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Growth and physiological responses of Agriophyllum squarrosum to sand burial stress
Jin LI, Hao QU, HaLin ZHAO, RuiLian ZHOU, JianYing YUN, ChengChen PAN
Journal of Arid Land    2014, 6 (6): 771-781.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0033-5
Abstract1362)      PDF(pc) (416KB)(2737)       Save
Agriophyllum squarrosum is an annual desert plant widely distributed on mobile and semi-mobile dunes in all the sandy deserts of China. We studied the growth and physiological properties of A. squarrosum seedlings under different sand burial depths in 2010 and 2011 at Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia to understand the ability and mechanism that A. squarrosum withstands sand burial. The results showed that A. squarrosum had a strong ability to withstand sand burial. Its survival rate, plant height and biomass increased significantly at a burial depth 25% of seedling height and decreased significantly only when the burial depth exceeded the height of the seedlings; some plants still survived even if the burial depth reached 266% of a seedling height. The malondialdehyde (MDA) content and membrane permeability of the plant did not change significantly as long as the burial depth was not greater than the seedling height; lipid peroxidation increased and cell membranes were damaged if the burial depth was increased further. When subjected to sand burial stress, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities and free proline content increased in the seedlings, while the catalase (CAT) activity and soluble sugar content decreased. Sand burial did not lead to water stress. Reductions in photosynthetic area and cell membrane damage caused by sand burial may be the major mechanisms increasing mortality and inhibiting growth of the seedling. But the increases in SOD and POD activities and proline content must play a certain role in reducing sand burial damage.
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Estimation of meteorological drought indices based on AgMERRA precipitation data and station-observed precipitation data
SALEHNIA Nasrin, ALIZADEH Amin, SANAEINEJAD Hossein, BANNAYAN Mohammad, ZARRIN Azar, HOOGENBOOM Gerrit
Journal of Arid Land    2017, 9 (6): 797-809.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0070-y
Abstract605)   HTML21)    PDF(pc) (475KB)(4921)       Save

Meteorological drought is a natural hazard that can occur under all climatic regimes. Monitoring the drought is a vital and important part of predicting and analyzing drought impacts. Because no single index can represent all facets of meteorological drought, we took a multi-index approach for drought monitoring in this study. We assessed the ability of eight precipitation-based drought indices (SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index), PNI (Percent of Normal Index), DI (Deciles index), EDI (Effective drought index), CZI (China-Z index), MCZI (Modified CZI), RAI (Rainfall Anomaly Index), and ZSI (Z-score Index)) calculated from the station-observed precipitation data and the AgMERRA gridded precipitation data to assess historical drought events during the period 1987-2010 for the Kashafrood Basin of Iran. We also presented the Degree of Dryness Index (DDI) for comparing the intensities of different drought categories in each year of the study period (1987-2010). In general, the correlations among drought indices calculated from the AgMERRA precipitation data were higher than those derived from the station-observed precipitation data. All indices indicated the most severe droughts for the study period occurred in 2001 and 2008. Regardless of data input source, SPI, PNI, and DI were highly inter-correlated (R2=0.99). Furthermore, the higher correlations (R2=0.99) were also found between CZI and MCZI, and between ZSI and RAI. All indices were able to track drought intensity, but EDI and RAI showed higher DDI values compared with the other indices. Based on the strong correlation among drought indices derived from the AgMERRA precipitation data and from the station-observed precipitation data, we suggest that the AgMERRA precipitation data can be accepted to fill the gaps existed in the station-observed precipitation data in future studies in Iran. In addition, if tested by station-observed precipitation data, the AgMERRA precipitation data may be used for the data-lacking areas.

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Impact factors of soil wind erosion in the center of Taklimakan Desert
Qing HE, XingHua YANG, Ali Mamtimin, ShiHao TANG
Journal of Arid Land    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00009
Abstract3576)      PDF(pc) (239KB)(4993)       Save
The development and progress of soil wind erosion are influenced by the factors of climate, terrain, soil and vegetation, etc. This paper, taking Tazhong region, a town in the centre of the Taklimakan Desert, as an example and using comparative and quantitative methods, discussed the effects of climate, surface roughness (including vegetation cover) and surface soil properties on soil wind erosion. The results showed that the climate factor index C of annual wind erosion is 28.3, while the maximum of C is 13.9 in summer and it is only 0.7 in winter. The value of C has a very good exponential relationship with the wind speed. In Tazhong region, the surface roughness height is relatively small with a mean of 6.32 × 10-5 m, which is in favor of soil wind erosion. The wind erosion is further enhanced by its sandy soil types, soil particle size, lacking of vegetation and low soil moisture content. The present situation of soil wind erosion is the result of concurrent effects of climate, vegetation and surface soil properties.
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Modeling spatio-temporal distribution of soil moisture by deep learning-based cellular automata model
SONG Xiaodong, ZHANG Ganlin, LIU Feng, LI Decheng, ZHAO Yuguo, YANG Jinling
Journal of Arid Land    2016, 8 (5): 734-748.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0049-0
Abstract1437)      PDF(pc) (524KB)(2238)       Save
Soil moisture content (SMC) is a key hydrological parameter in agriculture, meteorology and climate change, and understanding of spatio-temporal distributions of SMC in farmlands is important to address the precise irrigation scheduling. However, the hybrid interaction of static and dynamic environmental parameters makes it particularly difficult to accurately and reliably model the distribution of SMC. At present, deep learning wins numerous contests in machine learning and hence deep belief network (DBN), a breakthrough in deep learning is trained to extract the transition functions for the simulation of the cell state changes. In this study, we used a novel macroscopic cellular automata (MCA) model by combining DBN to predict the SMC over an irrigated corn field (an area of 22 km 2) in the Zhangye oasis, Northwest China. Static and dynamic environmental variables were prepared with regard to the complex hydrological processes. The widely used neural network, multi-layer perceptron (MLP), was utilized for comparison to DBN. The hybrid models (MLP-MCA and DBN-MCA) were calibrated and validated on SMC data within four months, i.e. June to September 2012, which were automatically observed by a wireless sensor network (WSN). Compared with MLP-MCA, the DBN-MCA model led to a decrease in root mean squared error (RMSE) by 18%. Thus, the differences of prediction errors increased due to the propagating errors of variables, difficulties of knowing soil properties and recording irrigation amount in practice. The sequential Gaussian simulation (sGs) was performed to assess the uncertainty of soil moisture estimations. Calculated with a threshold of SMC for each grid cell, the local uncertainty of simulated results in the post processing suggested that the probability of SMC less than 25% will be difference in different areas at different time periods. The current results showed that the DBN-MCA model performs better than the MLP-MCA model, and the DBN-MCA model provides a powerful tool for predicting SMC in highly non-linear forms. Moreover, because modeling soil moisture by using environmental variables is gaining increasing popularity, DBN techniques could contribute a lot to enhancing the calibration of MCA-based SMC estimations and hence provide an alternative approach for SMC monitoring in irrigation systems on the basis of canals.
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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
Abstract57)   HTML14)    PDF(pc) (945KB)(477)       Save

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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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
Abstract91)   HTML23)    PDF(pc) (1483KB)(462)       Save

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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Prediction of meteorological drought in arid and semi-arid regions using PDSI and SDSM: a case study in Fars Province, Iran
Sheida DEHGHAN, Nasrin SALEHNIA, Nasrin SAYARI, Bahram BAKHTIARI
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (2): 318-330.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0095-5
Abstract434)   HTML15)    PDF(pc) (921KB)(508)       Save

Drought is one of the most significant environmental disasters, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Drought indices as a tool for management practices seeking to deal with the drought phenomenon are widely used around the world. One of these indicators is the Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), which is used in many parts of the world to assess the drought situation and continuation. In this study, the drought state of Fars Province in Iran was evaluated by using the PDSI over 1995-2014 according to meteorological data from six weather stations in the province. A statistical downscaling model (SDSM) was used to apply the output results of the general circulation model in Fars Province. To implement data processing and prediction of climate data, a statistical period 1995-2014 was considered as the monitoring period, and a statistical period 2019-2048 was for the prediction period. The results revealed that there is a good agreement between the simulated precipitation (R2>0.63; R2, determination coefficient; MAE<0.52; MAE, mean absolute error; RMSE<0.56; RMSE, Root Mean Squared Error) and temperature (R2>0.95, MAE<1.74, and RMSE<1.78) with the observed data from the stations. The results of the drought monitoring model presented that dry periods would increase over the next three decades as compared to the historical data. The studies showed the highest drought in the meteorological stations Abadeh and Lar during the prediction period under two future scenarios representative concentration pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). According to the results of the validation periods and efficiency criteria, we suggest that the SDSM is a proper tool for predicting drought in arid and semi-arid regions.

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Hydrological response to land use and land cover changes in a sub-watershed of West Liaohe River Basin, China
XiaoLi YANG, LiLiang REN, Yi LIU, DongLai JIAO, ShanHu JIANG
Journal of Arid Land    2014, 6 (6): 678-689.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0026-4
Abstract1780)      PDF(pc) (842KB)(2392)       Save
In recent years, the streamflow of the Laohahe Basin in China showed a dramatic decrease during the rainy season as a result of climate change and/or human activities. The objective of this work was to document significant streamflow changes caused by land use and land cover (LULC) changes and to quantify the impacts of the observed changes in Laohahe Basin. In the study area, the observed streamflow has been influenced by LULC changes, dams, and irrigation from rivers, industry, livestock and human consumption. Most importantly, the growth of population and gross domestic product (GDP) accompanied by the growth in industrial and agricultural activities, which led to LULC changes with increased residential land and cropland and decreased grassland since 2000s. Statistical methods and Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model were used to estimate the effects of climate change and LULC changes on streamflow and evaportranspiration (ET). First, the streamflow data of the study area were divided into three sub-periods according to the Pettitt test. The hydrological process was then simulated by VIC model from 1964 to 2009. Furthermore, we compared the simulated results based on land use scenarios in 1989, 1999 and 2007, respectively for exploring the effect of LULC changes on the spatio-temporal distribution of streamflow and ET in the Laohahe Basin. The results suggest that, accompanied with climate change, the LULC changes and human water consumption appeared to be the most likely factors contributing to the significant reduction in streamflow in the Laohahe Basin by 64% from1999 to 2009.
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A system dynamics approach for water resources policy analysis in arid land: a model for Manas River Basin
ShanShan DAI, LanHai LI, HongGang XU, XiangLiang PAN, XueMei LI
Journal of Arid Land    2013, 5 (1): 118-131.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0147-1
Abstract2950)      PDF(pc) (310KB)(2767)       Save
The Manas River Basin in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, similar to other arid regions, is facing water constraints which challenge decision-makers as to how to rationally allocate the available water resources to meet the demands from industries and natural ecosystems. Policies which integrate the supply and demand are needed to address the water stress issues. An object-oriented system dynamics model was developed to capture the interrelationships between water availability and increasing water demands from the growth of industries, agri-cultural production and the population through modeling the decision-making process of the water exploration ex-plicitly, in which water stress is used as a major indicator. The model is composed of four sectors: 1) natural surface and groundwater resources; 2) water demand; 3) the water exploitation process, including the decision to build reservoirs, canals and pumps; 4) water stress to which political and social systems respond through increasing the supply, limiting the growth or improving the water use efficiency. The model was calibrated using data from 1949 to 2009 for population growth, irrigated land area, industry output, perceived water stress, groundwater resources availability and the drying-out process of Manas River; and simulations were carried out from 2010 to 2050 on an annual time step. The comparison of results from calibration and observation showed that the model corresponds to observed behavior, and the simulated values fit the observed data and trends accurately. Sensitivity analysis showed that the model is robust to changes in model parameters related to population growth, land reclamation, pumping capacity and capital contribution to industry development capacity. Six scenarios were designed to inves-tigate the effectiveness of policy options in the area of reservoir relocation, urban water recycling, water demand control and groundwater pumping control. The simulation runs demonstrated that the technical solutions for im-proving water availability and water use efficiency are not sustainable. Acknowledging the carrying capacity of water resources and eliminating a growth-orientated value system are crucial for the sustainability of the Manas River Basin.
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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
Abstract76)   HTML3)    PDF(pc) (2546KB)(411)       Save

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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Investigation of crop evapotranspiration and irrigation water requirement in the lower Amu Darya River Basin, Central Asia
Durdiev KHAYDAR, CHEN Xi, HUANG Yue, Makhmudov ILKHOM, LIU Tie, Ochege FRIDAY, Abdullaev FARKHOD, Gafforov KHUSEN, Omarakunova GULKAIYR
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (1): 23-39.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0054-9
Abstract52)   HTML8)    PDF(pc) (1742KB)(406)       Save

High water consumption and inefficient irrigation management in the agriculture sector of the middle and lower reaches of the Amu Darya River Basin (ADRB) have significantly influenced the gradual shrinking of the Aral Sea and its ecosystem. In this study, we investigated the crop water consumption in the growing seasons and the irrigation water requirement for different crop types in the lower ADRB during 2004-2017. We applied the FAO Penman-Monteith method to estimate reference evapotranspiration (ET0) based on daily climatic data collected from four meteorological stations. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) of specific crop types was calculated by the crop coefficient. Then, we analyzed the net irrigation requirement (NIR) based on the effective precipitation with crop water requirements. The results indicated that the lowest monthly ET0 values in the lower ADRB were found in December (18.2 mm) and January (16.0 mm), and the highest monthly ET0 values were found in June and July, with similar values of 211.6 mm. The annual ETc reached to 887.2, 1002.1, and 492.0 mm for cotton, rice, and wheat, respectively. The average regional NIR ranged from 514.9 to 715.0 mm in the 10 Irrigation System Management Organizations (UISs) in the study area, while the total required irrigation volume for the whole region ranged from 4.2×109 to 11.6×109 m3 during 2004-2017. The percentages of NIR in SIW (surface irrigation water) ranged from 46.4% to 65.2% during the study period, with the exceptions of the drought years of 2008 and 2011, in which there was a significantly less runoff in the Amu Darya River. This study provides an overview for local water authorities to achieve optimal regional water allocation in the study area.

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Identification of sand and dust storm source areas in Iran
CAO Hui, LIU Jian, WANG Guizhou, YANG Guang, LUO Lei
Journal of Arid Land    2015, 7 (5): 567-578.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0127-8
Abstract1530)      PDF(pc) (485KB)(4181)       Save
Sand and dust storms (SDS) are common phenomena in arid and semi-arid areas. In recent years, SDS frequencies and intensities have increased significantly in Iran. A research on SDS sources is important for understanding the mechanisms of dust generation and assessing its socio-economic and environmental impacts. In this paper, we developed a new approach to identify SDS source areas in Iran using a combination of nine related datasets, namely drought events, temperature, precipitation, location of sandy soils, SDS frequency, human-induced soil degradation (HISD), human influence index (HII), rain use efficiency (RUE) and net primary productivity (NPP) loss. To identify SDS source areas, we firstly normalized these datasets under uniform criteria including layer reprojection using Lambert conformal conic projection, data conversion from shapefile to raster, Min-Max Normalization with data range from 0 to 1, and data interpolation by Kriging and images resampling (resolution of 1 km). After that, a score map for the possibility of SDS sources was generated through overlaying multiple datasets under average weight allocation criterion, in which each item obtained weight equally. In the score map, the higher the score, the more possible a specific area could be regarded as SDS source area. Exceptions mostly came from large cities, like Tehran and Isfahan. As a result, final SDS source areas were mapped out, and Al-Howizeh/Al-Azim marshes and Sistan Basin were identified as main SDS source areas in Iran. The SDS source area in Al-Howizeh/Al-Azim marshes still keeps expanding. In addition, Al-Howizeh/Al-Azim marshes are now suffering rapid land degradation due to natural and human-induced factors and might totally vanish in the near future. Sistan Basin also demonstrates the impacts of soil degradation and wind erosion. With appropriate intensity, duration, wind speed and altitude of the dust storms, sand particles uplifting from this area might have developed into extreme dust storms, especially during the summer.
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A spatial-explicit dynamic vegetation model that couples carbon, water, and nitrogen processes for arid and semi-arid ecosystems
Chi ZHANG, ChaoFan LI, Xi CHEN, GePing LUO, LongHui LI, XiaoYu LI, Yan YAN, Hua SHAO
Journal of Arid Land    2013, 5 (1): 102-117.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0146-2
Abstract2885)      PDF(pc) (1107KB)(2934)       Save
Arid and semiarid ecosystems, or dryland, are important to global biogeochemical cycles. Dryland’s community structure and vegetation dynamics as well as biogeochemical cycles are sensitive to changes in climate and atmospheric composition. Vegetation dynamic models has been applied in global change studies, but the com-plex interactions among the carbon (C), water, and nitrogen (N) cycles have not been adequately addressed in the current models. In this study, a process-based vegetation dynamic model was developed to study the responses of dryland ecosystems to environmental changes, emphasizing on the interactions among the C, water, and N proc-esses. To address the interactions between the C and water processes, it not only considers the effects of annual precipitation on vegetation distribution and soil moisture on organic matter (SOM) decomposition, but also explicitly models root competition for water and the water compensation processes. To address the interactions between C and N processes, it models the soil inorganic mater processes, such as N mineralization/immobilization, denitrifica-tion/nitrification, and N leaching, as well as the root competition for soil N. The model was parameterized for major plant functional types and evaluated against field observations.
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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
Abstract47)   HTML10)    PDF(pc) (2750KB)(379)       Save

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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Monitoring the impact of climate change andhuman activities on grassland vegetation dynamics in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateauof China during 2000-2015
Qinli XIONG, Yang XIAO, Waseem A HALMY Marwa, A DAKHIL Mohammed, Pinghan LIANG, Chenggang LIU, Lin ZHANG, PANDEY Bikram, Kaiwen PAN, B EL KAFRAWAY Sameh, Jun CHEN
Journal of Arid Land    2019, 11 (5): 637-651.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0061-2
Abstract1016)   HTML48)    PDF(pc) (1276KB)(913)       Save

Climate change and human activities can influence vegetation net primary productivity (NPP), a key component of natural ecosystems. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China, in spite of its significant natural and cultural values, is one of the most susceptible regions to climate change and human disturbancesin the world. To assess the impact of climate change and human activities on vegetation dynamics in the grassland ecosystems ofthe northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we applied a time-series trend analysis to normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) datasets from 2000 to 2015 and compared these spatiotemporal variations with trends in climatic variables over the same time period. The constrained ordination approach (redundancy analysis) was used to determine which climatic variables or human-related factors mostly in?uenced the variation of NDVI. Furthermore, in order to determine whether current conservation measures and programs are effectivein ecological protection and reconstruction, we divided the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau into two parts: the Three-River Headwater conservation area (TRH zone) in the south and the non-conservation area (NTRH zone) in the north. The results indicatedan overall (73.32%)increasing trend of vegetation NPP in grasslands throughout the study area. During the period 2000-2015, NDVI in the TRH and NTRH zones increased at the rates of 0.0015/aand 0.0020/a, respectively.Specifically, precipitation accounted for 9.2% of the total variation in NDVI, while temperature accounted for 13.4%. In addition, variation in vegetation NPP of grasslands responded not only to long- and short-term changes in climate, as conceptualized in non-equilibrium theory, but also to the impact of human activities and their associated perturbations. The redundancy analysis successfully separated the relative contributions of climate change and human activities, of whichvillage populationand agricultural gross domestic product were the two most important contributors to the NDVI changes, explaining 17.8% and 17.1% of the total variationof NDVI (with the total contribution >30.0%), respectively. The total contributionpercentages of climate change and human activitiesto the NDVI variation were27.5% and 34.9%, respectively, inthe northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Finally, our study shows that the grassland restoration in the study area was enhanced by protection measures and programs in the TRH zone, which explained 7.6% of the total variation in NDVI.

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Rehabilitation of degraded areas in northeastern Patagonia, Argentina: Effects of environmental conditions and plant functional traits on performance of native woody species
Juan M ZEBERIO, Carolina A PéREZ
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (4): 653-665.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0021-x
Abstract50)   HTML4)    PDF(pc) (518KB)(428)       Save

Degradation processes affect a vast area of arid and semi-arid lands around the world and damage the environment and people′s health. Degradation processes are driven by human productive activities that cause direct and indirect effects on natural resources, such as species extinction at regional scale, reduction and elimination of vegetation cover, soil erosion, etc. In this context, ecological rehabilitation is an important tool to recover key aspects of the degraded ecosystem. Rehabilitation trials rely on the use of native plant species with characteristics that allow them to obtain high survival and growth rates. The aim of this work was to assess the survival and growth of native woody species in degraded areas of northeastern Patagonia and relate them to plant functional traits and environmental variables. We observed high early and late survival rates, and growth rates in Prosopis flexuosa DC. var. depressa F.A. Roig and Schinus johnstonii F.A. Barkley, and low values in Condalia microphylla Cav. and Geoffroea decorticans (Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.) Burkart. Early survival rates were positively associated with specific leaf area (SLA) and precipitation, but negatively associated with wood density, the maximum mean temperature of the warmest month and the minimum mean temperature of the coldest month. Late survival rates were positively associated with SLA and soil organic matter, but negatively associated with plant height and precipitation. The temperature had a positive effect on late survival rates once the plants overcame the critical period of the first summer after they were transplanted to the field. Prosopis flexuosa and S. johnstonii were the most successful species in our study. This could be due to their functional traits that allow these species to acclimatize to the local environment. Further research should focus on C. microphylla and G. decorticans to determine how they relate to productive conditions, acclimation to environmental stress, auto-ecology and potential use in ecological rehabilitation trials.

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Freeze-thaw effects on erosion process in loess slope under simulated rainfall
SU Yuanyi, LI Peng, REN Zongping, XIAO Lie, ZHANG Hui
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 937-949.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0106-6
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Seasonal freeze-thaw processes have led to severe soil erosion in the middle and high latitudes. The area affected by freeze-thaw erosion in China exceeds 13% of the national territory. So understanding the effect of freeze-thaw on erosion process is of great significance for soil and water conservation as well as for ecological engineering. In this study, we designed simulated rainfall experiments to investigate soil erosion processes under two soil conditions, unfrozen slope (UFS) and frozen slope (FS), and three rainfall intensities of 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2 mm/min. The results showed that the initial runoff time of FS occurred much earlier than that of the UFS. Under the same rainfall intensity, the runoff of FS is 1.17-1.26 times that of UFS; and the sediment yield of FS is 6.48-10.49 times that of UFS. With increasing rainfall time, rills were produced on the slope. After the appearance of the rills, the sediment yield on the FS accounts for 74%-86% of the total sediment yield. Rill erosion was the main reason for the increase in soil erosion rate on FS, and the reduction in water percolation resulting from frozen layers was one of the important factors leading to the advancement of rills on slope. A linear relationship existed between the cumulative runoff and the sediment yield of UFS and FS (R2>0.97, P<0.01). The average mean weight diameter (MWD) on the slope erosion particles was as follows: UFS0.9 (73.84 μm)>FS0.6 (72.30 μm)>UFS1.2 (72.23 μm)>substrate (71.23 μm)>FS1.2 (71.06 μm)>FS0.9 (70.72 μm). During the early stage of the rainfall, the MWD of the FS was relatively large. However, during the middle to late rainfall, the particle composition gradually approached that of the soil substrate. Under different rainfall intensities, the mean soil erodibility (MK) of the FS was 7.22 times that of the UFS. The ratio of the mean regression coefficient C2 (MC2) between FS and UFS was roughly correspondent with MK. Therefore, the parameter C2 can be used to evaluate soil erodibility after the appearance of the rills. This article explored the influence mechanism of freeze-thaw effects on loess soil erosion and provided a theoretical basis for further studies on soil erosion in the loess hilly regions.

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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
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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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Saline dust storms and their ecological impacts in arid regions
Jilili Abuduwaili, DongWei LIU, GuangYang WU
Journal of Arid Land    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00144
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In many arid and semiarid regions, saline playas represent a significant source of unconsolidated sediments available for aeolian transport, and severe saline dust storms occur frequently due to human disturbance. In this study, saline dust storms are reviewed systematically from the aspects of concept, general characteristics, conditions of occurrence, distribution and ecological impact. Our researches showed that saline dust storms are a kind of chemical dust storm originating in dry lake beds in arid and semiarid regions; large areas of unconsolidated saline playa sediments and frequent strong winds are the basic factors to saline dust storm occurrence; there are differentiation characteristics in deposition flux and chemical composition with wind-blown distance during saline dust storm diffusion; and saline dust storm diffusion to some extent increases glacier melt and results in soil salinization in arid regions. An understanding of saline dust storms is important to guide disaster prevention and ecological rehabilitation.
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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
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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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Soil salt leaching under different irrigation regimes: HYDRUS-1D modelling and analysis
WenZhi ZENG, Chi XU, JingWei WU, JieSheng HUANG
Journal of Arid Land    2014, 6 (1): 44-58.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0176-9
Abstract2897)      PDF(pc) (1659KB)(3052)       Save
Field irrigation experiments were conducted in the Hetao Irrigation District of Inner Mongolia, China, to study the effects of irrigation regimes on salt leaching in the soil profile. The data were used to calibrate and validate the HYDRUS-1D model. The results demonstrated that the model can accurately simulate the water and salt dynamics in the soil profile. The HYDRUS-1D model was then used to simulate 15 distinct irrigation scenarios. The results of the simulation indicated that irrigation amount did not have a significant effect on soil water storage but that increases in irrigation amount could accelerate salt leaching. However, when the irrigation amount was larger than 20 cm, the acceleration was not obvious. Compared with irrigating only once, intermittent irrigation had a better effect on increasing soil water storage and salt leaching, but excessive irrigation times and intervals did not improve salt leaching. In addition, we found that the irrigation regime of 20 cm, irrigated twice at 1-d intervals, might significantly increase salt leaching in the plough layer and decrease the risks of deep seepage and groundwater contamination.
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Explaining patterns of species dominance in the shrub steppe systems of the Junggar Basin (China) and Great Basin (USA)
Wendy TROWBRIDGE, Thomas ALBRIGHT, Scot FERGUSON, Jun LI, Barry PERRYMAN, Robert S NOWAK
Journal of Arid Land    2013, 5 (4): 415-427.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0174-y
Abstract2285)      PDF(pc) (2415KB)(2205)       Save
Natural scientists have long recognized that regions with similar climate tend to have similar vegetation. Preliminary observations suggest that shrub steppe communities of the western US and western China may be two such regions with similar annual precipitation, temperature, land use, and vegetation. These cold dry shrub steppes have traditionally been grazed. Despite these similarities, patterns of species dominance are different. Annual species that are rare in China become dominant when introduced to the United States. The objective of this study was to investigate how climate, land use and community structure may explain these patterns of species dominance. Community structure and grazing intensity were measured at 5 sites in each region. This information was combined with a broader review of the literature describing the history of grazing in both basins. Climate was analyzed based on a spatially-gridded, interpolated weather time series (monthly records) and climatological summary (1961–1990 mean conditions) data set from the Climate Research Unit. We found that differences in summer precipitation and winter minimum temperature, land use intensity, and shrub size may all contribute to the dominance of annual species in the Great Basin, particularly Bromus tectorum. In particular, previous work indicates that summer precipitation and winter temperature drive the distribution of Bromus tectorum in the Great Basin. As a result, sites with wet summers and cold springs, similar to the Chinese sites, would not be expected to be dominated by Bromus tectorum. A history of more intense grazing of the Chinese sites, as described in the literature, also is likely to decrease fire frequency, and decreases litter and shrub dominance, all of which have been demonstrated to be important in Bromus tectorum establishment and ultimate dominance. Further research is necessary to determine if other annuals that follow the same pattern of scarcity in the Junggar Basin and dominance in the Great Basin are responding to the same influences.
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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
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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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Biofilter: a promising tool for mitigating methane emission from manure storage
Qiang HUANG, Qiang ZHANG, Nazim CICEK, Danny MANN
Journal of Arid Land    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2011.00061
Abstract2711)      PDF(pc) (177KB)(4501)       Save
Liquid manure storage may contribute to methane (CH4) emission and this emission can be greatly reduced if appropriate management practices are applied. Biofiltration has been used in other fields for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emission (e.g., landfill) and shown promise for mitigation CH4 emission from liquid manure storage. It has been reported that biofilter was capable of reducing 80% of CH4 emissions from manure storage. The CH4 removal efficiency is influenced by many factors, including CH4 and O2 concentrations, temperature, moisture, composition of the filter bed, nutrient, and empty bed residency time (EBRT). Biological conversion of methane of a biofilter is a slow process due to the low water solubility of methane. The residence times (EBRT) between 5 min and 5 h have been used, whereas a typical EBRT of 25 s is used for common biofilter applications. Temperature at which methanotrophic bacteria are active ranges from 10oC to 45oC. The maximum activity is found at around 30oC. The optimal filter bed water content depends on both the gas flow rate and the type of filter bed (soil, compost, etc.) and ranges from 30%–70% of the water holding capacity. Compost is the best material for filter bed. The optimal pH for methanotrophic bacteria is neutral to slightly acidic. Copper and nitrogen compounds especially nitrate are important nutrients to methanotrophic bacteria but their optimal concentrations have not been founded. Phosphorus and other elements such as potassium and manganese are reported to affect the performance of methanotrophic bacteria but need further confirmation.
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Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (G-DEP): Africa consultative meeting report
PENG Yu, FU Bojie, ZHANG Linxiu, YU Xiubo, FU Chao, Salif DIOP, Hubert HIRWA, Aliou GUISSE, LI Fadong
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (3): 538-544.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0056-z
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In order to enhance and restore the ecosystems of natural capital in African arid regions, the Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (G-DEP) consultative meeting was hosted in Dakar, Senegal, from 23 to 25 September 2019. This paper details the first African meeting of the G-DEP. Consultative meeting reviewed preceding dryland ecosystems case studies, identified vulnerable arid and semi-arid regions, and proposed sustainable solutions to problems. It also identified the successes and failures of previous attempts to improve vulnerable ecosystems and ultimately formed an action plan to improve these attempts. Climate, ecosystems, and livelihoods for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) for Sahara and Sahel, and China-Africa cooperation on science, technology, and innovation are three extra main sections concerned of the meeting. Separately, more specific topics as the complicated relationship between these natural processes and human activity, including pastoralism, soil restoration, and vegetation regenerate techniques, were fully discussed. Consultative meeting also identified the positive effects international collaboration can have on dryland regions, specifically in the capacity of sharing information, technology, and innovation on purpose to develop a joint proposal for long-term research programs in African arid and semi-arid areas. Moreover, meetings that review the progress made on ecosystem management for the sustainable livelihoods in Africa, identification of priority areas, and the development and implementation of ecosystem programs for proper research and collaboration in African arid and semi-arid zones, have been proposed as strategic recommendations to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development. Furthermore, as the outcomes of the workshop, there are three steps proposed to handle African dryland climate changes, several aspects suggested to solve current dilemmas of the GGWI, and a series of actions recommended for G-DEP related activities in Africa.

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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
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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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Mechanisms of bush encroachment and its inter-connection with rangeland degradation in semi-arid African ecosystems: a review
BELAYNEH Anteneh, K TESSEMA Zewdu
Journal of Arid Land    2017, 9 (2): 299-312.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0023-x
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Many studies show that semi-arid rangelands throughout the world have been rapidly converted from a grassland state to a bush encroachment state during the past 50 years. Bush encroachment includes the spread of local woody species and/or incursion of woody species introduced from other ecosystems into semi-arid savannas and grassland ecosystems. Rangeland degradation due to bush encroachment causes several challenges, affecting the production of livestock and pastoral people livelihoods in most parts of Africa. Scientists have long been attempting to develop schematic and mathematical theories to explain the observed phenomenon of bush encroachment, and several theories were proposed and developed. The well-regarded theories include: (1) Walter’s two-layer model, (2) Moir’s one-layer model, (3) state-and-transition theory, (4) equilibrium theory, (5) disequilibrium theory, and (6) non-equilibrium theory. Within those theories, the most frequently-indicated driving factors that explain bush encroachment include over-grazing, availability of soil nutrient and moisture, elevated CO2 levels, frequency and intensity of fire, spread of seeds of woody species by livestock and wild animals. It should be stressed that couplings and interactions among diverse driving factors are more often at work in determining the condition of bush encroachment. To summarize, the effort in managing semi-arid ecosystems needs critical knowledge to understand the cause-effect relationships of underlying factors through integrated approach. Therefore, future research on encroachment of woody plants should be multi-discipline oriented and multi-partnership involved.

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Potential of rooftop rainwater harvesting to meet outdoor water demand in arid regions
TAMADDUN Kazi, KALRA Ajay, AHMAD Sajjad
Journal of Arid Land    2018, 10 (1): 68-83.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0110-7
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The feasibility of rooftop rainwater harvesting (RRWH) as an alternative source of water to meet the outdoor water demand in nine states of the U.S. was evaluated using a system dynamics model developed in Systems Thinking, Experimental Learning Laboratory with Animation. The state of Arizona was selected to evaluate the effects of the selected model parameters on the efficacy of RRWH since among the nine states the arid region of Arizona showed the least potential of meeting the outdoor water demand with rain harvested water. The analyses were conducted on a monthly basis across a 10-year projected period from 2015 to 2024. The results showed that RRWH as a potential source of water was highly sensitive to certain model parameters such as the outdoor water demand, the use of desert landscaping, and the percentage of existing houses with RRWH. A significant difference (as high as 37.5%) in rainwater potential was observed between the projected wet and dry climate conditions in Arizona. The analysis of the dynamics of the storage tanks suggested that a 1.0-2.0 m3 rainwater barrel, on an average, can store approximately 80% of the monthly rainwater generated from the rooftops in Arizona, even across the high seasonal variation. This interactive model can be used as a quick estimator of the amount of water that could be generated, stored, and utilized through RRWH systems in the U.S. under different climate conditions. The findings of such comprehensive analyses may help regional policymakers, especially in arid regions, to develop a sustainable water management infrastructure.

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Relationship of species diversity between overstory trees and understory herbs along the environmental gradients in the Tianshan Wild Fruit Forests, Northwest China
CHENG Junhui, SHI Xiaojun, FAN Pengrui, ZHOU Xiaobing, SHENG Jiandong, ZHANG Yuanming
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (4): 618-629.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0055-0
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In forest ecosystems, interactions between overstory trees and understory herbs play an important role in driving plant species diversity. However, reported links between overstory tree and understory herb species diversity have been inconsistent, due to variations in forest types and environmental conditions. Here, we measured species richness (SR) and diversity (Shannon-Wiener (H') and Simpson's (D) indices) of overstory trees and understory herbs in the protected Tianshan Wild Fruit Forest (TWFF), Northwest China, to explore their relationships along the latitudinal, longitudinal, elevational, and climatic (current climate and paleoclimate) gradients in 2018. We found that SR, and H' and D diversity indices of overstory trees and understory herbs exhibited a unimodal pattern with increasing latitude and elevation (P<0.05) and negative associations with longitude (P<0.01). Along the climatic gradients, there were U-shaped patterns in SR, and H' and D diversity indices between trees and herbs (P<0.05). SR, and H' and D diversity indices for overstory tree species were positively associated with those for understory herbs (P<0.01). These findings indicate that overstory trees and understory herbs should be protected concurrently in the TWFF to increase effectiveness of species diversity conservation programs.

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Near-surface wind environment in the Yarlung Zangbo River basin, southern Tibetan Plateau
YANG Junhuai, XIA Dunsheng, WANG Shuyuan, TIAN Weidong, MA Xingyue, CHEN Zixuan, GAO Fuyuan, LING Zhiyong, DONG Zhibao
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 917-936.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0104-8
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Aeolian processes have been studied extensively at low elevations, but have been relatively little studied at high elevations. Aeolian sediments are widely distributed in the Yarlung Zangbo River basin, southern Tibetan Plateau, which is characterized by low pressure and low temperature. Here, we comprehensively analyzed the wind regime using data since 1980 from 11 meteorological stations in the study area, and examined the interaction between the near-surface wind and aeolian environment. The wind environment exhibited significant spatial and temporal variation, and mean wind speed has generally decreased on both annual and seasonal bases since 1980, at an average of 0.181 m/(s·10a). This decrease resulted from the reduced contribution of maximum wind speed, and depended strongly on variations of the frequency of sand-driving winds. The drift potential and related parameters also showed obvious spatial and temporal variation, with similar driving forces for the wind environment. The strength of the wind regime affected the formation and development of the aeolian geomorphological pattern, but with variation caused by local topography and sediment sources. The drift potential and resultant drift direction were two key parameters, as they quantify the dynamic conditions and depositional orientation of the aeolian sediments. Wind affected the spatial variation in sediment grain size, but the source material and complex topographic effects on the near-surface wind were the underlying causes for the grain size distribution of aeolian sands. These results will support efforts to control aeolian desertification in the basin and improve our understanding of aeolian processes in high-elevation environments.

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Physio-biochemical and nutrient constituents of peanut plants under bentazone herbicide for broad-leaved weed control and water regimes in dry land areas
Hani S SAUDY, Ibrahim M EL-METWALLY, Goma A ABD EL-SAMAD
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (4): 630-639.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0020-y
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The abundance of broad-leaved weeds in peanut fields represents the handicap in weed management programs, since limited specific herbicides can be recommended to control them. Moreover, the physio-biochemical constituents and nutritional status in peanut plants as affected by available herbicides, i.e., bentazone under water stress conditions are not well known. Therefore, field trials were conducted during the growing seasons in 2016 and 2017 to investigate the interactional impact of irrigation levels (I50, I75 and I100, representing irrigation by 50%, 75% and 100% of crop evapotranspiration, respectively) and weed control practices (bentazone, bentazone+hoeing once, hoeing twice and weedy check as control) on dominant broad-leaved weeds as well as peanut physiological and agronomic traits. Result indicated that the efficiency of weed control for each weeded treatment under I50 significantly equaled with its counterpart under I75 or I100. Bentazone+hoeing once diminished weed biomass by 89.3% and enhanced chlorophyll content of peanut plants by 51.2%. Bentazone relatively caused a reduction in carotenoides. Hoeing twice and bentazone+hoeing once under I100 in both growing seasons as well as hoeing twice under I75 in 2017 were the superior combinations for boosting pod yield of peanut plants. Treatment of bentazone+hoeing once and I75 recorded the lowest reduction in N utilization percentage and the highest increase in potassium utilization percentage of peanut plants. Eliminating weeds enhanced water use efficiency by 37.8%, 49.6% and 34.7% under I50, I75 and I100, respectively. In conclusion, peanut seems to be tolerant to bentazone at moderate water supply, thus it can be safely used in controlling the associated broad-leaved weeds.

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Effect of vegetation on soil water retention and storage in a semi-arid alpine forest catchment
Chao WANG, ChuanYan ZHAO, ZhongLin XU, Yang WANG, HuanHua PENG
Journal of Arid Land    2013, 5 (2): 207-219.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0151-5
Abstract3278)      PDF(pc) (2341KB)(6916)       Save
The runoff generated from mountainous regions is recognized as the main water source for inland river basins in arid environments. Thus, the mechanisms by which catchments retain water in soils are to be understood. The water storage capacity of soil depends on its depth and capacity to retain water under gravitational drainage and evapotranspiration. The latter can be studied through soil water retention curve (SWRC), which is closely related to soil properties such as texture, bulk density, porosity, soil organic carbon content, and so on. The present study represented SWRCs using HYDRUS-1D. In the present study, we measured physical and hydraulic properties of soil samples collected from Sabina przewalskii forest (south-facing slope with highest solar radiation), shrubs (west-facing slope with medium radiation), and Picea crassifolia forest (north-facing slope with lowest radiation), and analyzed the differences in soil water storage capacity of these soil samples. Soil water content of those three vegetation covers were also measured to validate the soil water storage capacity and to analyze the relationship between soil organic matter content and soil water content. Statistical analysis showed that different vegetation covers could lead to different soil bulk densities and differences in soil water retention on the three slope aspects. Sand content, porosity, and organic carbon content of the P. crassifolia forest were relatively greater compared with those of the S. przewalskii forest and shrubs. However, silt content and soil bulk density were relatively smaller than those in the S. przewalskii forest and shrubs. In addition, there was a significant linear positive relationship between averaged soil water content and soil organic matter content (P<0.0001). However, this relationship is not significant in the P. crassifolia forest. As depicted in the SWRCs, the water storage capacity of the soil was 39.14% and 37.38% higher in the P. crassifolia forest than in the S. przewalskii forest and shrubs, respectively, at a similar soil depth.
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Efficiency of soil and water conservation practices in different agro-ecological environments in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
DagnenetSULTAN, TSUNEKAWA Atsushi, HAREGEWEYN Nigussie, ADGO Enyew, TSUBO Mitsuru, T MESHESHA Derege, MASUNAGA Tsugiyuki, AKLOG Dagnachew, A FENTA Ayele, EBABU Kindiye
Journal of Arid Land    2018, 10 (2): 249-263.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0097-8
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In developing countries such as Ethiopia, research to develop and promote soil and water conservation practices rarely addressed regional diversity. Using a water-balance approach in this study, we used runoff plots from three sites, each representing a different agro-ecological environment, e.g.,high, mid and low in both elevation and rainfall, in the Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopiato examine the runoff response and runoff conservation efficiency of a range of different soil and water conservation measures and their impacts on soil moisture. The plots at each site represented common land use types (cultivated vs. non-agricultural land use types) and slopes (gentle and steep). Seasonal runoff from control plots in the highlands ranged 214-560 versus 253-475 mm at midlands and 119-200 mm at lowlands. The three soil and water conservation techniques applied in cultivated land increased runoff conservation efficiency by 32% to 51%, depending on the site. At the moist subtropical site in a highland region, soil and water conservation increased soil moisture enough to potentially cause waterlogging, which was absent at the low-rainfall sites. Soil bunds combined with Vetiveriazizanioides grass in cultivated land and short trenches in grassland conserved the most runoff (51% and 55%, respectively). Runoff responses showed high spatial variation within and between land use types, causing high variation in soil and water conservation efficiency. Our results highlight the need to understand the role of the agro-ecological environment in the success of soil and water conservation measures to control runoff and hydrological dynamics. This understanding will support policy development to promote the adoption of suitable techniques that can be tested at other locations with similar soil, climatic, and topographic conditions.

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Coupling analysis of social-economic water consumption and its effects on the arid environments in Xinjiang of China based on the water and ecological footprints
ZHANG Pei, DENG Mingjiang, LONG Aihua, DENG Xiaoya, WANG Hao, HAI Yang, WANG Jie, LIU Yundong
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (1): 73-89.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0050-5
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In arid areas, ecological degradation aroused by over-exploitation of fresh water, expansion of artificial oasis and shrinkage of natural oasis, has drawn attention of many scholars and officials. The water and ecological footprints can be used to quantitatively evaluate the water consumption of social-economic activities and their influence on the eco-environments. In addition, increase of the water footprint indicates the expansion of artificial oasis, and the influence on the natural oasis could be reflected by the variation of the ecological footprint. This study was conducted to answer a scientific question that what is the quantitative relationship between the expansion of the artificial oasis and the degradation of the natural oasis in the arid environments of Xinjiang, China. Thus, based on the social-economic data, water consumption data and meteorological data during 2001-2015, we calculated the water and ecological footprints to express the human-related pressure exerted on the water resources and arid environments in Xinjiang (including 14 prefectures and cities), and explore the relationship between the water and ecological footprints and its mechanism by using the coupling analysis and Granger causality test. The results show that both the water and ecological footprints of Xinjiang increased significantly during 2001-2015, and the increasing rate of the ecological footprint was much faster than that of the water footprint. The coupling degree between the water and ecological footprints was relatively high at the temporal scale and varied at the spatial scale. Among the 14 prefectures and cities examined in Xinjiang, the greater social-economic development (such as in Karamay and Urumqi) was associated with the lower coupling degree between the two footprints. Increases in the water footprint will cause the ecological footprint to increase, such that a 1-unit increase in the consumption of water resources would lead to 2-3 units of ecological degradation. The quantitative relationship between the increases of the water and ecological footprints, together with the intensities of water consumption both in the natural and artificial oases of Tarim River Basin, have approved the fact that the formation and expansion of 1 unit of the artificial oasis would bring about the degradation of 2 units of the natural oasis. These conclusions not only provide a technical basis for sustainable development in Xinjiang, but also offer a theoretical guide and scientific information that could be used in similar arid areas around the world.

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Application of a new wind driving force model in soil wind erosion area of northern China
ZOU Xueyong, LI Huiru, LIU Wei, WANG Jingpu, CHENG Hong, WU Xiaoxu, ZHANG Chunlai, KANG Liqiang
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (3): 423-435.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0103-9
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The shear stress generated by the wind on the land surface is the driving force that results in the wind erosion of the soil. It is an independent factor influencing soil wind erosion. The factors related to wind erosivity, known as submodels, mainly include the weather factor (WF) in revised wind erosion equation (RWEQ), the erosion submodel (ES) in wind erosion prediction system (WEPS), as well as the drift potential (DP) in wind energy environmental assessment. However, the essential factors of WF and ES contain wind, soil characteristics and surface coverings, which therefore results in the interdependence between WF or ES and other factors (e.g., soil erodible factor) in soil erosion models. Considering that DP is a relative indicator of the wind energy environment and does not have the value of expressing wind to induce shear stress on the surface. Therefore, a new factor is needed to express accurately wind erosivity. Based on the theoretical basis that the soil loss by wind erosion (Q) is proportional to the shear stress of the wind on the soil surface, a new model of wind driving force (WDF) was established, which expresses the potential capacity of wind to drive soil mass in per unit area and a period of time. Through the calculations in the typical area, the WDF, WF and DP are compared and analyzed from the theoretical basis, construction goal, problem-solving ability and typical area application; the spatial distribution of soil wind erosion intensity was concurrently compared with the spatial distributions of the WDF, WF and DP values in the typical area. The results indicate that the WDF is better to reflect the potential capacity of wind erosivity than WF and DP, and that the WDF model is a good model with universal applicability and can be logically incorporated into the soil wind erosion models.

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Rangelands of Central Asia: challenges and opportunities
Alisher MIRZABAEV, Mohamed AHMED, Jutta WERNER, John PENDER, Mounir LOUHAICHI
Journal of Arid Land    2016, 8 (1): 93-108.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0057-5
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Rangelands of Central Asia (referring to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in this study), the largest contiguous area of grazed land in the world, serve as an important source of livelihood for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in this region. They also play an important role in absorbing CO 2 as a global carbon sink. However, unsustainable management of rangelands has led to their degradation hugely by downgrading their potential agro-ecological, environmental and socio-economical roles. This paper reviewed the rangeland degradation in Central Asia, a topic which so far has received only scant coverage in the international scientific literature. It also provided examples of successful experiences and outlined possible options that land managers can adopt to enhance the sustainable management of these vast degraded rangelands. The experiences and lessons described in this paper may also be relevant for other degraded rangeland areas, especially in the developing countries. The causes of rangeland degradation within the Central Asian region are numerous, complex and inter-related. Therefore, while addressing the factors associated with improper rangeland management may shed some light on the causes of rangeland degradation, the scope of this paper would not be all-encompassing for the major causes of degradation. There is a need to develop and widely apply the viable and locally accepted and adapted packages of technical, institutional and policy options for sustainable rangeland management. Incentivizing the collective action of small-scale pastoralists who group together to facilitate access to remote pastures can reduce the degree of overgrazing within community pastures, such as those near the settlements. We also found that migratory grazing through pooling of resources among small-scale pastoralists can increase household income. After their independence, most Central Asian countries adopted various rangeland tenure arrangements. However, the building of enhanced capacities of pasture management and effective local rangeland governance structures can increase the likelihood, which will be sustainable and equitable. Finally, this paper presented several promising technical options, aiming at reversing the trend of rangeland degradation in Central Asia.
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Can climate change influence agricultural GTFP in arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China?
FENG Jian, ZHAO Lingdi, ZHANG Yibo, SUN Lingxiao, YU Xiang, YU Yang
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (5): 837-853.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0073-y
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There are eight provinces and autonomous regions (Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province, Shanxi Province, and Shaanxi Province) in Northwest China, most areas of which are located in arid and semi-arid regions (northwest of the 400 mm precipitation line), accounting for 58.74% of the country's land area and sustaining approximately 7.84×106 people. Because of drought conditions and fragile ecology, these regions cannot develop agriculture at the expense of the environment. Given the challenges of global warming, the green total factor productivity (GTFP), taking CO2 emissions as an undesirable output, is an effective index for measuring the sustainability of agricultural development. Agricultural GTFP can be influenced by both internal production factors (labor force, machinery, land, agricultural plastic film, diesel, pesticide, and fertilizer) and external climate factors (temperature, precipitation, and sunshine duration). In this study, we used the Super-slacks-based measure (Super-SBM) model to measure agricultural GTFP during the period 2000-2016 at the regional level. Our results show that the average agricultural GTFP of most provinces and autonomous regions in arid and semi-arid regions underwent a fluctuating increase during the study period (2000-2016), and the fluctuation was caused by the production factors (input and output factors). To improve agricultural GTFP, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Gansu should reduce agricultural labor force input; Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Shanxi should decrease machinery input; Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Shanxi should reduce fertilizer input; Shaanxi, Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia should reduce diesel input; Xinjiang and Gansu should decrease plastic film input; and Gansu, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia should cut pesticide input. Desirable output agricultural earnings should be increased in Qinghai and Tibet, and undesirable output (CO2 emissions) should be reduced in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, and Shaanxi. Agricultural GTFP is influenced not only by internal production factors but also by external climate factors. To determine the influence of climate factors on GTFP in these provinces and autonomous regions, we used a Geographical Detector (Geodetector) model to analyze the influence of climate factors (temperature, precipitation, and sunshine duration) and identify the relationships between different climate factors and GTFP. We found that temperature played a significant role in the spatial heterogeneity of GTFP among provinces and autonomous regions in arid and semi-arid regions. For Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet, a suitable average annual temperature would be in the range of 7°C-9°C; for Gansu, Shanxi, and Ningxia, it would be 11°C-13°C; and for Shaanxi, it would be 15°C-17°C. Stable climatic conditions and more efficient production are prerequisites for the development of sustainable agriculture. Hence, in the agricultural production process, reducing the redundancy of input factors is the best way to reduce CO2 emissions and to maintain temperatures, thereby improving the agricultural GTFP. The significance of this study is that it explores the impact of both internal production factors and external climatic factors on the development of sustainable agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions, identifying an effective way forward for the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China.

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Water transport and water use efficiency differ among Populus euphratica Oliv. saplings exposed to saline water irrigation
ZHOU Honghua, CHEN Yaning, ZHU Chenggang, YANG Yuhai, YE Zhaoxia
Journal of Arid Land    2019, 11 (6): 866-879.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0002-0
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Populus euphratica Oliv. is a unique woody tree that can be utilized for vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas. The effects of saline water irrigation (0.00, 2.93, 8.78 and 17.55 g/L NaCl solutions) on water transport and water use efficiency (WUE) of P. euphratica saplings were researched for improving the survival of P. euphratica saplings and vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas of Xinjiang, China in 2011. Results showed that hydraulic conductivity and vulnerability to cavitation of P. euphratica saplings were more sensitive in root xylem than in twig xylem when irrigation water salinity increased. Irrigation with saline water concentration less than 8.78 g/L did not affect the growth of P. euphratica saplings, under which they maintained normal water transport in twig xylem through adjustment of anatomical structure of vessels and kept higher WUE and photosynthesis in leaves through adjustment of stomata. However, irrigation with saline water concentration up to 17.55 g/L severely inhibited the photochemical process and WUE of P. euphratica saplings, resulting in severe water-deficit in leaves and a sharp reduction in water transport in xylem. Thus, it is feasible to irrigate P. euphratica forest by using saline groundwater for improving the survival of P. euphratica saplings and vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas of Xinjiang, China.

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Performance of different drought indices for agriculture drought in the North China Plain
Xianfeng LIU, Xiufang ZHU, Yaozhong PAN, Jianjun BAI, Shuangshuang LI
Journal of Arid Land    2018, 10 (4): 507-516.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0005-2
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The Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), standardized precipitation index (SPI), and standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) are used worldwide for drought assessment and monitoring. However, substantial differences exist in the performance for agricultural drought among these indices and among regions. Here, we performed statistical assessments to compare the strengths of different drought indices for agricultural drought in the North China Plain. Small differences were detected in the comparative performances of SPI and SPEI that were smaller at the long-term scale than those at the short-term scale. The correlation between SPI/SPEI and PDSI considerably increased from 1- to 12-month lags, and a slight decreasing trend was exhibited during 12- and 24-month lags, indicating a 12-month scale in the PDSI, whereas the SPI was strongly correlated with the SPEI at 1- to 24-month lags. Interestingly, the correlation between the trend of temperature and the mean absolute error and its correlation coefficient both suggested stronger relationships between SPI and the SPEI in areas of rapid climate warming. In addition, the yield-drought correlations tended to be higher for the SPI and SPEI than that for the PDSI at the station scale, whereas small differences were detected between the SPI and SPEI in the performance on agricultural systems. However, large differences in the influence of drought conditions on the yields of winter wheat and summer maize were evident among various indices during the crop-growing season. Our findings suggested that multi-indices in drought monitoring are needed in order to acquire robust conclusions.

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Influence of non-stationarity and auto-correlation of climatic records on spatio-temporal trend and seasonality analysis in a region with prevailing arid and semi-arid climate, Iran
Mahsa MIRDASHTVAN, Mohsen MOHSENI SARAVI
Journal of Arid Land    2020, 12 (6): 964-983.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0100-z
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Trend and stationarity analysis of climatic variables are essential for understanding climate variability and provide useful information about the vulnerability and future changes, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. In this study, various climatic zones of Iran were investigated to assess the relationship between the trend and the stationarity of the climatic variables. The Mann-Kendall test was considered to identify the trend, while the trend free pre-whitening approach was applied for eliminating serial correlation from the time-series. Meanwhile, time series stationarity was tested by Dickey-Fuller and Kwiatkowski-Phillips-Schmidt-Shin tests. The results indicated an increasing trend for mean air temperature series at most of the stations over various climatic zones, however, after eliminating the serial correlation factor, this increasing trend changes to an insignificant decreasing trend at a 95% confidence level. The seasonal mean air temperature trend suggested a significant increase in the majority of the stations. The mean air temperature increased more in northwest towards central parts of Iran that mostly located in arid and semi-arid climatic zones. Precipitation trend reveals an insignificant downward trend in most of the series over various climatic zones; furthermore, most of the stations follow a decreasing trend for seasonal precipitation. Furthermore, spatial patterns of trend and seasonality of precipitation and mean air temperature showed that the northwest parts of Iran and margin areas of the Caspian Sea are more vulnerable to the changing climate with respect to the precipitation shortfalls and warming. Stationarity analysis indicated that the stationarity of climatic series influences on their trend; so that, the series which have significant trends are not static. The findings of this investigation can help planners and policy-makers in various fields related to climatic issues, implementing better management and planning strategies to adapt to climate change and variability over Iran.

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