PDF (2716KB)(174)      

Non-erodible elements such as stones and vegetation are key to controlling wind erosion and dust emission in drylands. Stony deserts are widely distributed in the Gobi Desert, but the effect of stones on wind erosion and dust emission have not been well studied, except under artificial conditions. In this study, we evaluated the effect of stones on wind erosion and dust emission by measuring the sand saltation threshold in a stony desert in Tsogt-Ovoo in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, under natural surface conditions during sand and dust storms. We quantified the amount of stones by measuring the roughness density, and determined the threshold friction velocity for sand saltation by measuring wind speed and sand saltation count. Our results showed that the threshold friction velocity increased with the roughness density of stones. In the northern part of the study area, where neither a surface crust nor vegetation was observed, the roughness density of stones was 0.000 in a topographic depression (TD), 0.050 on a northern slope (N.SL), and 0.160 on the northern mountain (N.MT). The mean threshold friction velocity values were 0.23, 0.41, and 0.57 m/s at the TD, N.SL, and N.MT sites, respectively. In the southern part of the study area, the roughness density values of stones were 0.000 and 0.070-0.320 at the TD and southern slope sites, respectively, and the mean threshold friction velocities were 0.23 and 0.45-0.71 m/s, respectively. We further compared the observed threshold friction velocities with simulated threshold friction velocities using Raupach's theoretical roughness correction and the measured roughness density values, and found that Raupach's roughness correction worked very well in the simulation of threshold friction velocity in the stony desert. This means that the results of our stone measurement can be applied to a numerical dust model.

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Development of a large-scale remote sensing ecological index in arid areas and its application in the Aral Sea Basin
WANG Jie, LIU Dongwei, MA Jiali, CHENG Yingnan, WANG Lixin
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (1): 40-55.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0052-y
Abstract113)   HTML16)    PDF (945KB)(665)      

The Aral Sea Basin in Central Asia is an important geographical environment unit in the center of Eurasia. It is of great significance to the ecological protection and sustainable development of Central Asia to carry out dynamic monitoring and effective evaluation of the eco-environmental quality of the Aral Sea Basin. In this study, the arid remote sensing ecological index (ARSEI) for large-scale arid areas was developed, which coupled the information of the greenness index, the salinity index, the humidity index, the heat index, and the land degradation index of arid areas. The ARSEI was used to monitor and evaluate the eco-environmental quality of the Aral Sea Basin from 2000 to 2019. The results show that the greenness index, the humidity index and the land degradation index had a positive impact on the quality of the ecological environment in the Aral Sea Basin, while the salinity index and the heat index exerted a negative impact on the quality of the ecological environment. The eco-environmental quality of the Aral Sea Basin demonstrated a trend of initial improvement, followed by deterioration, and finally further improvement. The spatial variation of these changes was significant. From 2000 to 2019, grassland and wasteland (saline alkali land and sandy land) in the central and western parts of the basin had the worst ecological environment quality. The areas with poor ecological environment quality are mainly distributed in rivers, wetlands, and cultivated land around lakes. During the period from 2000 to 2019, except for the surrounding areas of the Aral Sea, the ecological environment quality in other areas of the Aral Sea Basin has been improved in general. The correlation coefficients between the change in the eco-environmental quality and the heat index and between the change in the eco-environmental quality and the humidity index were -0.593 and 0.524, respectively. Climate conditions and human activities have led to different combinations of heat and humidity changes in the eco-environmental quality of the Aral Sea Basin. However, human activities had a greater impact. The ARSEI can quantitatively and intuitively reflect the scale and causes of large-scale and long-time period changes of the eco-environmental quality in arid areas; it is very suitable for the study of the eco-environmental quality in arid areas.

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Characteristics and hazards of different snow avalanche types in a continental snow climate region in the Central Tianshan Mountains
HAO Jiansheng, Richard MIND'JE, LIU Yang, HUANG Farong, ZHOU Hao, LI Lanhai
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (4): 317-331.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0058-5
Abstract112)   HTML14)    PDF (1653KB)(125)      

Snow avalanches are a common natural hazard in many countries with seasonally snow-covered mountains. The avalanche hazard varies with snow avalanche type in different snow climate regions and at different times. The ability to understand the characteristics of avalanche activity and hazards of different snow avalanche types is a prerequisite for improving avalanche disaster management in the mid-altitude region of the Central Tianshan Mountains. In this study, we collected data related to avalanche, snowpack, and meteorology during four snow seasons (from 2015 to 2019), and analysed the characteristics and hazards of different types of avalanches. The snow climate of the mid-altitude region of the Central Tianshan Mountains was examined using a snow climate classification scheme, and the results showed that the mountain range has a continental snow climate. To quantify the hazards of different types of avalanches and describe their situation over time in the continental snow climate region, this study used the avalanche hazard degree to assess the hazards of four types of avalanches, i.e., full-depth dry snow avalanches, full-depth wet snow avalanches, surface-layer dry snow avalanches, and surface-layer wet snow avalanches. The results indicated that surface-layer dry snow avalanches were characterized by large sizes and high release frequencies, which made them having the highest avalanche hazard degree in the Central Tianshan Mountains with a continental snow climate. The overall avalanche hazard showed a single peak pattern over time during the snow season, and the greatest hazard occurred in the second half of February when the snowpack was deep and the temperature increased. This study can help the disaster and emergency management departments rationally arrange avalanche relief resources and develop avalanche prevention strategies.

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Spatial and temporal gradients in the rate of dust deposition and aerosol optical thickness in southwestern Iran
Mansour A FOROUSHANI, Christian OPP, Michael GROLL
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (1): 1-22.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0079-5
Abstract111)   HTML13)    PDF (3411KB)(427)      

The southwestern Iran is one of the regions that are most prone to dust events. The objective of this study is the analysis of the spatial and temporal distributions of dust deposition rate as a key factor for finding the relative impact of the dust. First, the monthly mean aerosol optical thickness (AOT) from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) was analyzed and compared with the dust amount variations from ground deposition rate (GDR), and the results were further used to investigate the spatial and temporal distributions of dust events in southwestern Iran for the period between 2014 and 2015. Moving air mass trajectories, using the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, were proven to be a discriminator of their local and regional origin. The results from GDR analysis produced a correlation coefficient between dust event history and deposition rates at dust magnitudes of >0.93 that is meaningful at the 95% confidence level. Furthermore, the deposition rates varied from 3 g/m2 per month in summer to 10 g/m2 per month in spring and gave insight into the transport direction of the dust. Within the same time series, AOT correspondences with MODIS on Terra in four aerosol thickness layers (clean, thin, thick, and strong thick) were shown in relation to each other. The deepest mixed layers were observed in spring and summer with a thickness of approximately 3500 m above ground level in the study area. Investigations of ground-based observations were correlated with the same variations for each aerosol thickness layer from MODIS images and they can be applied to discriminate layers of aeolian dust from layers of other aerosols. Together, dust distribution plots from AOT participated to enhance mass calculations and estimation deposition rates from the thick and strong thick aerosol thickness layers using the results from GDR. Despite all the advances of AOT, under certain circumstances, ground-based observations are better able to represent aerosol conditions over the study area, which were tested in southwestern Iran, even though the low number of observations is a commonly acknowledged drawback of GDR.

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Corn straw return can increase labile soil organic carbon fractions and improve water-stable aggregates in Haplic Cambisol
Batande Sinovuyo NDZELU, DOU Sen, ZHANG Xiaowei
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 1018-1030.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0024-7
Abstract109)   HTML4)    PDF (311KB)(368)      

Corn straw return to the field is a vital agronomic practice for increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) and its labile fractions, as well as soil aggregates and organic carbon (OC) associated with water-stable aggregates (WSA). Moreover, the labile SOC fractions play an important role in OC turnover and sequestration. The aims of this study were to determine how different corn straw returning modes affect the contents of labile SOC fractions and OC associated with WSA. Corn straw was returned in the following depths: (1) on undisturbed soil surface (NTS), (2) in the 0-10 cm soil depth (MTS), (3) in the 0-20 cm soil depth (CTS), and (4) no corn straw applied (CK). After five years (2014-2018), soil was sampled in the 0-20 and 20-40 cm depths to measure the water-extractable organic C (WEOC), permanganate oxidizable C (KMnO4-C), light fraction organic C (LFOC), and WSA fractions. The results showed that compared with CK, corn straw amended soils (NTS, MTS and CTS) increased SOC content by 11.55%-16.58%, WEOC by 41.38%-51.42%, KMnO4-C and LFOC by 29.84%-34.09% and 56.68%-65.36% in the 0-40 cm soil depth. The LFOC and KMnO4-C were proved to be the most sensitive fractions to different corn straw returning modes. Compared with CK, soils amended with corn straw increased mean weight diameter by 24.24%-40.48% in the 0-20 cm soil depth. The NTS and MTS preserved more than 60.00% of OC in macro-aggregates compared with CK. No significant difference was found in corn yield across all corn straw returning modes throughout the study period, indicating that adoption of NTS and MTS would increase SOC content and improve soil structure, and would not decline crop production.

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Quantification of groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration along a semi-arid wetland transect using diurnal water table fluctuations
JIA Wuhui, YIN Lihe, ZHANG Maosheng, ZHANG Xinxin, ZHANG Jun, TANG Xiaoping, DONG Jiaqiu
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (5): 455-469.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0100-7
Abstract109)   HTML8)    PDF (1571KB)(106)      

Groundwater is a vital water resource in arid and semi-arid areas. Diurnal groundwater table fluctuations are widely used to quantify rainfall recharge and groundwater evapotranspiration (ETg). To assess groundwater resources for sustainable use, we estimated groundwater recharge and ETg using the diurnal water table fluctuations at three sites along a section with different depths to water table (DWT) within a wetland of the Mukai Lake in the Ordos Plateau, Northwest China. The water table level was monitored at an hourly resolution using a Keller DCX-22A data logger that measured both the total pressure and barometric pressure, so that the effect of barometric pressure could be removed. At this study site, a rapid water table response to rainfall was observed in two shallow wells (i.e., Obs1 and Obs2), at which diurnal water table fluctuations were also observed over the study period during rainless days, indicating that the main factors influencing water table variation are rainfall and ETg. However, at the deep-water table site (Obs3), the groundwater level only reacted to the heaviest rainfalls and showed no diurnal variations. Groundwater recharge and ETg were quantified for the entire hydrological year (June 2017-June 2018) using the water table fluctuation method and the Loheide method, respectively, with depth-dependent specific yields. The results show that the total annual groundwater recharge was approximately 207 mm, accounting for 52% of rainfall at Obs1, while groundwater recharge was approximately 250 and 21 mm at Obs2 and Obs3, accounting for 63% and 5% of rainfall, respectively. In addition, the rates of groundwater recharge were mainly determined by rainfall intensity and DWT. The daily mean ETg at Obs1 and Obs2 over the study period was 4.3 and 2.5 mm, respectively, and the main determining factors were DWT and net radiation.

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Mapping the current and future distributions of Onosma species endemic to Iran
Farzaneh KHAJOEI NASAB, Ahmadreza MEHRABIAN, Hossein MOSTAFAVI
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 1031-1045.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0080-z
Abstract108)   HTML6)    PDF (1859KB)(266)      

Climate change may cause shifts in the natural range of species especially for those that are geographically restricted and/or endemic species. In this study, the spatial distribution of five endemic and threatened species belonging to the genus Onosma (including O. asperrima, O. bisotunensis, O. kotschyi, O. platyphylla, and O. straussii) was investigated under present and future climate change scenarios: RCP2.6 (RCP, representative concentration pathway; optimistic scenario) and RCP8.5 (pessimistic scenario) for the years 2050 and 2080 in Iran. Analysis was conducted using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model to provide a basis for the protection and conservation of these species. Seven environmental variables including aspect, depth of soil, silt content, slope, annual precipitation, minimum temperature of the coldest month, and annual temperature range were used as main predictors in this study. The model output for the potential habitat suitability of the studied species showed acceptable performance for all species (i.e., the area under the curve (AUC)>0.800). According to the models generated by MaxEnt, the potential current patterns of the species were consistent with the observed areas of distributions. The projected climate maps under optimistic and pessimistic scenarios (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively) of 2050 and 2080 resulted in reductions and expansions as well as positive range changes for all species in comparison to their current predicted distributions. Among all species, O. bisotunensis showed the most significant and highest increase under the pessimistic scenario of 2050 and 2080. Finally, the results of this study revealed that the studied plant species have shown an acute adaptability to environmental changes. The results can provide useful information to managers to apply appropriate strategies for the management and conservation of these valuable Iranian medicinal and threatened plant species in the future.

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Germination strategies of annual and short-lived perennial species in the Arabian Desert
Arvind BHATT, David J GALLACHER, Paulo R M SOUZA-FILHO
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 1071-1082.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0023-8
Abstract108)   HTML3)    PDF (329KB)(272)      

Germination timing is highly regulated in short-lived plant species since it strongly influences recruitment success of vegetation. In deserts, the spatiotemporal distribution of plant-available water is highly episodic and unpredictable, making winter months more favorable for seed germination when other abiotic conditions co-occur. We hypothesized that changes in photoperiod and thermoperiod would impact germination more in seeds that had undergone in situ storage. We assessed 21 annual and short-lived perennial species in the Arabian Desert to find (1) if seeds were dormant at maturity, (2) if in situ seed storage increased germination percentage compared with no storage, (3) if photoperiod and thermoperiod germination requirements were influenced by in situ storage, and (4) if a phylogenetic association in seed germination could be observed. Seeds of each species collected in early 2017 were divided into two batches. One was tested for germination within one week (fresh seeds). The other was stored in situ at the maternal location (stored seeds) until October 2017 and tested for seed germination in the first week of November. Seed germination was conducted in incubators at two thermoperiods (15°C/20°C and 20°C/30°C; 12 h/12 h), and two photoperiods (12 and 0 h light per day). Results indicated that seed germination percentages of 13 species were significantly enhanced by in situ storage. A thermoperiod response was exhibited by stored, but not fresh seeds. Light exposure increased germination of fresh seeds but had only a minimal effect on stored seeds. Germination traits exhibited no phylogenetic correlation. This result indicated that selection pressure for germination strategy was stronger than that for taxonomic traits of these desert species.

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Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China
WU Jun, DENG Guoning, ZHOU Dongmei, ZHU Xiaoyan, MA Jing, CEN Guozhang, JIN Yinli, ZHANG Jun
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (7): 674-687.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0074-5
Abstract107)   HTML13)    PDF (1186KB)(121)      

Water resources are a crucial factor that determines the health of ecosystems and socio-economic development; however, they are under threat due to climate change and human activities. The quantitative assessment of water resources using the concept of blue water and green water can improve regional water resources management. In this study, spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water were simulated and analyzed under scenarios of climate change and land-use changes using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China, between 2009 and 2014. Green water, a leading component of water resources, accounted for more than 69.00% of the total water resources in Ningxia. Blue water and green water showed a single peak trend on the monthly and annual scales during the study period. On the spatial scale, the southern region of Ningxia showed higher blue water and green water resources than the northern region. The spatiotemporal distribution features of blue water, green water, and green water flow had strong correlations with precipitation. Furthermore, the simulation identified the climate change in Ningxia to be more influential on blue water and green water than land-use changes. This study provides a specific scientific foundation to manage water resources in Ningxia when encountered with climate change together with human activities.

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Mathematical and statistical modeling of morphometric and planar parameters of barchans in Pashoeyeh Erg in the west of Lut Desert, Iran
Hossein GHAZANFARPOUR, Mohsen POURKHOSRAVANI, Sayed H MOUSAVI, Ali MEHRABI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 801-813.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0102-5
Abstract106)   HTML10)    PDF (444KB)(86)      

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.

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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
Abstract104)   HTML13)    PDF (8557KB)(60)      

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.

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Precipitation forecasting by large-scale climate indices and machine learning techniques
Mehdi GHOLAMI ROSTAM, Seyyed Javad SADATINEJAD, Arash MALEKIAN
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 854-864.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0097-3
Abstract102)   HTML6)    PDF (406KB)(269)      

Global warming is one of the most complicated challenges of our time causing considerable tension on our societies and on the environment. The impacts of global warming are felt unprecedentedly in a wide variety of ways from shifting weather patterns that threatens food production, to rising sea levels that deteriorates the risk of catastrophic flooding. Among all aspects related to global warming, there is a growing concern on water resource management. This field is targeted at preventing future water crisis threatening human beings. The very first stage in such management is to recognize the prospective climate parameters influencing the future water resource conditions. Numerous prediction models, methods and tools, in this case, have been developed and applied so far. In line with trend, the current study intends to compare three optimization algorithms on the platform of a multilayer perceptron (MLP) network to explore any meaningful connection between large-scale climate indices (LSCIs) and precipitation in the capital of Iran, a country which is located in an arid and semi-arid region and suffers from severe water scarcity caused by mismanagement over years and intensified by global warming. This situation has propelled a great deal of population to immigrate towards more developed cities within the country especially towards Tehran. Therefore, the current and future environmental conditions of this city especially its water supply conditions are of great importance. To tackle this complication an outlook for the future precipitation should be provided and appropriate forecasting trajectories compatible with this region's characteristics should be developed. To this end, the present study investigates three training methods namely backpropagation (BP), genetic algorithms (GAs), and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithms on a MLP platform. Two frameworks distinguished by their input compositions are denoted in this study: Concurrent Model Framework (CMF) and Integrated Model Framework (IMF). Through these two frameworks, 13 cases are generated: 12 cases within CMF, each of which contains all selected LSCIs in the same lead-times, and one case within IMF that is constituted from the combination of the most correlated LSCIs with Tehran precipitation in each lead-time. Following the evaluation of all model performances through related statistical tests, Taylor diagram is implemented to make comparison among the final selected models in all three optimization algorithms, the best of which is found to be MLP-PSO in IMF.

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Rapid loss of leguminous species in the semi-arid grasslands of northern China under climate change and mowing from 1982 to 2011
XU Bo, HUGJILTU Minggagud, BAOYIN Taogetao, ZHONG Yankai, BAO Qinghai, ZHOU Yanlin, LIU Zhiying
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 752-765.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0022-9
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Effects of mowing on the composition and diversity of grasslands varied with climate change (e.g., precipitation and temperature). However, the interactive effects of long-term mowing and climate change on the diversity and stability of leguminous and non-leguminous species in the semi-arid grasslands are largely unknown. Here, we used in situ monitoring data from 1982 to 2011 to examine the effects of continuous mowing and climate change on the plant biomass and diversity of leguminous and non-leguminous species, and soil total nitrogen in the typical semi-arid grasslands of northern China. Results showed that the biomass and diversity of leguminous species significantly decreased with the increasing in the biomass and diversity of non-leguminous species during the 30-a period. Variations in biomass were mainly affected by the long-term mowing, while variations in diversity were mainly explained by the climate change. Moreover, the normalized change rates of diversity in leguminous species were significantly higher than those in non-leguminous species. Mowing and temperature together contributed to the diversity changes of leguminous species, with mowing accounting for 50.0% and temperature 28.0%. Temporal stability of leguminous species was substantially lower than that of non-leguminous species. Consequently, soil total nitrogen decreased in the 2000s compared with the 1980s. These findings demonstrated that leguminous species were more sensitive to the long-term mowing and climate change than non-leguminous species in the semi-arid grasslands. Thus, reseeding appropriate leguminous plants when mowing in the semi-arid grasslands may be a better strategy to improve nitrogen levels of grassland ecosystems and maintain ecosystem biodiversity.

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Potential responses of vegetation to atmospheric aerosols in arid and semi-arid regions of Asia
JIAO Linlin, WANG Xunming, CAI Diwen, HUA Ting
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (5): 516-533.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0005-5
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Changes in atmospheric aerosols have profound effects on ecosystem productivity, vegetation growth and activity by directly and indirectly influencing climate and environment conditions. However, few studies have focused on the effects of atmospheric aerosols on vegetation growth and activity in the vulnerable arid and semi-arid regions, which are also the source areas of aerosols. Using the datasets of aerosol optical depth (AOD), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and multiple climatic variables including photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), surface solar radiation (SSR), surface air temperature (TEM) and total precipitation (PRE), we analyzed the potential responses of vegetation activity to atmospheric aerosols and their associated climatic factors in arid and semi-arid regions of Asia from 2005 to 2015. Our results suggested that areas with decreasing growing-season NDVI were mainly observed in regions with relatively sparse vegetation coverage, while AOD tended to increase as NDVI decreased in these regions. Upon further analysis, we found that aerosols might exert a negative influence on vegetation activity by reducing SSR, PAR and TEM, as well as suppressing PRE in most arid and semi-arid regions of Asia. Moreover, the responses of atmospheric aerosols on vegetation activity varied among different growing stages. At the early growing stage, higher concentration of aerosol was accompanied with suppressed vegetation growth by enhancing cooling effects and reducing SSR and PAR. At the middle growing stage, aerosols tended to alter microphysical properties of clouds with suppressed PRE, thereby restricting vegetation growth. At the late growing stage, aerosols exerted significantly positive influences on vegetation activity by increasing SSR, PAR and TEM in regions with high anthropogenic aerosols. Overall, at different growing stages, aerosols could influence vegetation activity by changing different climatic factors including SSR, PAR, TEM and PRE in arid and semi-arid regions of Asia. This study not only clarifies the impacts of aerosols on vegetation activity in source areas, but also explains the roles of aerosols in climate.

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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
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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.

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Enhancement of freshwater production of the seawater greenhouse condenser
Tahani K BAIT SUWAILAM, Abdulrahim M AL-ISMAILI, Nasser A AL-AZRI, L H Janitha JEEWANTHA, Hemesiri KOTAGAMA
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (4): 397-412.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0063-8
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Seawater greenhouse (SWGH) is a technology established to overcome issues related to open field cultivation in arid areas, such as the high ambient temperature and the shortage of freshwater. It adopts the humidification-dehumidification concept where evaporated moisture from a saline water source is condensed to produce freshwater within the greenhouse body. Various condenser designs are adopted to increase freshwater production in order to meet the irrigation demand. The aim of this study was to experimentally investigate the practicality of using the packed-type direct contact condenser in the SWGH to produce more freshwater at low costs, simple design and high efficiency, and to explore the impact of the manipulating six operational variables (inlet air temperature of the humidifier, air mass flowrate of the humidifier, inlet water temperature of the humidifier, water mass flowrate of the humidifier, inlet water temperature of the dehumidifier and water mass flowrate of the dehumidifier) on freshwater condensation rate. For this purpose, a direct contact condenser was designed and manufactured. Sixty-four full factorial experiments were conducted to study the effect of the six operational variables. Each variable was operated at two levels (high and low flowrate), and each experiment lasted for 10 min and followed by a 30-min waiting time. Results showed that freshwater production varied between 0.257 and 2.590 L for every 10 min. When using Minitab statistical software to investigate the significant variables that contributed to the maximum freshwater production, it was found that the inlet air temperature of the humidifier had the greatest influence, followed by the inlet water temperature of the humidifier; the former had a negative impact while the latter had a positive impact on freshwater production. The response optimizer tool revealed that the optimal combination of variables contributed to maximize freshwater production when all variables were in the high mode and the inlet air temperature of the humidifier was in the low mode. The comparison between the old plastic condenser and the new proposed direct contact condenser showed that the latter can produce 75.9 times more freshwater at the same condenser volume.

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Degradation leads to dramatic decrease in topsoil but not subsoil root biomass in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau, China
ZHANG Zhenchao, LIU Miao, SUN Jian, WEI Tianxing
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 806-818.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0074-x
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Understanding the effects of degradation on belowground biomass (BGB) is essential for assessment of carbon budget of the alpine meadow ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau, China. This ecosystem has been undergoing serious degradation owing to climate change and anthropogenic activities. This study examined the response of the vertical distribution of plant BGB to degradation and explored the underlying mechanisms in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. A field survey was conducted in an alpine meadow with seven sequential degrees of degradation in the Zoige Plateau on the Tibetan Plateau during the peak growing season of 2018. We measured aboveground biomass (AGB), BGB, soil water content (SWC), soil bulk density (SBD), soil compaction (SCOM), soil organic carbon (SOC), soil total nitrogen (STN), soil total phosphorus (STP), soil available nitrogen (SAN), and soil available phosphorus (STP) in the 0-30 cm soil layers. Our results show that degradation dramatically decreased the BGB in the 0-10 cm soil layer (BGB0-10) but slightly increased the subsoil BGB. The main reason may be that the physical-chemical properties of surface soil were more sensitive to degradation than those of subsoil, as indicated by the remarked positive associations of the trade-off value of BGB0-10 with SWC, SCOM, SOC, STN, SAN, and STP, as well as the negative correlation between the trade-off value of BGB0-10 and SBD in the soil layer of 0-10 cm. In addition, an increase in the proportion of forbs with increasing degradation degree directly affected the BGB vertical distribution. The findings suggest that the decrease in the trade-off value of BGB0-10 in response to degradation might be an adaptive strategy for the degradation-induced drought and infertile soil conditions. This study can provide theoretical support for assessing the effects of degradation on the carbon budget and sustainable development in the alpine meadow ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau as well as other similar ecosystems in the world.

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Plant cover as an estimator of above-ground biomass in semi-arid woody vegetation in Northeast Patagonia, Argentina
Laura B RODRIGUEZ, Silvia S TORRES ROBLES, Marcelo F ARTURI, Juan M ZEBERIO, Andrés C H GRAND, Néstor I GASPARRI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (9): 918-933.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0083-4
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The quantification of carbon storage in vegetation biomass is a crucial factor in the estimation and mitigation of CO2 emissions. Globally, arid and semi-arid regions are considered an important carbon sink. However, they have received limited attention and, therefore, it should be a priority to develop tools to quantify biomass at the local and regional scales. Individual plant variables, such as stem diameter and crown area, were reported to be good predictors of individual plant weight. Stand-level variables, such as plant cover and mean height, are also easy-to-measure estimators of above-ground biomass (AGB) in dry regions. In this study, we estimated the AGB in semi-arid woody vegetation in Northeast Patagonia, Argentina. We evaluated whether the AGB at the stand level can be estimated based on plant cover and to what extent the estimation accuracy can be improved by the inclusion of other field-measured structure variables. We also evaluated whether remote sensing technologies can be used to reliably estimate and map the regional mean biomass. For this purpose, we analyzed the relationships between field-measured woody vegetation structure variables and AGB as well as LANDSAT TM-derived variables. We obtained a model-based ratio estimate of regional mean AGB and its standard error. Total plant cover allowed us to obtain a reliable estimation of local AGB, and no better fit was attained by the inclusion of other structure variables. The stand-level plant cover ranged between 18.7% and 95.2% and AGB between about 2.0 and 70.8 Mg/hm2. AGB based on total plant cover was well estimated from LANDSAT TM bands 2 and 3, which facilitated a model-based ratio estimate of the regional mean AGB (approximately 12.0 Mg/hm2) and its sampling error (about 30.0%). The mean AGB of woody vegetation can greatly contribute to carbon storage in semi-arid lands. Thus, plant cover estimation by remote sensing images could be used to obtain regional estimates and map biomass, as well as to assess and monitor the impact of land-use change on the carbon balance, for arid and semi-arid regions.

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Ecosystem service values of gardens in the Yellow River Basin, China
GE Qianqian, XU Wenjie, FU Meichen, HAN Yingxin, AN Guoqiang, XU Yuetong
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 284-296.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0061-5
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Studies on the ecosystem service value (ESV) of gardens are critical for informing evidence- based land management practices based on an understanding of the local ecosystem. By analyzing equivalent value factors (EVFs), this paper evaluated the values of 11 ecosystem services of gardens in the Yellow River Basin of China in 2019. High-precision land use survey data were used to improve the accuracy of the land use classification, garden areas, and spatial distribution of the ESVs of gardens. The results showed that garden ecosystem generally had high ESVs, especially in terms of the ESV of food production, which is worthy of further research and application to the practice of land use planning and management. Specifically, the value of one standard EVF of ecosystem services in 2019 was 3587.04 CNY/(hm2•a), and the ESV of food production of gardens was much higher than that of croplands. Garden ecosystem provided an ESV of 1348.66×108 CNY/a in the Yellow River Basin. The areas with the most concentrated ESVs of gardens were located in four regions: downstream in the Shandong-Henan zone along the Yellow River, mid-stream in the Shanxi-Shaanxi zone along the Yellow River, the Weihe River Basin, and upstream in the Qinghai-Gansu-Ningxia-Inner Mongolia zone along the Yellow River. The spatial correlation of the ESVs in the basin was significant (global spatial autocorrelation index Moran's I=0.464), which implied that the characteristics of high ESVs adjacent to high ESVs and low ESVs adjacent to low ESVs are prominent. In the Yellow River Basin, the contribution of the ESVs of gardens to the local environment and economy varied across regions. We also put forward some suggestions for promoting the construction of ecological civilization in the Yellow River Basin. The findings of this study provide important contributions to the research of ecosystem service evaluation in the Yellow River Basin.

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Effects of biodegradable mulch on soil water and heat conditions, yield and quality of processing tomatoes by drip irrigation
JIA Hao, WANG Zhenhua, ZHANG Jinzhu, LI Wenhao, REN Zuoli, JIA Zhecheng, WANG Qin
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 819-836.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0108-4
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To combat the problem of residual film pollution and ensure the sustainable development of agriculture in oasis areas, a field experiment was carried out in 2019 at the Wuyi Farm Corps Irrigation Center Test Station in Urumqi, Northwest China. Four types of biodegradable mulches, traditional plastic mulchs and a control group (bare land; referred to as CK) were compared, including a total of six different treatments. Effects of mulching on soil water and heat conditions as well as the yield and quality of processing tomatoes under drip irrigation were examined. In addition, a comparative analysis of economic benefits of biodegradable mulches was performed. Principal component analysis and gray correlation analysis were used to evaluate suitable mulching varieties for planting processing tomatoes under drip irrigation. Our results show that, compared with CK, biodegradable mulches and traditional plastic mulch have a similar effect on retaining soil moisture at the seedling stage but significantly increase soil moisture by 0.5%-1.5% and 1.5%-3.0% in the middle and late growth periods (P<0.050), respectively. The difference in the thermal insulation effect between biodegradable mulch and plastic mulch gradually reduces as the crop grows. Compared with plastic mulch, the average soil temperature at 5-20 cm depth under biodegradable mulches is significantly lowered by 2.04°C-3.52°C and 0.52°C-0.88°C (P<0.050) at the seedling stage and the full growth period, respectively, and the water use efficiency, average fruit yield, and production-investment ratio under biodegradable mulches were reduced by 0.89%-6.63%, 3.39%-8.69%, and 0.51%-6.33% (P<0.050), respectively. The comprehensive evaluation analysis suggests that the black oxidized biological double-degradation ecological mulch made from eco-benign plastic is the optimal film type under the study condition. Therefore, from the perspective of sustainable development, biodegradable mulch is a competitive alternative to plastic mulch for large-scale tomato production under drip irrigation in the oasis.

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Ecological stoichiometry and biomass response of Agropyron michnoi Roshev. under simulated N deposition in a sandy grassland, China
JIN Xiaoming, YANG Xiaogang, ZHOU Zhen, ZHANG Yingqi, YU Liangbin, ZHANG Jinghua, LIANG Runfang
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 741-751.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0014-9
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Sandy grassland in northern China is a fragile ecosystem with poor soil fertility. Exploring how plant species regulate growth and nutrient absorption under the background of nitrogen (N) deposition is crucial for the management of the sandy grassland ecosystem. We carried out a field experiment with six N levels in the Hulunbuir Sandy Land of China from 2014 to 2016 and explored the Agropyron michnoi Roshev. responses of both aboveground and belowground biomasses and carbon (C), N and phosphorus (P) concentrations in the plant tissues and soil. With increasing N addition, both aboveground and belowground biomasses and C, N and P concentrations in the plant tissues increased and exhibited a single-peak curve. C:N and C:P ratios of the plant tissues first decreased but then increased, while the trend for N:P ratio was opposite. The peak values of aboveground biomass, belowground biomass and C concentration in the plant tissues occurred at the level of 20 g N/(m2·a), while those of N and P concentrations in the plant tissues occurred at the level of 15 g N/(m2·a). The maximum growth percentages of aboveground and belowground biomasses were 324.2% and 75.9%, respectively, and the root to shoot ratio (RSR) decreased with the addition of N. N and P concentrations in the plant tissues were ranked in the order of leaves>roots>stems, while C concentration was ranked as roots>leaves>stems. The increase in N concentration in the plant tissues was the largest (from 34% to 162%), followed by the increase in P (from 10% to 33%) and C (from 8% to 24%) concentrations. The aboveground biomass was positively and linearly correlated with leaf C, N and P, and soil C and N concentrations, while the belowground biomass was positively and linearly correlated with leaf N and soil C concentrations. These results showed that the accumulation of N and P in the leaves caused the increase in the aboveground biomass, while the accumulation of leaf N resulted in the increase in the belowground biomass. N deposition can alter the allocation of C, N and P stoichiometry in the plant tissues and has a high potential for increasing plant biomass, which is conducive to the restoration of sandy grassland.

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Spatiotemporal patterns of the forage-livestock balance in the Xilin Gol steppe, China: implications for sustainably utilizing grassland-ecosystem services
QU Yingbo, ZHAO Yuanyuan, DING Guodong, CHI Wenfeng, GAO Guanglei
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (2): 135-151.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0053-x
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Understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of the forage-livestock balance is imperative for regionally arranging animal husbandry production while ensuring sustainable grassland-ecosystem service use. The Xilin Gol steppe is an important native grassland resource in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. This study aimed to elucidate the dynamics of the forage-livestock balance in the Xilin Gol steppe during the period 2000-2015. We evaluated the forage production and corresponding livestock carrying capacity (LCC) in the growing seasons of 2000-2015 using remote sensing data and field surveys. The spatiotemporal patterns of the forage-livestock balance were then assessed at regional, city (including city, county and banner), and village scales using statistical and household survey data. The results showed that both forage production and LCC decreased in the Xilin Gol steppe from east to west. During the period 2000-2015, the regional average forage production and corresponding LCC fluctuated without following a distinct trend, but were consistent with the variations in precipitation. The forage-livestock balance varied with time, space, and scale. At the regional scale, steppes were overgrazed in the early 2000s, but a forage-livestock balance or even grazing potential was achieved in other years. At the city scale, approximately half of the region exhibited a "forage-livestock balance" since 2000. However, about half of the region still experienced overgrazing, which mainly located in the southwest sandy zones. Such changes may have been affected by the variations in grassland quality, forage production, compensation payment, and so on. We suggest a location-specific management scheme for grazing constraints, ecological compensation payment, and industry development to aid in harmonizing animal husbandry and environmental restoration, while promoting sustainable development goals by 2030.

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