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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
Abstract131)   HTML38)    PDF (802KB)(307)      

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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Spatiotemporal changes of eco-environmental quality based on remote sensing-based ecological index in the Hotan Oasis, Xinjiang
YAO Kaixuan, Abudureheman HALIKE, CHEN Limei, WEI Qianqian
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 262-283.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0011-2
Abstract104)   HTML13)    PDF (4002KB)(262)      

The rapid economic development that the Hotan Oasis in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China has undergone in recent years may face some challenges in its ecological environment. Therefore, an analysis of the spatiotemporal changes in ecological environment of the Hotan Oasis is important for its sustainable development. First, we constructed an improved remote sensing-based ecological index (RSEI) in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform and implemented change detection for their spatial distribution. Second, we performed a spatial autocorrelation analysis on RSEI distribution map and used land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) data to analyze the reasons of RSEI changes. Finally, we investigated the applicability of improved RSEI to arid area. The results showed that mean of RSEI rose from 0.41 to 0.50, showing a slight upward trend. During the 30-a period, 2.66% of the regions improved significantly, 10.74% improved moderately and 32.21% improved slightly, respectively. The global Moran's I were 0.891, 0.889, 0.847 and 0.777 for 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2020, respectively, and the local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) distribution map showed that the high-high cluster was mainly distributed in the central part of the Hotan Oasis, and the low-low cluster was mainly distributed in the outer edge of the oasis. RSEI at the periphery of the oasis changes from low to high with time, with the fragmentation of RSEI distribution within the oasis increasing. Its distribution and changes are predominantly driven by anthropologic factors, including the expansion of artificial oasis into the desert, the replacement of desert ecosystems by farmland ecosystems, and the increase in the distribution of impervious surfaces. The improved RSEI can reflect the eco-environmental quality effectively of the oasis in arid area with relatively high applicability. The high efficiency exhibited with this approach makes it convenient for rapid, high frequency and macroscopic monitoring of eco-environmental quality in study area.

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Erratum to: Predicting of dust storm source by combining remote sensing, statistic-based predictive models and game theory in the Sistan watershed, southwestern Asia
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 356-365.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0008-x
Abstract95)   HTML2)    PDF (88KB)(210)      
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Effects of climate change and land use/cover change on the volume of the Qinghai Lake in China
WANG Hongwei, QI Yuan, LIAN Xihong, ZHANG Jinlong, YANG Rui, ZHANG Meiting
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 245-261.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0062-4
Abstract123)   HTML20)    PDF (1407KB)(207)      

Qinghai Lake is the largest saline lake in China. The change in the lake volume is an indicator of the variation in water resources and their response to climate change on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) in China. The present study quantitatively evaluated the effects of climate change and land use/cover change (LUCC) on the lake volume of the Qinghai Lake in China from 1958 to 2018, which is crucial for water resources management in the Qinghai Lake Basin. To explore the effects of climate change and LUCC on the Qinghai Lake volume, we analyzed the lake level observation data and multi-period land use/land cover (LULC) data by using an improved lake volume estimation method and Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST) model. Our results showed that the lake level decreased at the rate of 0.08 m/a from 1958 to 2004 and increased at the rate of 0.16 m/a from 2004 to 2018. The lake volume decreased by 105.40×108 m3 from 1958 to 2004, with the rate of 2.24×108 m3/a, whereas it increased by 74.02×108 m3 from 2004 to 2018, with the rate of 4.66×108 m3/a. Further, the climate of the Qinghai Lake Basin changed from warm-dry to warm-humid. From 1958 to 2018, the increase in precipitation and the decrease in evaporation controlled the change of the lake volume, which were the main climatic factors affecting the lake volume change. From 1977 to 2018, the measured water yield showed an "increase-decrease-increase" fluctuation in the Qinghai Lake Basin. The effects of climate change and LUCC on the measured water yield were obviously different. From 1977 to 2018, the contribution rate of LUCC was -0.76% and that of climate change was 100.76%; the corresponding rates were 8.57% and 91.43% from 1977 to 2004, respectively, and -4.25% and 104.25% from 2004 to 2018, respectively. Quantitative analysis of the effects and contribution rates of climate change and LUCC on the Qinghai Lake volume revealed the scientific significance of climate change and LUCC, as well as their individual and combined effects in the Qinghai Lake Basin and on the QTP. This study can contribute to the water resources management and regional sustainable development of the Qinghai Lake Basin.

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Dieback intensity but not functional and taxonomic diversity indices predict forest productivity in different management conditions: Evidence from a semi-arid oak forest ecosystem
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 225-244.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0006-z
Abstract50)   HTML5)    PDF (2332KB)(202)      

The relationships between different aspects of diversity (taxonomic, structural and functional) and the aboveground biomass (AGB) as a major component of global carbon balance have been studied extensively but rarely under the simultaneous influence of forest dieback and management. In this study, we investigate the relationships between taxonomic, functional and structural diversity of woody species (trees and shrubs) and AGB along a gradient of dieback intensity (low, moderate, high and no dieback as control) under two contrasted management conditions (protection by central government vs. traditional management by natives) in a semi-arid oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) forest ecosystem. AGB was estimated and taxonomic diversity, community weighted average (CWM) and functional divergence indices were produced. We found that the aerial biomass was significantly higher in the intensively used area (14.57 (±1.60) t/hm2) than in the protected area (8.70 (±1.05) t/hm2) due to persistence of some large trees but with decreasing values along the dieback intensity gradient in both areas. CWM of height (H), leaf nitrogen content (LNC) and leaf dry matter content (LDMC) were also higher in the traditional managed area than in the protected area. In contrast, in the protected area, the woody species diversity was higher and the inter-specific competition was more intense, explaining a reduced H, biomass and LDMC. Contrary to the results of CWM, none of the functional diversity traits (FDvar) was affected by dieback intensity and only FDvar values of LNC, leaf phosphorus content (LPC) and LDMC were influenced by management. We also found significantly positive linear relationships of AGB with CWM and FDvar indices in the protected area, and with taxonomic and structural diversity indices in the traditional managed area. These results emphasize that along a dieback intensity gradient, the leaf functional traits are efficient predictors in estimating the AGB in protected forests, while taxonomic and structural indices provide better results in forests under a high human pressure. Finally, species identity of the dominant species (i.e., Brant's oak) proves to be the main driver of AGB, supporting the selection effect hypothesis.

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Application of the InVEST model for assessing water yield and its response to precipitation and land use in the Weihe River Basin, China
WU Changxue, QIU Dexun, GAO Peng, MU Xingmin, ZHAO Guangju
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 426-440.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0013-0
Abstract52)   HTML3)    PDF (2044KB)(192)      

With realizing the importance of ecosystem services to society, the efforts to evaluate the ecosystem services have increased. As the largest tributary of the Yellow River, the Weihe River has been endowed with many ecological service functions. Among which, water yield can be a measure of local availability of water and an index for evaluating the conservation function of the region. This study aimed to explore the temporal and spatial variation of water yield and its influencing factors in the Weihe River Basin (WRB), and provide basis for formulating reasonable water resources utilization schemes. Based on the InVEST (integrated valuation of ecosystem services and tradeoffs) model, this study simulated the water yield in the WRB from 1985 to 2019, and discussed the impacts of climatic factors and land use change on water yield by spatial autocorrelation analysis and scenario analysis methods. The results showed that there was a slight increasing trend in water yield in the WRB over the study period with the increasing rate of 4.84 mm/10a and an average depth of 83.14 mm. The main water-producing areas were concentrated along the mainstream of the Weihe River and in the southern basin. Changes in water yield were comprehensively affected by climate and underlying surface factors. Precipitation was the main factor affecting water yield, which was consistent with water yield in time. And there existed significant spatial agglomeration between water yield and precipitation. Land use had little impact on the amount of water yield, but had an impact on its spatial distribution. Water yield was higher in areas with wide distribution of construction land and grassland. Water yield of different land use types were different. Unused land showed the largest water yield capacity, whereas grassland and farmland contributed most to the total water yield. The increasing water yield in the basin indicates an enhanced water supply service function of the ecosystem. These results are of great significance to the water resources management of the WRB.

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Integrating multiple electromagnetic data to map spatiotemporal variability of soil salinity in Kairouan region, Central Tunisia
Besma ZARAI, Christian WALTER, Didier MICHOT, Jean P MONTOROI, Mohamed HACHICHA
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 186-202.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0052-6
Abstract30)   HTML3)    PDF (1908KB)(163)      

Soil salinization is a major problem affecting soils and threatening agricultural sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions, which makes it necessary to establish an efficient strategy to manage soil salinity and confront economic challenges that arise from it. Saline soil recovery involving drainage of shallow saline groundwater and the removal of soil salts by natural rainfall or by irrigation are good strategies for the reclamation of salty soil. To develop suitable management strategies for salty soil reclamation, it is essential to improve soil salinity assessment process/mechanism and to adopt new approaches and techniques. This study mapped a recovered area of 7200 m2to assess and verify variations in soil salinity in space and time in Kairouan region in Central Tunisia, taking into account the thickness of soil materials. Two electromagnetic conductivity meters (EM38 and EM31) were used to measure the electrical conductivity of saturated soil-paste extract (ECe) and apparent electrical conductivity (ECa). Multiple linear regression was established between ECe and ECa, and it was revealed that ECa-EM38 is optimal for ECe prediction in the surface soils. Salinity maps demonstrated that the spatial structure of soil salinity in the region of interest was relatively unchanged but varied temporally. Variation in salinity at the soil surface was greater than that at a depth. These findings can not only be used to track soil salinity variations and their significance in the field but also help to identify the spatial and temporal features of soil salinity, thus improving the efficiency of soil management.

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Impact of rainfed and irrigated agriculture systems on soil carbon stock under different climate scenarios in the semi-arid region of Brazil
André L CARVALHO, Renato A ARAÚJO-NETO, Guilherme B LYRA, Carlos E P CERRI, Stoécio M F MAIA
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 359-373.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0092-y
Abstract64)   HTML10)    PDF (916KB)(161)      

Understanding the dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) is of fundamental importance in land use and management, whether in the current researches or in future scenarios of agriculture systems considering climate change. In order to evaluate SOC stock of the three districts (Delmiro Gouveia, Pariconha, and Inhapi districts) in the semi-arid region of Brazil in rainfed and irrigated agriculture systems under different climate scenarios using the Century model, we obtained RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios derived from the Eta Regional Climate Model (Eta-HadGEM2-ES and Eta-MIROC5) from the National Institute for Space Research, and then input the data of bulk density, pH, soil texture, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and rainfall into the soil and climate files of the Century model. The results of this study showed that the Eta-HadGEM2-ES model was effective in estimating air temperature in the future period. In rainfed agriculture system, SOC stock under the baseline scenario was lower than that under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios, while in irrigated agriculture system, SOC stock in the almost all climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and models (Eta-HadGEM2-ES and Eta-MIROC5) will increase by 2100. The results of this study will help producers in the semi-arid region of Brazil adopt specific agriculture systems aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

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Adjustment of precipitation measurements using Total Rain weighing Sensor (TRwS) gauges in the cryospheric hydrometeorology observation (CHOICE) system of the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China
ZHAO Yanni, CHEN Rensheng, HAN Chuntan, WANG Lei
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 310-324.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0010-3
Abstract65)   HTML8)    PDF (1088KB)(160)      

Precipitation is one of the most important indicators of climate data, but there are many errors in precipitation measurements due to the influence of climatic conditions, especially those of solid precipitation in alpine mountains and at high latitude areas. The measured amount of precipitation in those areas is frequently less than the actual amount of precipitation. To understand the impact of climatic conditions on precipitation measurements in the mountainous areas of Northwest China and the applicability of different gauges in alpine mountains, we established a cryospheric hydrometeorology observation (CHOICE) system in 2008 in the Qilian Mountains, which consists of six automated observation stations located between 2960 and 4800 m a.s.l. Total Rain weighing Sensor (TRwS) gauges tested in the World Meteorological Organization-Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment (WMO-SPICE) were used at observation stations with the CHOICE system. To study the influence of climatic conditions on different types of precipitation measured by the TRwS gauges, we conducted an intercomparison experiment of precipitation at Hulu-1 station that was one of the stations in the CHOICE system. Moreover, we tested the application of transfer functions recommended by the WMO-SPICE at this station using the measurement data from a TRwS gauge from August 2016 to December 2020 and computed new coefficients for the same transfer functions that were more appropriate for the dataset from Hulu-1 station. The new coefficients were used to correct the precipitation measurements of other stations in the CHOICE system. Results showed that the new parameters fitted to the local dataset had better correction results than the original parameters. The environmental conditions of Hulu-1 station were very different from those of observation stations that provided datasets to create the transfer functions. Thus, root-mean-square error (RMSE) of solid and mixed precipitation corrected by the original parameters increased significantly by the averages of 0.135 (353%) and 0.072 mm (111%), respectively. RMSE values of liquid, solid and mixed precipitation measurements corrected by the new parameters decreased by 6%, 20% and 13%, respectively. In addition, the new parameters were suitable for correcting precipitation at other five stations in the CHOICE system. The relative precipitation (RP) increment of different types of precipitation increased with rising altitude. The average RP increment value of snowfall at six stations was the highest, reaching 7%, while that of rainfall was the lowest, covering 3%. Our results confirmed that the new parameters could be used to correct precipitation measurements of the CHOICE system.

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Assessment of water resources in Yarmouk River Basin using geospatial technique during the period 1980-2020
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 154-166.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0005-0
Abstract48)   HTML4)    PDF (2103KB)(158)      

It is common knowledge that Yarmouk River Basin (YRB) is shared between Jordan and Syria. Management of YRB trans-boundary water resources is attracting increasing interest because it is a strategic water resource for the riparian countries. Actually, lack of sharing information regarding hydrological flows and basin's water management between partners' countries makes it difficult to distinguish between natural and man-made factors affecting the water body. Therefore, this study seeks to address and assess the main on-site changes that exert on YRB. Geospatial technique and arithmetic equations were combined to carry out an assessment of the changes on water resources in YRB. Data, information and field measurements of the basin were aggregated, compiled and presented to determine the extent of changes during the period 1980-2020. Remarkable findings showed that precipitation amount in the basin significantly declined during the period 1980-2020 in particularly after the year 1992. Pumping rate of groundwater was 550×103 m3/a, exceeding the basin's safe yield. Draw down of static groundwater level over time approached the value of -3.2 m/a due to the over abstraction in the aquifer body. Additionally, the evaporation rate reached more than 99% in some regions in the basin. Moreover, the number of private wells has increased from 98 wells in 1980 to 126 wells in 2020, showing the excessive extraction of groundwater. These findings indicate that the study area is subjected to a considerable groundwater depletion in the near future due to extensive abstraction, continuous drilling of illegal wells and decreased annual precipitation under the shadow of the rapid population growth and continuous influx of refugees. Therefore, decision makers-informed scenarios are suggested in the development of water resource portfolios, which involves the combination of management and infrastructural actions that enhance the water productivity of the basin. Further studies are recommended to evaluate the on-site changes on water resources in YRB in collaboration with riparian countries and to establish monitoring system for continuous and accurate measurements of the basin.

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Identifying water vapor sources of precipitation in forest and grassland in the north slope of the Tianshan Mountains, Central Asia
CHEN Haiyan, CHEN Yaning, LI Dalong, LI Weihong, YANG Yuhui
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 297-309.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0090-0
Abstract71)   HTML5)    PDF (1168KB)(157)      

Identifying water vapor sources in the natural vegetation of the Tianshan Mountains is of significant importance for obtaining greater knowledge about the water cycle, forecasting water resource changes, and dealing with the adverse effects of climate change. In this study, we identified water vapor sources of precipitation and evaluated their effects on precipitation stable isotopes in the north slope of the Tianshan Mountains, China. By utilizing the temporal and spatial distributions of precipitation stable isotopes in the forest and grassland regions, Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, and isotope mass balance model, we obtained the following results. (1) The Eurasia, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea are the major sources of water vapor. (2) The contribution of surface evaporation to precipitation in forests is lower than that in the grasslands (except in spring), while the contribution of plant transpiration to precipitation in forests (5.35%) is higher than that in grasslands (3.79%) in summer. (3) The underlying surface and temperature are the main factors that affect the contribution of recycled water vapor to precipitation; meanwhile, the effects of water vapor sources of precipitation on precipitation stable isotopes are counteracted by other environmental factors. Overall, this work will prove beneficial in quantifying the effect of climate change on local water cycles.

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Variation of soil physical-chemical characteristics in salt-affected soil in the Qarhan Salt Lake, Qaidam Basin
HUI Rong, TAN Huijuan, LI Xinrong, WANG bingyao
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 341-355.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0091-z
Abstract71)   HTML6)    PDF (645KB)(156)      

Soil salinization has adverse effects on the soil physical-chemical characteristics. However, little is known about the changes in soil salt ion concentrations and other soil physical-chemical characteristics within the Qarhan Salt Lake and at different soil depths in the surrounding areas. Here, we selected five sampling sites (S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5) alongside the Qarhan Salt Lake and in the Xidatan segment of the Kunlun Mountains to investigate the relationship among soil salt ion concentrations, soil physical-chemical characteristics, and environmental variables in April 2019. The results indicated that most sites had strongly saline and very strongly saline conditions. The main salt ions present in the soil were Na+, K+, and Cl-. Soil nutrients and soil microbial biomass (SMB) were significantly affected by the salinity (P<0.05). Moreover, soil salt ions (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl-, CO32-, SO42-, and HCO3-) were positively correlated with electrical conductivity (EC) and soil water content (SWC), but negatively related to altitude and soil depth. Unlike soil salt ions, soil nutrients and SMB were positively correlated with altitude, but negatively related to EC and SWC. Moreover, soil nutrients and SMB were negatively correlated with soil salt ions. In conclusion, soil nutrients and SMB were mainly influenced by salinity, and were related to altitude, soil depth, and SWC in the areas from the Qarhan Salt Lake to the Xidatan segment. These results imply that the soil quality (mainly evaluated by soil physical-chemical characteristics) is mainly influenced by soil salt ions in the areas surrounding the Qarhan Salt Lake. Our results provide an accurate prediction of how the soil salt ions, soil nutrients, and SMB respond to the changes along a salt gradient. The underlying mechanisms controlling the soil salt ion distribution, soil nutrients, and SMB in an extremely arid desert climate playa should be studied in greater detail in the future.

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Erratum to: Dieback intensity but not functional and taxonomic diversity indices predict forest productivity in different management conditions: Evidence from a semi-arid oak forest ecosystem
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 357-357.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0009-9
Abstract98)   HTML1)    PDF (105KB)(149)      
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Contents and spatial distribution patterns of heavy metals in the hinterland of the Tengger Desert, China
WANG Zhao, WEI Junjie, PENG Wenbin, ZHANG Rui, ZHANG Haobo
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (10): 1086-1098.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0027-7
Abstract70)   HTML27)    PDF (3608KB)(143)      

The desert in northern China is one of important sources of loess and one significant source of material for sandstorms in Asia. The sand/dust that is transported from desert when sandstorms occur can destroy the growth of crops, cause serious losses and great harm to the economic construction and life safety, and cause natural environment pollution. Hence, it is very important to deepen the research into heavy metals in surface deposits at vulnerable ecological region of arid land of northern China to guide local industrial and agricultural development and improve environmental protection. In this research, 10 heavy metal elements (Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, and Th) were tested and analyzed in 33 soil sample sites collected from the hinterland of the Tengger Desert, northern China. The results showed that the average abundance of Th exceeded its background soil value of China by more than 5.2 times, which suggests that the Tengger Desert is polluted by Th. In addition, based on principal component analysis, spatial differentiation, and correlation analysis, we identified the source of element with a coefficient of variation in abundance of greater than 0.5 or exceeding the background soil value of China. Principal component analysis and correlation analysis showed that the sources of heavy metals of Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, and Cd were similar, while those of Th and Zn were different. Moreover, based on the contents and spatial distribution characteristics of those heavy metal elements, we found that the formation of heavy metal elements enrichment areas is caused by industrial pollution, development of irrigated agricultural, geological, and geomorphic conditions, and the sedimentary environment in the study area. Our result can provide information on the environmental background values of soils in the hinterland of the Tengger Desert.

Background value of Chinaa(mg/kg)

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Modeling and analyzing supply-demand relationships of water resources in Xinjiang from a perspective of ecosystem services
LI Feng, LI Yaoming, ZHOU Xuewen, YIN Zun, LIU Tie, XIN Qinchuan
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 115-138.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0059-z
Abstract125)   HTML11)    PDF (4841KB)(138)      

Water shortage is one bottleneck that limits economic and social developments in arid and semi-arid areas. As the impacts of climate change and human disturbance intensify across time, uncertainties in both water resource supplies and demands increase in arid and semi-arid areas. Taking a typical arid region in China, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as an example, water yield depth (WYD) and water utilization depth (WUD) from 2002 to 2018 were simulated using the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model and socioeconomic data. The supply-demand relationships of water resources were analyzed using the ecosystem service indices including water supply-demand difference (WSDD) and water supply rate (WSR). The internal factors in changes of WYD and WUD were explored using the controlled variable method. The results show that the supply- demand relationships of water resources in Xinjiang were in a slight deficit, but the deficit was alleviated due to increased precipitation and decreased WUD of irrigation. WYD generally experienced an increasing trend, and significant increase mainly occurred in the oasis areas surrounding both the Junggar Basin and Tarim Basin. WUD had a downward trend with a decline of 20.70%, especially in oasis areas. Water resources in most areas of Xinjiang were fully utilized and the utilization efficiency of water resources increased. The water yield module in the InVEST model was calibrated and validated using gauging station data in Xinjiang, and the result shows that the use of satellite-based water storage data helped to decrease the bias error of the InVEST model by 0.69×108 m3. This study analyzed water resource supplies and demands from a perspective of ecosystem services, which expanded the scope of the application of ecosystem services and increased the research perspective of water resource evaluation. The results could provide guidance for water resource management such as spatial allocation and structural optimization of water resources in arid and semi-arid areas.

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Dependency of litter decomposition on litter quality, climate change, and grassland type in the alpine grassland of Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China
SU Yuan, GONG Yanming, HAN Wenxuan, LI Kaihui, LIU Xuejun
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 691-703.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0096-7
Abstract60)   HTML6)    PDF (811KB)(135)      

Litter decomposition is an important component of the nutrient recycling process and is highly sensitive to climate change. However, the impacts of warming and increased precipitation on litter decomposition have not been well studied, especially in the alpine grassland of Tianshan Mountains. We conducted a manipulative warming and increased precipitation experiment combined with different grassland types to examine the impact of litter quality and climate change on the litter decomposition rate based on three dominant species (Astragalus mongholicus, Potentilla anserina, and Festuca ovina) in Tianshan Mountains from 2019 to 2021. The results of this study indicated there were significant differences in litter quality, specific leaf area, and leaf dry matter content. In addition, litter quality exerted significant effects on litter decomposition, and the litter decomposition rate varied in different grassland types. Increased precipitation significantly accelerated the litter decomposition of P. anserina; however, it had no significant effect on the litter decomposition of A. mongholicus and F. ovina. However, warming consistently decreased the litter decomposition rate, with the strongest impact on the litter decomposition of F. ovina. There was a significant interaction between increased precipitation and litter type, but there was no significant interaction between warming and litter type. These results indicated that warming and increased precipitation significantly influenced litter decomposition; however, the strength was dependent on litter quality. In addition, soil water content played a crucial role in regulating litter decomposition in different grassland types. Moreover, we found that the litter decomposition rate exhibited a hump-shaped or linear response to the increase of soil water content. Our study emphasizes that ongoing climate change significantly altered litter decomposition in the alpine grassland, which is of great significance for understanding the nutrient supply and turnover of litter.

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Assessment of river basin habitat quality and its relationship with disturbance factors: A case study of the Tarim River Basin in Northwest China
HE Bing, CHANG Jianxia, GUO Aijun, WANG Yimin, WANG Yan, LI Zhehao
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 167-185.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0058-0
Abstract60)   HTML7)    PDF (2012KB)(120)      

The status of regional biodiversity is determined by habitat quality. The effective assessment of habitat quality can help balance the relationship between economic development and biodiversity conservation. Therefore, this study used the InVEST model to conduct a dynamic evaluation of the spatial and temporal changes in habitat quality of the Tarim River Basin in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China by calculating the degradation degree levels for habitat types that were caused by threat factors from 1990 to 2018 (represented by four periods of 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). Specifically, we used spatial autocorrelation analysis and Getis-Ord G* i analysis to divide the study area into three heterogeneous units in terms of habitat quality: cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. Hemeroby index, population density, gross domestic product (GDP), altitude and distance from water source (DWS) were then chosen as the main disturbance factors. Linear correlation and spatial regression models were subsequently used to analyze the influences of disturbance factors on habitat quality. The results demonstrated that the overall level of habitat quality in the TRB was poor, showing a continuous degradation state. The intensity of the negative correlation between habitat quality and Hemeroby index was proven to be strongest in cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. The spatial lag model (SLM) was better suited to spatial regression analysis due to the spatial dependence of habitat quality and disturbance factors in heterogeneous units. By analyzing the model, Hemeroby index was found to have the greatest impact on habitat quality in the studied four periods (1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). The research results have potential guiding significance for the formulation of reasonable management policies in the TRB as well as other river basins in arid areas.

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Modelling the biological invasion of Prosopis juliflora using geostatistical-based bioclimatic variables under climate change in arid zones of southwestern Iran
Mohadeseh AMIRI, Mosfata TARKESH, Mohammad SHAFIEZADEH
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 203-224.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0004-1
Abstract57)   HTML2)    PDF (1580KB)(119)      

Invasive species have been the focus of ecologists due to their undesired impacts on the environment. The extent and rapid increase in invasive plant species is recognized as a natural cause of global-biodiversity loss and degrading ecosystem services. Biological invasions can affect ecosystems across a wide spectrum of bioclimatic conditions. Understanding the impact of climate change on species invasion is crucial for sustainable biodiversity conservation. In this study, the possibility of mapping the distribution of invasive Prosopis juliflora (Swartz) DC. was shown using present background data in Khuzestan Province, Iran. After removing the spatial bias of background data by creating weighted sampling bias grids for the occurrence dataset, we applied six modelling algorithms (generalized additive model (GAM), classification tree analysis (CTA), random forest (RF), multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS), maximum entropy (MaxEnt) and ensemble model) to predict invasion distribution of the species under current and future climate conditions for both optimistic (RCP2.6) and pessimistic (RCP8.5) scenarios for the years 2050 and 2070, respectively. Predictor variables including weighted mean of CHELSA (climatologies at high resolution for the Earth's land surface areas)-bioclimatic variables and geostatistical-based bioclimatic variables (1979-2020), physiographic variables extracted from shuttle radar topography mission (SRTM) and some human factors were used in modelling process. To avoid causing a biased selection of predictors or model coefficients, we resolved the spatial autocorrelation of presence points and multi-collinearity of the predictors. As in a conventional receiver operating characteristic (ROC), the area under curve (AUC) is calculated using presence and absence observations to measure the probability and the two error components are weighted equally. All models were evaluated using partial ROC at different thresholds and other statistical indices derived from confusion matrix. Sensitivity analysis showed that mean diurnal range (Bio2) and annual precipitation (Bio12) explained more than 50%of the changes in the invasion distribution and played a pivotal role in mapping habitat suitability of P. juliflora. At all thresholds, the ensemble model showed a significant difference in comparison with single model. However, MaxEnt and RF outperformed the others models. Under climate change scenarios, it is predicted that suitable areas for this invasive species will increase in Khuzestan Province, and increasing climatically suitable areas for the species in future will facilitate its future distribution. These findings can support the conservation planning and management efforts in ecological engineering and be used in formulating preventive measures.

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Projection of hydrothermal condition in Central Asia under four SSP-RCP scenarios
YAO Linlin, ZHOU Hongfei, YAN Yingjie, LI Lanhai, SU Yuan
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 521-536.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0094-9
Abstract19)   HTML2)    PDF (1721KB)(119)      

Hydrothermal condition is mismatched in arid and semi-arid regions, particularly in Central Asia (including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan), resulting many environmental limitations. In this study, we projected hydrothermal condition in Central Asia based on bias-corrected multi-model ensembles (MMEs) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathway and Representative Concentration Pathway (SSP-RCP) scenarios (SSP126 (SSP1-RCP2.6), SSP245 (SSP2-RCP4.5), SSP460 (SSP4-RCP6.0), and SSP585 (SSP5-RCP8.5)) during 2015-2100. The bias correction and spatial disaggregation, water-thermal product index, and sensitivity analysis were used in this study. The results showed that the hydrothermal condition is mismatched in the central and southern deserts, whereas the region of Pamir Mountains and Tianshan Mountains as well as the northern plains of Kazakhstan showed a matched hydrothermal condition. Compared with the historical period, the matched degree of hydrothermal condition improves during 2046-2075, but degenerates during 2015-2044 and 2076-2100. The change of hydrothermal condition is sensitive to precipitation in the northern regions and the maximum temperatures in the southern regions. The result suggests that the optimal scenario in Central Asia is SSP126 scenario, while SSP585 scenario brings further hydrothermal contradictions. This study provides scientific information for the development and sustainable utilization of hydrothermal resources in arid and semi-arid regions under climate change.

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Effects of vegetation near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment reduction in typical grasslands on the Loess Plateau, China
LI Panpan, WANG Bing, YANG Yanfen, LIU Guobin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 325-340.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0007-y
Abstract63)   HTML10)    PDF (1810KB)(116)      

Vegetation near-soil-surface factors can protect topsoil from erosion, however, their contributions to the reduction of soil erosion, especially under natural rainfall events, have not been systematically recognized. This study was performed to quantify the effects of near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment under natural rainfall events on grasslands dominated by Bothriochloa ischaemum (Linn.) Keng (BI grassland) and Artemisia gmelinii Thunb. (AG grassland) in two typical watersheds on the Loess Plateau, China in 2018. By successive removal of the plant canopy, litter, biological soil crusts (BSCs) and plant roots, we established five treatments including plant roots, plant roots+BSCs, plant roots+BSCs+litter, intact grassland and bare land in each grassland type. In total, twenty runoff plots (5 m×3 m) with similar slopes and aspects were constructed in the two types of grasslands. Results showed that plant canopy, litter and roots reduced runoff, while BSCs, which swelled in the presence of water, increased runoff. In contrast, all of these factors reduced sediment yield. In addition, the reductions in runoff and sediment yield increased with I30 (maximum 30-min rainfall intensity) for each vegetation near-soil-surface factor except for BSCs. Among these factors, plant canopy had the largest contribution to runoff reduction, accounting for 48.8% and 39.9% in the BI and AG grasslands, respectively. The contributions of these vegetation near-soil-surface factors to sediment yield reduction were similar (21.3%-29.9%) in the two types of grasslands except for BSCs in the AG grassland (10.3%). The total reduction in runoff in the BI grassland (70.8%) was greater than that in the AG grassland (53.1%), while the reduction in sediment yield was almost the same in both grasslands (97.4% and 96.7%). In conclusion, according to the effects of different vegetation near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment production, our results may provide more complete insight and scientific basis into the effects of various vegetation related factors in controlling soil erosion.

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Spatiotemporal variations and driving factors of habitat quality in the loess hilly area of the Yellow River Basin: A case study of Lanzhou City, China
DONG Jianhong, ZHANG Zhibin, LIU Benteng, ZHANG Xinhong, ZHANG Wenbin, CHEN Long
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 637-652.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0097-6
Abstract54)   HTML4)    PDF (3229KB)(116)      

Rapid industrialization and urbanization have led to the most serious habitat degradation in China, especially in the loess hilly area of the Yellow River Basin, where the ecological environment is relatively fragile. The contradiction between economic development and ecological environment protection has aroused widespread concern. In this study, we used the habitat quality of Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST-HQ) model at different scales to evaluate the dynamic evolution characteristics of habitat quality in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province of China. The spatiotemporal variations of habitat quality were analyzed by spatial autocorrelation. A Geographical Detector (Geodetector) model was used to explore the driving factors that influencing the spatial differentiation of habitat quality, including natural factors, socio-economic factors, and ecological protection factors. The results showed that the habitat quality index of Lanzhou City decreased from 0.4638 to 0.4548 during 2000-2018. The areas with reduced the habitat quality index were mainly located in the Yellow River Basin and Qinwangchuan Basin, where are the main urban areas and the new economic development areas, respectively. The spatial distribution of habitat quality presented a trend of high in the surrounding areas and low in the middle, and showed a significant positive spatial autocorrelation. With the increase of study scale, the spatial distribution of habitat quality changed from concentrated to dispersed. The spatial differentiation of habitat quality in the study area was the result of multiple factors. Among them, topographic relief and slope were the key factors. The synergistic enhancement among these driving factors intensified the spatial differentiation of habitat quality. The findings of this study can provide a scientific basis for land resources utilization and ecosystem restoration in the arid and semi-arid land.

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Attribution analysis and multi-scenario prediction of NDVI drivers in the Xilin Gol grassland, China
XU Mengran, ZHANG Jing, LI Zhenghai, MO Yu
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 941-961.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0032-x
Abstract59)   HTML10)    PDF (4728KB)(116)      

Grassland degradation is influenced by climate change and human activities, and has become a major obstacle for the development of arid and semi-arid areas, posing a series of environmental and socio-economic problems. An in-depth understanding of the inner relations among grassland vegetation dynamics, climate change, and human activities is therefore greatly significant for understanding the variation in regional environmental conditions and predicting future developmental trends. Based on MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) data from 2000 to 2020, our objective is to investigate the spatiotemporal changes of NDVI in the Xilin Gol grassland, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Combined with 12 natural factors and human activity factors in the same period, the dominant driving factors and their interactions were identified by using the geographic detector model, and multiple scenarios were also simulated to forecast the possible paths of future NDVI changes in this area. The results showed that: (1) in the past 21 a, vegetation cover in the Xilin Gol grassland exhibited an overall increasing trend, and the vegetation restoration (84.53%) area surpassed vegetation degradation area (7.43%); (2) precipitation, wind velocity, and livestock number were the dominant factors affecting NDVI (the explanatory power of these factors exceeded 0.4). The interaction between average annual wind velocity and average annual precipitation, and between average annual precipitation and livestock number greatly affected NDVI changes (the explanatory power of these factors exceeded 0.7). Moreover, the impact of climate change on NDVI was more significant than human activities; and (3) scenario analysis indicated that NDVI in the Xinlin Gol grassland increased under the scenarios of reduced wind velocity, increased precipitation, and ecological protection. In contrast, vegetation coverage restoration in this area was significantly reduced under the scenarios of unfavorable climate conditions and excessive human activities. This study provides a scientific basis for future vegetation restoration and management, ecological environmental construction, and sustainable natural resource utilization in this area.

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Sheltering effect of punched steel plate sand fences for controlling blown sand hazards along the Golmud-Korla Railway: Field observation and numerical simulation studies
ZHANG Kai, TIAN Jianjin, QU Jianjun, ZHAO Liming, LI Sheng
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 604-619.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0019-7
Abstract50)   HTML6)    PDF (3217KB)(113)      

Sand fences made of punched steel plate (PSP) have recently been applied to control wind-blown sand in desertified and Gobi areas due to their strong wind resistance and convenient in situ construction. However, few studies have assessed the protective effect of PSP sand fences, especially through field observations. This study analyzes the effects of double-row PSP sand fences on wind and sand resistance using field observations and a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulation. The results of field observations showed that the average windproof efficiencies of the first-row and second-row sand fences were 79.8% and 70.8%, respectively. Moreover, the average windproof efficiencies of the numerical simulation behind the first-row and second-row sand fences were 89.8% and 81.1%, respectively. The sand-resistance efficiency of the double-row PSP sand fences was 65.4%. Sand deposition occurred close to the first-row sand fence; however, there was relatively little sand on the leeward side of the second-row sand fence. The length of sand accumulation near PSP sand fences obtained by numerical simulation was basically consistent with that through field observations, indicating that field observations combined with numerical simulation can provide insight into the complex wind-blown sand field over PSP sand fences. This study indicates that the protection efficiency of the double-row PSP sand fences is sufficient for effective control of sand hazards associated with extremely strong wind in the Gobi areas. The output of this work is expected to improve the future application of PSP sand fences.

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Transformation among precipitation, surface water, groundwater, and mine water in the Hailiutu River Basin under mining activity
LI Qian, MA Long, LIU Tingxi
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 620-636.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0020-1
Abstract61)   HTML4)    PDF (4487KB)(109)      

Coal mining has changed the hydrogeological conditions of river basins, and studying how the relationship among different types of water body has changed under the influence of coal mining is of great significance for understanding the regional hydrological cycle. We analyzed the temporal and spatial distribution of hydrochemical properties and environmental isotopes in the Hailiutu River Basin (HRB), China with a mixed model. The results showed that: (1) human activity (e.g., coal mining and agricultural production) causes considerable changes in the hydrochemical properties of surface water in and around the mining areas, and leads to significant increases in the concentrations of Na+ and SO2- 4; (2) precipitation is the main source of water vapour in the HRB. The transformation between surface water and groundwater in the natural watershed is mainly affected by precipitation; and (3) in the mining areas, the average contribution rates of precipitation to the recharge of surface water and groundwater increased by 2.6%-7.9% and 2.7%-9.9%, respectively. Groundwater in the Salawusu Formation constitutes up to 61.3%-72.4% of mine water. Overall, this study is beneficial for quantifying the effects of coal mining on local hydrological cycles. The research results can provide a reference for local water resources management and ecological environment improvement.

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Grazing alters sandy soil greenhouse gas emissions in a sand-binding area of the Hobq Desert, China
WANG Bo, LI Yuwei, BAO Yuhai
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 576-588.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0095-8
Abstract40)   HTML8)    PDF (1408KB)(105)      

Deserts are sensitive to environmental changes caused by human interference and are prone to degradation. Revegetation can promote the reversal of desertification and the subsequent formation of fixed sand. However, the effects of grazing, which can cause the ground-surface conditions of fixed sand to further deteriorate and result in re-desertification, on the greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes from soils remain unknown. Herein, we investigated GHG fluxes in the Hobq Desert, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, at the mobile (desertified), fixed (vegetated), and grazed (re-desertified) sites from January 2018 to December 2019. We analyzed the response mechanism of GHG fluxes to micrometeorological factors and the variation in global warming potential (GWP). CO2 was emitted at an average rate of 4.2, 3.7, and 1.1 mmol/(m2•h) and N2O was emitted at an average rate of 0.19, 0.15, and 0.09 µmol/(m2•h) at the grazed, fixed, and mobile sites, respectively. Mean CH4 consumption was as follows: fixed site (2.9 µmol/(m2•h))>grazed site (2.7 µmol/(m2•h))>mobile site (1.1 µmol/(m2•h)). GHG fluxes varied seasonally, and soil temperature (10 cm) and soil water content (30 cm) were the key micrometeorological factors affecting the fluxes. The changes in the plant and soil characteristics caused by grazing resulted in increased soil CO2 and N2O emissions and decreased CH4 absorption. Grazing also significantly increased the GWP of the soil (P<0.05). This study demonstrates that grazing on revegetated sandy soil can cause re-desertification and significantly increase soil carbon and nitrogen leakage. These findings could be used to formulate informed policies on the management and utilization of desert ecosystems.

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Seed rain and soil seed bank compensatory roles on Nassella tenuis (Phil.) Barkworth seedling recruitment in ungrazed and grazed sites
Cintia Vanesa LEDER, Dianela Alejandra CALVO, Guadalupe PETER
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 550-560.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0015-y
Abstract32)   HTML2)    PDF (529KB)(95)      

In semi-arid lands, vegetation is distributed in shrub patches immersed in a less vegetated interpatch matrix. Grazing affects perennial grass seed bank through a decrease in seed rain and an increase in seed predation and soil compaction. Nevertheless, some species with anchorage mechanisms in their seeds might overcome this, such as Nassella tenuis (Phil.) Barkworth. This is an important species in grazing paddocks because it has an intermediate palatability and its relatively tolerant to grazing. These characteristics allow N. tenuis to increase its abundance in grazed sites. Our objective was to assess how grazing affects the key palatable species from seeds to seedlings: i.e., seed rain, soil seed bank, and seedling recruitment in different microsites along a windward-leeward transect across shrub canopy. We hypothesized that: (1) the negative effects of grazing on N. tenuis fructification are reflected in its seed rain, soil seed bank, and seedling recruitment, especially in interpatches; (2) Nassella tenuis seed rain reduction, soil compaction by cattle in grazed sites, and removal of seeds by wind decrease its soil seed bank, especially in microsites exposed to the predominant wind; and (3) the decrease in N. tenuis soil seed bank and cover increase in annual species in grazed sites have negative effects on its seedling recruitment, especially in microsites exposed to predominant wind. We placed seed traps, collected soil samples, and monitored seedling recruitment in different locations around shrub canopy to address our hypotheses. Also, we established a manipulative experiment in which we sow N. tenuis seeds and followed its recruitment in different microsites. We compared the seed rain, soil seed bank, natural seedling recruitment, and sown seeds recruitment of N. tenuis between grazed and ungrazed sites. We analyzed differences between microsites along a windward-leeward transect across shrubs patches. Seed rain and soil seed bank had the same density in patches and interpatches both in ungrazed and grazed sites. But seed rain was higher, and soil seed bank was lower in ungrazed sites than in grazed sites. Almost all under-canopy microsites showed greater soil seed bank abundance and natural seedling recruitment in ungrazed sites. Sown seeds recruitment was the same between grazed and ungrazed sites, but it showed protective effects of shrubs in leeward microsites under grazed sites. As a conclusion, seed rain and soil seed bank are complementary under grazed sites.

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Transport mechanism of eroded sediment particles under freeze-thaw and runoff conditions
WANG Tian, LI Peng, HOU Jingming, TONG Yu, LI Jing, WANG Feng, LI Zhanbin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 490-501.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0016-x
Abstract20)   HTML3)    PDF (699KB)(95)      

Hydraulic erosion associated with seasonal freeze-thaw cycles is one of the most predominant factors, which drives soil stripping and transportation. In this study, indoor simulated meltwater erosion experiments were used to investigate the sorting characteristics and transport mechanism of sediment particles under different freeze-thaw conditions (unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes) and runoff rates (1, 2, and 4 L/min). Results showed that the order of sediment particle contents was silt>sand>clay during erosion process on unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes. Compared with original soils, clay and silt were lost, and sand was deposited. On unfrozen and shallow-thawed slopes, the change of runoff rate had a significant impact on the enrichment of clay, silt, and sand particles. In this study, the sediment particles transported in the form of suspension/saltation were 83.58%-86.54% on unfrozen slopes, 69.24%-84.89% on shallow-thawed slopes, and 83.75%-87.44% on frozen slopes. Moreover, sediment particles smaller than 0.027 mm were preferentially transported. On shallow-thawed slope, relative contribution percentage of suspension/saltation sediment particles gradually increased with the increase in runoff rate, and an opposite trend occurred on unfrozen and frozen slopes. At the same runoff rate, freeze-thaw process had a significant impact on the relative contribution percentage of sediment particle transport via suspension/saltation and rolling during erosion process. The research results provide an improved transport mechanism under freeze-thaw condition for steep loessal slopes.

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Study of the intensity and driving factors of land use/cover change in the Yarlung Zangbo River, Nyang Qu River, and Lhasa River region, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China
LUO Jing, XIN Liangjie, LIU Fenggui, CHEN Qiong, ZHOU Qiang, ZHANG Yili
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 411-425.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0093-x
Abstract59)   HTML4)    PDF (1559KB)(93)      

Land use/land cover (LULC) is an important part of exploring the interaction between natural environment and human activities and achieving regional sustainable development. Based on the data of LULC types (cropland, forest land, grassland, built-up land, and unused land) from 1990 to 2015, we analysed the intensity and driving factors of land use/cover change (LUCC) in the Yarlung Zangbo River, Nyang Qu River, and Lhasa River (YNL) region, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China, using intensity analysis method, cross-linking table method, and spatial econometric model. The results showed that LUCC in the YNL region was nonstationary from 1990 to 2015, showing a change pattern with "fast-slow-fast" and "U-shaped". Built-up land showed a steady increase pattern, while cropland showed a steady decrease pattern. The gain of built-up land mainly came from the loss of cropland. The transition pattern of LUCC in the YNL region was relatively single and stable during 1990-2015. The transition pattern from cropland and forest land to built-up land was a systematic change process of tendency and the transition pattern from grassland and unused land to cropland was a systematic change process of avoidance. The transition process of LUCC was the result of the combined effect of natural environment and social economic development in the YNL region. This study reveals the impact of ecological environment problems caused by human activities on the land resource system and provides scientific support for the study of ecological environment change and sustainable development of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

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Carbon inputs regulate the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration in temperate forests
LIU Yulin, LI Jiwei, HAI Xuying, WU Jianzhao, DONG Lingbo, PAN Yingjie, SHANGGUAN Zhouping, WANG Kaibo, DENG Lei
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 1055-1068.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0102-0
Abstract35)   HTML4)    PDF (2858KB)(93)      

Litter and root activities may alter the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of soil respiration. However, existing studies have not provided a comprehensive understanding of the effects of litter and root carbon inputs on the Q10 of soil respiration in different seasons. In this study, we used the trench method under in situ conditions to measure the total soil respiration (Rtotal), litter-removed soil respiration (Rno-litter), root-removed soil respiration (Rno-root), and the decomposition of soil organic matter (i.e., both litter and root removal; RSOM) in different seasons of pioneer (Populus davidiana Dode) and climax (Quercus liaotungensis Mary) forests on the Loess Plateau, China. Soil temperature, soil moisture, litter biomass, fine root biomass, litter carbon, and root carbon were analyzed to obtain the drive mechanism of the Q10 of soil respiration in the two forests. The results showed that the Q10 of soil respiration exhibited seasonality, and the Q10 of soil respiration was higher in summer. The litter enhanced the Q10 of soil respiration considerably more than the root did. Soil temperature, soil moisture, fine root biomass, and litter carbon were the main factors used to predict the Q10 of different soil respiration components. These findings indicated that factors affecting the Q10 of soil respiration highly depended on soil temperature and soil moisture as well as related litter and root traits in the two forests, which can improve our understanding of soil carbon-climate feedback in global warming. The results of this study can provide reference for exploring soil respiration under temperate forest restoration.

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Effects of different types of guardrails on sand transportation of desert highway pavement
GAO Li, CHENG Jianjun, WANG Haifeng, YUAN Xinxin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 993-1008.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0030-z
Abstract33)   HTML5)    PDF (3492KB)(92)      

Guardrail, an important highway traffic safety facility, is mainly used to prevent vehicles from accidentally driving off the road and to ensure driving safety. Desert highway guardrails hinder the movement of wind-blown sand, resulting in the decline of sand transportation by the pavement and the deposition of sand gains on the pavement, and endangering traffic safety. To reveal the influence of guardrails on sand transportation of desert highway pavement, we tested the flow field and sand transport volume distribution around the concrete, W-beam, and cable guardrails under different wind velocities through wind tunnel simulation. Wind velocity attenuation coefficients, sand transportation quantity, and sand transportation efficiency are used to measure sand transportation of highway pavement. The results show that the sand transportation of highway pavement was closely related to the zoning characteristics of flow field and variation of wind velocity around the guardrails. The flow field of the concrete guardrail was divided into deceleration, acceleration, and vortex zones. The interaction between the W-beam guardrail and wind-blown sand was similar to that of lower wind deflector. Behind and under the plates, there were the vortex zone and acceleration zone, respectively. The acceleration zone was conducive to transporting sand on the pavement. The cable guardrail only caused wind velocity variability within the height range of guardrail, and there was no sand deposition on the highway pavement. When the cable, W-beam, and concrete guardrails were used, the total transportation quantities on the highway pavement were 423.53, 415.74, and 136.53 g/min, respectively, and sand transportation efficiencies were 99.31%, 91.25%, and 12.84%, respectively. From the perspective of effective sand transportation on the pavement, the cable guardrail should be preferred as a desert highway guardrail, followed by the W-beam guardrail, and the concrete guardrail is unsuitable. The study results provide theoretical basis for the optimal design of desert highway guardrails and the prevention of wind-blown sand disasters on the highway pavement.

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Research on wind erosion processes and controlling factors based on wind tunnel test and 3D laser scanning technology
YAN Ping, WANG Xiaoxu, ZHENG Shucheng, WANG Yong, LI Xiaomei
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 1009-1021.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0103-z
Abstract30)   HTML3)    PDF (2081KB)(89)      

The study of wind erosion processes is of great importance to the prevention and control of soil wind erosion. In this study, three structurally intact soil samples were collected from the steppe of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China and placed in a wind tunnel where they were subjected to six different wind speeds (10, 15, 17, 20, 25, and 30 m/s) to simulate wind erosion in the wind tunnel. After each test, the soil surfaces were scanned by a 3D laser scanner to create a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM), and the changes in wind erosion mass and microtopography were quantified. Based on this, we performed further analysis of wind erosion-controlling factors. The study results showed that the average measurement error between the 3D laser scanning method and weighing method was 6.23% for the three undisturbed soil samples. With increasing wind speed, the microtopography on the undisturbed soil surface first became smooth, and then fine stripes and pits gradually developed. In the initial stage of wind erosion processes, the ability of the soil to resist wind erosion was mainly affected by the soil hardness. In the late stage of wind erosion processes, the degree of soil erosion was mainly affected by soil organic matter and CaCO3 content. The results of this study are expected to provide a theoretical basis for soil wind erosion control and promote the application of 3D laser scanners in wind erosion monitoring.

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Separating emitted dust from the total suspension in airflow based on the characteristics of PM10 vertical concentration profiles on a Gobi surface in northwestern China
ZHANG Chunlai, WANG Xuesong, CEN Songbo, ZHENG Zhongquan Charlie, WANG Zhenting
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 589-603.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0066-0
Abstract71)   HTML9)    PDF (1695KB)(89)      

During aeolian processes, the two most critical factors related to dust emissions are soil particle and aggregate saltation, which greatly affect the vertical profiles of near-surface dust concentrations. In this study, we measured PM10 concentrations at four different heights (0.10, 0.50, 1.00 and 2.00 m) with and without continuous and simultaneous aeolian saltation processes on a Gobi surface in northwestern China from 31 March to 10 April, 2017. We found that the vertical concentration profiles of suspended PM10 matched the log-law model well when there was no aeolian saltation. For the erosion process with saltation, we divided the vertical concentration profiles of PM10 into the saltation-affected layer and the airflow-transport layer according to two different dust sources (i.e., locally emitted PM10 and upwind transported PM10). The transition height between the saltation-affected layer and the airflow-transport layer was not fixed and varied with saltation intensity. From this new perspective, we calculated the airflow-transport layer and the dust emission rate at different times during a wind erosion event occurred on 5 April 2017. We found that dust emissions during wind erosion are primarily controlled by saltation intensity, contributing little to PM10 concentrations above the ground surface compared to PM10 concentrations transported from upwind directions. As erosion progresses, the surface supply of erodible grains is the most crucial factor for saltation intensity. When there was a sufficient amount of erodible grains, there was a significant correlation among the friction velocity, saltation intensity and dust emission rate. However, when supply is limited by factors such as surface renewal or an increase in soil moisture, the friction velocity will not necessarily correlate with the other two factors. Therefore, for the Gobi surface, compared to limiting dust emissions from upwind directions, restricting the transport of suspended dust in its path is by far a more efficient and realistic option for small areas that are often exposed to dust storms. This study provides some theoretical basis for correctly estimating PM10 concentrations in the Gobi areas.

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Effects of mixed-based biochar on water infiltration and evaporation in aeolian sand soil
ZOU Yiping, ZHANG Shuyue, SHI Ziyue, ZHOU Huixin, ZHENG Haowei, HU Jiahui, MEI Jing, BAI Lu, JIA Jianli
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 374-389.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0060-6
Abstract52)   HTML4)    PDF (854KB)(89)      

Aeolian sandy soil in mining areas exhibits intense evaporation and poor water retention capacity. This study was designed to find a suitable biochar application method to improve soil water infiltration and minimize soil water evaporation for aeolian sand soil. Using the indoor soil column method, we studied the effects of three application patterns (A (0-20 cm was a mixed sample of mixed-based biochar and soil), B (0-10 cm was a mixed sample of mixed-based biochar and soil and 10-20 cm was soil), and C (0-10 cm was soil and 10-20 cm was a mixed sample of mixed-based biochar and soil)), four application amounts (0% (control, CK), 1%, 2%, and 4% of mixed-based biochar in dry soil), and two particle sizes (0.05-0.25 mm (S1) and <0.05 mm (S2)) of mixed-based biochar on water infiltration and evaporation of aeolian sandy soil. We separately used five infiltration models (the Philip, Kostiakov, Horton, USDA-NRCS (United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service), and Kostiakov-Lewis models) to fit cumulative infiltration and time. Compared with CK, the application of mixed-based biochar significantly reduced cumulative soil water infiltration. Under application patterns A, B, and C, the higher the application amount and the finer the particle size were, the lower the migration speed of the wetting front. With the same application amount, cumulative soil water infiltration under application pattern A was the lowest. Taking infiltration for 10 min as an example, the reductions of cumulative soil water infiltration under the treatments of A2%(S2), A4%(S1), A4%(S2), A1%(S1), C2%(S1), and B1%(S1) were higher than 30%, which met the requirements of loess soil hydraulic parameters suitable for plant growth. The five infiltration models well fitted the effects of the treatments of application pattern C and S1 particle size (R2>0.980), but the R2 values of the Horton model exceeded 0.990 for all treatments (except for the treatment B2%(S2)). Compared with CK, all other treatments reduced cumulative soil water infiltration, except for B4%(S2). With the same application amount, cumulative soil water evaporation difference between application patterns A and B was small. Treatments of application pattern C and S1 particle size caused a larger reduction in cumulative soil water evaporation. The reductions in cumulative soil water evaporation under the treatments of C4%(S1), C4%(S2), C2%(S1), and C2%(S2) were over 15.00%. Therefore, applying 2% of mixed-based biochar with S1 particle size to the underlying layer (10-20 cm) could improve soil water infiltration while minimizing soil water evaporation. Moreover, application pattern was the main factor affecting soil water infiltration and evaporation. Further, there were interactions among the three influencing factors in the infiltration process (application amount×particle size with the most important interaction), while there were no interactions among them in the evaporation process. The results of this study could contribute to the rational application of mixed-based biochar in aeolian sandy soil and the resource utilization of urban and agricultural wastes in mining areas.

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Scenario simulation of water retention services under land use/cover and climate changes: a case study of the Loess Plateau, China
SUN Dingzhao, LIANG Youjia, PENG Shouzhang
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 390-410.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0054-4
Abstract72)   HTML8)    PDF (3611KB)(89)      

Comprehensive assessments of ecosystem services in environments under the influences of human activities and climate change are critical for sustainable regional ecosystem management. Therefore, integrated interdisciplinary modelling has become a major focus of ecosystem service assessment. In this study, we established a model that integrates land use/cover change (LUCC), climate change, and water retention services to evaluate the spatial and temporal variations of water retention services in the Loess Plateau of China in the historical period (2000-2015) and in the future (2020-2050). An improved Markov-Cellular Automata (Markov-CA) model was used to simulate land use/land cover patterns, and ArcGIS 10.2 software was used to simulate and assess water retention services from 2000 to 2050 under six combined scenarios, including three land use/land cover scenarios (historical scenario (HS), ecological protection scenario (EPS), and urban expansion scenario (UES)) and two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, where RCP is the representative concentration pathway). LUCCs in the historical period (2000-2015) and in the future (2020-2050) are dominated by transformations among agricultural land, urban land and grassland. Urban land under UES increased significantly by 0.63×103 km2/a, which was higher than the increase of urban land under HS and EPS. In the Loess Plateau, water yield decreased by 17.20×106 mm and water retention increased by 0.09×106 mm in the historical period (2000-2015), especially in the Interior drainage zone and its surrounding areas. In the future (2020-2050), the pixel means of water yield is higher under RCP4.5 scenario (96.63 mm) than under RCP8.5 scenario (95.46 mm), and the pixel means of water retention is higher under RCP4.5 scenario (1.95 mm) than under RCP8.5 scenario (1.38 mm). RCP4.5-EPS shows the highest total water retention capacity on the plateau scale among the six combined scenarios, with the value of 1.27×106 mm. Ecological restoration projects in the Loess Plateau have enhanced soil and water retention. However, more attention needs to be paid not only to the simultaneous increase in water retention services and evapotranspiration but also to the type and layout of restored vegetation. Furthermore, urbanization needs to be controlled to prevent uncontrollable LUCCs and climate change. Our findings provide reference data for the regional water and land resources management and the sustainable development of socio-ecological systems in the Loess Plateau under LUCC and climate change scenarios.

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Water use characteristics of different pioneer shrubs at different ages in western Chinese Loess Plateau: Evidence from δ 2H offset correction
ZHANG Yu, ZHANG Mingjun, QU Deye, WANG Shengjie, Athanassios A ARGIRIOU, WANG Jiaxin, YANG Ye
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 653-672.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0018-8
Abstract69)   HTML4)    PDF (3889KB)(86)      

Caragana korshinskii Kom. and Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb. are pioneer shrubs for water and soil conservation, and for windbreak and sand fixation in arid and semi-arid areas. Understanding the water use characteristics of different pioneer shrubs at different ages is of great importance for their survival when extreme rainfall occurs. In recent years, the stable isotope tracing technique has been used in exploring the water use strategies of plants. However, the widespread δ2H offsets of stem water from its potential sources result in conflicting interpretations of water utilization of plants in arid and semi-arid areas. In this study, we used three sets of hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope data (δ2H and δ18O, corrected δ2H_c1 based on SW-excess and δ18O, and corrected δ2H_c2 based on -8.1‰ and δ18O) as inputs for the MixSIAR model to explore the water use characteristics of C. korshinskii and T. ramosissima at different ages and in response to rainfall. The results showed that δ2H_c1 and δ18O have the best performance, and the contribution rate of deep soil water was underestimated because of δ2H offset. During the dry periods, C. korshinskii and T. ramosissima at different ages both obtained mostly water from deeper soil layers. After rainfall, the proportions of surface (0-10 cm) and shallow (10-40 cm) soil water for C. korshinskii and T. ramosissima at different ages both increased. Nevertheless, there were different response mechanisms of these two plants for rainfall. In addition, C. korshinskii absorbed various potential water sources, while T. ramosissima only used deep water. These flexible water use characteristics of C. korshinskii and T. ramosissima might facilitate the coexistence of plants once extreme rainfall occurs. Thus, reasonable allocation of different plants may be a good vegetation restoration program in western Chinese Loess Plateau.

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Economic losses from reduced freshwater under future climate scenarios: An example from the Urumqi River, Tianshan Mountains
ZHANG Xueting, CHEN Rensheng, LIU Guohua
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 139-153.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0053-5
Abstract63)   HTML7)    PDF (1025KB)(85)      

As important freshwater resources in alpine basins, glaciers and snow cover tend to decline due to climate warming, thus affecting the amount of water available downstream and even regional economic development. However, impact assessments of the economic losses caused by reductions in freshwater supply are quite limited. This study aims to project changes in glacier meltwater and snowmelt of the Urumqi River in the Tianshan Mountains under future climate change scenarios (RCP2.6 (RCP, Representative Concentration Pathway), RCP4.5, and RCP8.5) by applying a hydrological model and estimate the economic losses from future meltwater reduction for industrial, agricultural, service, and domestic water uses combined with the present value method for the 2030s, 2050s, 2070s, and 2090s. The results indicate that total annual glacier meltwater and snowmelt will decrease by 65.6% and 74.5% under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios by the 2090s relative to the baseline period (1980-2010), respectively. Compared to the RCP2.6 scenario, the projected economic loss values of total water use from reduced glacier meltwater and snowmelt under the RCP8.5 scenario will increase by 435.10×106 and 537.20×106 CNY in the 2050s and 2090s, respectively, and the cumulative economic loss value for 2099 is approximately 2124.00×106 CNY. We also find that the industrial and agricultural sectors would likely face the largest and smallest economic losses, respectively. The economic loss value of snowmelt in different sectorial sectors is greater than that of glacier meltwater. These findings highlight the need for climate mitigation actions, industrial transformation, and rational water allocation to be considered in decision-making in the Tianshan Mountains in the future.

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Assessment of drought and its impact on winter wheat yield in the Chinese Loess Plateau
WANG Fengjiao, FU Bojie, LIANG Wei, JIN Zhao, ZHANG Liwei, YAN Jianwu, FU Shuyi, GOU Fen
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (7): 771-786.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0021-0
Abstract32)   HTML5)    PDF (2254KB)(84)      

Drought has pronounced and immediate impacts on agricultural production, especially in semi-arid and arid rainfed agricultural regions. Quantification of drought and its impact on crop yield is essential to agricultural water resource management and food security. We investigated drought and its impact on winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yield in the Chinese Loess Plateau from 2001 to 2015. Specifically, we performed a varimax rotated principal component analysis on drought severity index (DSI) separately for four winter wheat growth periods: pre-sowing growth period (PG), early growth period (EG), middle growth period (MG), and late growth period (LG), resulting in three major subregional DSI dynamics for each growth period. The county-level projections of these major dynamics were then used to evaluate the growth period-specific impacts of DSI on winter wheat yields by using multiple linear regression analysis. Our results showed that the growth period-specific subregions had different major DSI dynamics. During PG, the northwestern area exhibited a rapid wetting trend, while small areas in the south showed a slight drying trend. The remaining subregions fluctuated between dryness and wetness. During EG, the northeastern and western areas exhibited a mild wetting trend. The remaining subregions did not display clear wetting or drying trends. During MG, the eastern and southwestern areas showed slight drying and wetting trends, respectively. The subregions scattered in the north and south had a significant wetting trend. During LG, large areas in the east and west exhibited wetting trends, whereas small parts in south-central area had a slight drying trend. Most counties in the north showed significant and slight wetting trends during PG, EG, and LG, whereas a few southwestern counties exhibited significant drying trends during PG and MG. Our analysis identified close and positive relationships between yields and DSI during LG, and revealed that almost all of the counties were vulnerable to drought. Similar but less strong relationships existed for MG, in which northeastern and eastern counties were more drought-vulnerable than other counties. In contrast, a few drought-sensitive counties were mainly located in the southwestern and eastern areas during PG, and in the northeastern corner of the study region during EG. Overall, our study dissociated growth period-specific and spatial location-specific impacts of drought on winter wheat yield, and might contribute to a better understanding of monitoring and early warning of yield loss.

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Water utilization of typical plant communities in desert steppe, China
CHEN Juan, WANG Xing, SONG Naiping, WANG Qixue, WU Xudong
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 1038-1054.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0031-y
Abstract42)   HTML7)    PDF (2791KB)(84)      

Water is a limiting factor in the restoration and construction of desert steppe. Exploring plant water sources is necessary to understand soil-plant interactions and species coexistence; however, water sources of major plant communities within the desert steppe of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China remain poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the water uptake of plants in four typical communities: Agropyron mongolicum Keng.; Sophora alopecuroids Linn.; Stipa breviflora Griseb., and Achnatherum splendens (Trin.) Nevski communities. Stable isotopes δD and δ18O in the xylem of plant and soil water at different soil depths were analyzed. An IsoSource model was used to determine the soil depths from which plants obtained water. Results showed that A. mongolicum community obtained water predominantly from 0-20 and 40-80 cm depth, S. alopecuroids community from 0-20 cm depth, S. breviflora community from 0-40 cm depth, and A. splendens community from 0-20 and 80-140 cm depths. S. alopecuroides had a wider range of soil depths for water extraction, i.e., utilizing different water sources depending on habitat, and the plasticity of its water uptake pattern determined its role in different communities. Water source of plants relayed heavily on the distribution of their roots. Competition for soil water exists between different plant life forms in the sierozem habitat (A. mongolicum, S. alopecuroids, and S. breviflora communities), and in the sandy soil habitat (A. splendens community). The use of soil water by A. splendens community is more spatially differentiated, and shrubs and herbs can coexist stably. Under the pattern of extended drought period in the future, sierozem habitat may be more favorable for the formation of a dominant monoculture community type of perennial fibrous plants. In aeolian sandy soil habitat, A. splendens had a strong competitive advantage, and the growth of shallow-rooted plants was easily suppressed.

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Wind regimes and associated sand dune types in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert, China
MENG Nan, WANG Nai'ang, ZHAO Liqiang, NIU Zhenmin, SUN Jiaqi
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 473-489.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0063-3
Abstract63)   HTML8)    PDF (1902KB)(83)      

Wind controls the formation and development of sand dunes. Therefore, understanding the wind regimes is necessary in sand dune research. In this study, we combined the wind data from 2017 to 2019 at four meteorological stations (Cherigele and Wuertabulage stations in the lake basins, and Yikeri and Sumujilin stations on the top of sand dunes) in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert in China, with high resolution Google Earth images to analyze the correlation between the wind energy environments and dune morphology. The results of data analysis indicated that both the wind direction and sand drift intensity exhibited notable spatial and temporal variations. The highest level of wind activity was observed in spring. Northwesterly and northeasterly winds were the dominant in the Badain Jaran Desert. At the Cherigele, Wuertabulage, and Yikeri stations, the drift potential (DP) was below 200.00 vector units (VU). The wind energy environments in most areas could be classified as low-energy environments. The resultant drift direction differed at different stations and in different seasons, but the overall direction was mainly the southeast. The resultant drift potential (RDP)/DP ratio was greater than 0.30 in most parts of the study area, suggesting that the wind regimes mainly exhibited unimodal or bimodal characteristics. Differences between the thermodynamic properties and the unique landscape settings of lakes and sand dunes could alter the local circulation and intensify the complexity of the wind regimes. The wind regimes were weaker in the lake basins than on the top of sand dunes. Transverse dunes were the most dominant types of sand dunes in the study area, and the wind regimes at most stations were consistent with sand dune types. Wind was thus the main dynamic factor affecting the formation of sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert BJD. The results of this study are important for understanding the relationship between the wind regimes and aeolian landforms of the dune field in the deserts.

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Impact of land use/land cover types on surface humidity in northern China in the early 21 st century
JIN Junfang, YIN Shuyan, YIN Hanmin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (7): 705-718.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0055-3
Abstract70)   HTML13)    PDF (1567KB)(78)      

In the context of global change, it is essential to promote the rational development and utilization of land resources, improve the quality of regional ecological environment, and promote the harmonious development of human and nature for the regional sustainability. We identified land use/land cover types in northern China from 2001 to 2018 with ENVI images and ArcGIS software. Meteorological data were selected from 292 stations in northern China, the potential evapotranspiration was calculated with the Penman-Monteith formula, and reanalysis humidity and observed humidity data were obtained. The reanalysis minus observation (RMO, i.e., the difference between reanalysis humidity and observed humidity) can effectively characterize the impact of different land use/land cover types (forestland, grassland, cultivated land, construction land, water body and unused land) on surface humidity in northern China in the early 21st century. The results showed that from 2001 to 2018, the area of forestland expanded (increasing by approximately 1.80×104 km2), while that of unused land reduced (decreasing by approximately 5.15×104 km2), and the regional ecological environment was improved. Consequently, land surface in most areas of northern China tended to be wetter. The contributions of land use/land cover types to surface humidity changes were related to the quality of the regional ecological environment. The contributions of the six land use/land cover types to surface humidity were the highest in northeastern region of northern China, with a better ecological environment, and the lowest in northwestern region, with a fragile ecological environment. Surface humidity was closely related to the variation in regional vegetation coverage; when the regional vegetation coverage with positive (negative) contributions expanded (reduced), the land surface became wetter. The positive contributions of forestland and water body to surface humidity were the greatest. Unused land and construction land were associated with the most serious negative contributions to surface humidity. Affected by the regional distribution pattern of vegetation, surface humidity in different seasons decreased from east to west in northern China. The seasonal variation in surface humidity was closely related to the growth of vegetation: surface humidity was the highest in summer, followed by autumn and spring, and the lowest in winter. According to the results, surface humidity is expected to increase in northeastern region of northern China, decrease in northern region, and likely increase in northwestern region.

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