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01 June 2013, Volume 5 Issue 2 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research Articles
Lake surface area method to define minimum ecological lake level from level–area–storage curves
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 133-142.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0153-3
Abstract ( 3131 )     PDF (352KB) ( 3234 )  
Lake level assessment is essential for the protection of ecosystem in shrunk or shrinking lakes. Minimum ecological lake level is the critical lake level below which there should be no human activities to further decrease the lake level, and this level can provide a certain protection for the lake ecosystem. Lake surface area method was proposed to define the minimum ecological lake storage as the breakpoint of the lake surface area–storage curve, where the curve slope equals to the ratio of maximum lake surface area to maximum lake storage. If the curve can be expressed as a simple analytical function, the minimum ecological lake storage can be calculated analytically. Otherwise, it can be calculated numerically using the ideal point method for an equivalent multi-objective optimization model that balances ecosystem protection and water use. Then the minimum ecological lake level can be estimated from the lake level–storage curve. Compared with available lake morphology analysis methods, the lake surface area method is superior in its definition of minimum ecological lake level, applicable range of lake morphology, and calculation complexity. The proposed method was applied to two representative lakes in China, including one freshwater lake (the Dongting Lake in Hunan province in Central China) and one saltwater lake (the Ebinur Lake in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Northwest China). The estimated minimum ecological lake level for the Dongting Lake is 26.7 m, at which 31% of the maximum lake storage provides 87% of the maximum lake surface area. The result for the Ebinur Lake is 191.2 m, at which 24% of the maximum lake storage provides 54% of the maximum lake surface area. The estimated minimum ecological lake level balances the conflict between economical and ecological water uses, and can provide a relatively larger habitat for the lake ecosystem with relatively smaller lake storage. These results are rational compared with the results of other methods. The calculated minimum ecological lake level can be used in the protection of lake ecosystems and the planning and rational use of water resources in lake basins.
Effects of deficit irrigation with saline water on spring wheat growth and yield in arid Northwest China
Jing JIANG, ZaiLin HUO, ShaoYuan FENG, ShaoZhong KANG, FenXing WANG, ChaoBo ZHANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 143-154.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0152-4
Abstract ( 3483 )     PDF (420KB) ( 4086 )  
Field experiments were conducted in 2008 and 2009 to study the effects of deficit irrigation with saline water on spring wheat growth and yield in an arid region of Northwest China. Nine treatments included three salinity levels s1, s2 and s3 (0.65, 3.2, and 6.1 dS/m) in combination with three water levels w1, w2 and w3 (375, 300, and 225 mm). In 2008, for most treatments, deficit irrigation showed adverse effects on wheat growth; meanwhile, the effect of saline irrigation was not apparent. In 2009, growth parameters of w1 treatments were not always optimal under saline irrigation. At 3.2 and 6.1 dS/m in 2008, the highest yield was obtained by w1 treatments, however, in 2009, the weight of 1,000 grains and wheat yield both followed the order w2 > w1 > w3. In this study, spring wheat was sensitive to water deficit, especially at the booting to grain-filling stages, but was not significantly affected by saline irrigation and the combination of the two factors. The results demonstrated that 300-mm irrigation water with a salinity of less than 3.2 dS/m is suitable for wheat fields in the study area.
Ammonia emissions from soil under sheep grazing in Inner Mongolian grasslands of China
YunHai ZHANG, NianPeng HE, GuangMing ZHANG, JianHui HUANG, QiBing WANG, QingMin PAN, XingGuo HAN
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 155-165.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0149-z
Abstract ( 2580 )     PDF (454KB) ( 1856 )  
Ammonia (NH3) emission and redeposition play a major role in terrestrial nitrogen (N) cycles and can also cause environmental problems, such as changes in biodiversity, soil acidity, and eutrophication. Previous field grazing experiments showed inconsistent (positive, neutral, and negative) NH3 volatilization from soils in response to varying grazing intensities. However, it remains unclear whether, or to what extent, NH3 emissions from soil are affected by increasing grazing intensities in Inner Mongolian grasslands. Using a 5-year grazing experiment, we investigated the relationship between NH3 volatilization from soil and grazing pressure (0.0, 3.0, 6.0, and 9.0 sheep/hm2) from June to September of 2009 and 2010 via the vented-chamber method. The results show that soil NH3 volatilization was not significantly different at different grazing intensities in 2009, although it was higher at the highest stocking rate during 2010. There was no significant linear relationship between soil NH3 volatilization rates and soil NH4+-N, but soil NH3 volatilization rates were significantly related to soil water content and air temperature. Grazing intensities had no significant influence on soil NH3 volatilization. Soil NH3 emissions from June to September (grazing period), averaged over all grazing intensities, were 9.6±0.2 and 19.0±0.2 kg N/hm2 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Moreover, linear equations describing monthly air temperature and precipitation showed a good fit to changes in soil NH3 emissions (r=0.506, P=0.014). Overall, grazing intensities had less influence than that of climatic factors on soil NH3 emissions. Our findings provide new insights into the effects of grazing on NH3 volatilization from soil in Inner Mongolian grasslands, and have important implications for understanding N cycles in grassland ecosystems and for estimating soil NH3 emissions on a regional scale.
Irrigation erosion of irrigated soils in the foothills of southern Kazakhstan
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 166-171.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0157-z
Abstract ( 2220 )     PDF (266KB) ( 1782 )  
This paper presented the results from the study of irrigation erosion of irrigated lands in southern Kazakhstan. The main purpose of the work is the conservation of the fertility of irrigated soils, and then the soils of the upper, middle and lower sections of the slopes at the experimental site were studied. Based on field investigations, authors studied the water resistance of aggregates of gray-brown soils and light gray soils before and after irrigation and qualitative indicators of changes in physical and chemical properties of structured soils in irrigation were determined by conventional methods of soil research. The results indicated that the changes in the physical properties of soils by using polymeric compounds created a fundamentally new opportunity to control water erosion of soils.
Biological soil crust distribution in Artemisia ordosica communities along a grazing pressure gradient in Mu Us Sandy Land, Northern China
JunHong ZHANG, Bo WU, YongHua LI, WenBin YANG, YaKai LEI, HaiYan HAN, Ji HE
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 172-179.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0148-0
Abstract ( 2641 )     PDF (750KB) ( 1979 )  
This study investigated the distribution pattern of biological soil crust (BSC) in Artemisia ordosica communities in Mu Us Sandy Land. Three experimental sites were selected according to grazing pressure gradient. In each experimental site, the total vegetation cover, A. ordosica cover, BSC cover, litter-fall cover, BSC degree of fragmentation, BSC thickness and soil properties were investigated in both fixed and semi-fixed sand dunes and simultaneously analyzed in the laboratory. The results showed that at the same grazing pressure, BSC cover and composition were significantly affected by the fixation degree of sand dunes. In addition, BSC cover in the fixed sand dunes was 83.74% on average, whereas it is proportionally dominated by 28% mosses, 21% lichens, and 51% algae. Meanwhile, BSC cover in the semi-fixed sand dunes was 23.54% on average, which is proportionally dominated by 6.3% mosses, 2.5% lichens, and 91.2% algae. Fine sand, organic matter, and total nitrogen (N) contents in the fixed sand dunes were all significantly higher than those in the semi-fixed sand dunes. Litter-fall cover decreased along the grazing pressure gradient, whereas BSC fragmentation degree increased. Fine sand content decreased along with the increase of grazing pressure, whereas medium sand content increased in both fixed and semi-fixed dunes. The organic matter and total N contents in the no grazing site were significantly higher than those in light and normal grazing sites. However, there were no significant differences between the light and normal grazing sites. In addition, there were also no significant differences in BSC thickness between the light and normal grazing sites in the fixed sand dunes. However, a significant decrease was observed in both BSC cover and thickness in the normal grazing site. The BSC in the semi-fixed dunes was more sensitive to disturbance.
Migration and accumulation of heavy metals in disturbed landscapes in developing ore deposits, East Kazakhstan
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 180-187.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0160-4
Abstract ( 2351 )     PDF (544KB) ( 1823 )  
This paper studied the contents of heavy metals and their accumulation in the disturbed landscapes in ore deposits of East Kazakhstan. A total of 14 sites were examined in Zyrynovsky and Tishinsk deposits and Ridder town, and 50 soil samples were taken. Results indicated that the contents of heavy metals in the soil reached the maximum permissible concentration. Emissions of the zinc plant negatively affected the soil of nearby territories. In the remediated areas, a high concentration of heavy metals was observed at a depth where the bulk soil borders the rock. Accumulation of heavy metals on the surface of the remediated areas occurred due to biological accumulation in the plant. Plants transmitted heavy elements through the root system to the upper vegetative organs, making them accumulate in the upper layers of the soil. The heavy metals migrated and accumulated from the lower layers to the surface layers of the soil. The absence of soil meso-fauna resulted in the contamination of soil by heavy metals. The analysis of water samples, taken from the waste storages and the waste waters with heavy metals in the Zyryanovsk deposit and Ridder town, revealed severe water contamination.
Climate effects on an inland alpine lake in Xinjiang, China over the past 40 years
HuiXia CHAI, WeiMing CHENG, ChengHu ZHOU, ShangMin ZHAO, HaiJiang LIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 188-198.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0156-0
Abstract ( 2920 )     PDF (13350KB) ( 3443 )  
Inland lakes are important water resources in arid and semiarid regions. Understanding climate effects on these lakes is critical to accurately evaluate the dynamic changes of water resources. This study focused on the changes in Sayram Lake of Xinjiang, China, and addressed the effects of climate fluctuations on the inland lake based on long-term sequenced remote sensing images and meteorological data from the past 40 years. A geo-graphic information system (GIS) method was used to obtain the hypsometry of the basin area of Sayram Lake, and estimation methods for evaporation from rising temperature and water levels from increasing precipitation were proposed. Results showed that: (1) Areal values of Sayram Lake have increased over the past 40 years. (2) Both temperature and precipitation have increased with average increases of more than 1.8°C and 82 mm, respectively. Variation of the water levels in the lake was consistent with local climate changes, and the areal values show linear relationships with local temperature and precipitation data. (3) According to the hypsometry data of the basin area, the estimated lake water levels increased by 2.8 m, and the water volume increased by 12.9×108 m3 over the past 40 years. The increasing area of Sayram Lake correlated with local and regional climatic changes because it is hardly affected by human activities.
Near-surface sand-dust horizontal flux in Tazhong—the hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert
XingHua YANG, Qing HE, Mamtimin ALI, Wen HUO XinChun LIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 199-206.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0159-x
Abstract ( 2812 )     PDF (444KB) ( 2228 )  
Tazhong is the hinterland and a sandstorm high-frequency area of the Taklimakan Desert. However, little is known about the detailed time-series of aeolian sand transport in this area. An experiment to study the sand-dust horizontal flux of near-surface was carried out in Tazhong from January to December 2009. By measuring the sand-dust horizontal flux throughout sixteen sand-dust weather processes with a 200-cm tall Big Spring Number Eight (BSNE) sampler tower, we quantitatively analyzed the vertical variation of the sand-dust horizontal flux. And the total sand-dust horizontal flux of different time-series that passed through a section of 100 cm in width and 200 cm in height was estimated combining the data of saltation movement continuously recorded by piezo-electric saltation sensors (Sensit). The results indicated that, in the surface layer ranging from 0–200 cm, the intensity of sand-dust horizontal flux decreased with the increase of the height, and the physical quantities obeyed power function well. The total sand-dust horizontal flux of the sixteen sand-dust weather processes that passed through a section of 100 cm in width and 200 cm in height was about 2,144.9 kg, the maximum of one sand-dust weather event was about 396.3 kg, and the annual total sand-dust horizontal flux was about 3,903.2 kg. The high levels of aeolian sand transport occurred during daytime, especially from 13:00 to 16:00 in the afternoon. We try to develop a new method for estimation of the detailed time-series of aeolian sand transport.
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
Abstract ( 3278 )     PDF (2341KB) ( 6917 )  
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.
Responses of root growth of Alhagi sparsifolia Shap. (Fabaceae) to different simulated groundwater depths in the southern fringe of the Taklimakan Desert, China
FanJiang ZENG, Cong SONG, HaiFeng GUO, Bo LIU, WeiCheng LUO, DongWei GUI, Stefan
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 220-232.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0154-2
Abstract ( 2113 )     PDF (878KB) ( 2089 )  
Alhagi sparsifolia Shap. (Fabaceae) is a spiny, perennial herb. The species grows in the salinized, arid regions in North China. This study investigated the response characteristics of the root growth and the distribution of one-year-old A. sparsifolia seedlings to different groundwater depths in controlled plots. The ecological adaptability of the root systems of A. sparsifolia seedlings was examined using the artificial digging method. Results showed that: (1) A. sparsifolia seedlings adapted to an increase in groundwater depth mainly through increasing the penetration depth and growth rate of vertical roots. The vertical roots grew rapidly when soil moisture content reached 3%–9%, but slowly when soil moisture content was 13%–20%. The vertical roots stopped growing when soil moisture content reached 30% (the critical soil moisture point). (2) The morphological plasticity of roots is an important strategy used by A. sparsifolia seedlings to obtain water and adapt to dry soil conditions. When the groundwater table was shallow, horizontal roots quickly expanded and tillering increased in order to compete for light resources, whereas when the groundwater table was deeper, vertical roots developed quickly to exploit space in the deeper soil layers. (3) The decrease in groundwater depth was probably responsible for the root distribution in the shallow soil layers. Root biomass and surface area both decreased with soil depth. One strategy of A. sparsifolia seedlings in dealing with the increase in groundwater depth is to increase root biomass in the deep soil layers. The relationship between the root growth/distribution of A. sparsifolia and the depth of groundwater table can be used as guidance for harvesting A. sparsifolia biomass and managing water resources for forage grasses. It is also of ecological significance as it reveals how desert plants adapt to arid environments.
Effects of deficit irrigation on daily and seasonal variations of trunk sap flow and its growth in Calligonum arborescens
LiShan SHAN, Yi LI, RuiFeng ZHAO, XiMing ZHANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 233-243.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0155-1
Abstract ( 2289 )     PDF (805KB) ( 3386 )  
Water deficit in arid and semiarid regions affects whole-plant sap flow and leaf-level water relations. The objectives of this study were to clarify how sap flow of Calligonum arborescens responds to different drought stress conditions and to understand its acclimation mechanism to drought environments. A field experiment was conducted for C. arborescens during the growing season to evaluate the effects of deficit irrigation on the daily and seasonal variations of trunk sap flow in the shelterbelt along the Tarim Desert Highway, Xinjiang, China. Three different water regimes (2,380, 1,960 and 1,225 m3/hm2) were applied at different stages of plant growth. From 1 May to 30 October 2007, a heat-balance stem flow gauge was used to monitor the sap flow dynamics of C. arborescens under different water regimes. Atmospheric evaporation demand and soil moisture conditions for differentially irri-gated C. arborescens were also monitored. The result showed that sap flow exhibited a clear diurnal pattern regardless of treatments; the diurnal patterns of sap flow and vapour pressure deficit were very similar under different water regimes and growing seasons, while the slope of the linear regression of this correlation confirmed an increasing water regime. The sap flow decreased under reduced water regimes and there was nocturnal sap flow regardless of water regimes, which was mainly contributed to nocturnal transpiration and water recharge. The sap flow peaked before midnight and dropped afterwards with obviously higher values in summer than in other seasons. It is speculated that the water consumption of C. arborescens during the day can be supplemented through the sap flow at night, which increased with increasing irrigation amount. Net radiation was the most significant correlated factor that influenced sap flow velocity and transpiration under different water regimes (R2>0.719). Compared with the commonly practiced water regime, the growth of C. arborescens was significantly slower in the stress deficit irrigation, but not significantly different from that in the moderate deficit irrigation. The moderate deficit irrigation would not affect the stability of the shelterbelt and was a more efficient use of water resources compared with the current watering amount.
Characteristics of mineral elements in shoots of three annual halophytes in a saline desert, Northern Xinjiang
Ke ZHANG, ChunJian LI, ZhongShao LI, FuHai ZHANG, ZhenYong ZHAO, ChangYan TIAN
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 244-254.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0150-6
Abstract ( 2374 )     PDF (691KB) ( 2052 )  
Halophytes are valuable salt-, alkali- and drought-resistant germplasm resources. However, the characteristics of mineral elements in halophytes have not been investigated as intensively as those in crops. This study attempted to investigate the characteristics of mineral elements for annual halophytes during their growth period to reveal their possible physiological mechanisms of salt resistance. By using three native annual halophytes (Salsola subcrassa, Suaeda acuminate and Petrosimonia sibirica) distributed in the desert in Northern Xinjiang of China, the dynamic changes in the mineral element contents of annual halophytes were analyzed through field sampling and laboratory analyses. The results demonstrated that the annual halophytes were able to absorb water and mineral nutrients selectively. In the interaction between the annual halophytes and saline soil, the adaptability of the annual halophytes was manifested as the accumulation of S, Na and Cl during the growth period and maintenance of water and salt balance in the plant, thus ensuring their selective absorption of N, P, K, Ca, Mg and other mineral nutrients according to their growth demand. By utilizing this property, halophyte planting and mowing (before the wilting and death periods) could bioremediate heavy saline-alkali soil.
Heterosis for water uptake by maize (Zea mays L.) roots under water deficit: responses at cellular, single-root and whole-root system levels
XiaoFang LIU, SuiQi ZHANG, Lun SHAN
Journal of Arid Land. 2013, 5 (2): 255-265.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0158-y
Abstract ( 2358 )     PDF (424KB) ( 3106 )  
To examine the potential heterosis for water uptake by maize roots, the hydraulic properties of roots in the F1 hybrid (Hudan 4) were compared with those of its inbred parents (♂ 478 and ♀ Tian 4) at cellular, single-root and whole-root system levels under well-watered and water-deficit conditions. The cell hydraulic conductivity (Lpc) decreased under water deficit, but the Lpc of the F1 was higher than that of its inbred parents with or without stress from water deficit. Marked reductions in Lpc were observed following Hg2+ treatment. The hydrostatic hydraulic conductivity of single roots (hydrostatic Lpsr) varied among genotypes under the two water treatments, with the highest in the F1 and the lowest in ♂ 478. Radial hydraulic conductivity (radial Lpsr) and axial hydraulic conductance (Lax) of the three genotypes varied similarly as Lpsr. The variations in hydraulic parameters were related to root anatomy. Radial Lpsr was negatively correlated with the ratio of cortex width to root diameter (R2=–0.77, P<0.01), whereas Lax was positively correlated with the diameter of the central xylem vessel (R2=0.75, P<0.01) and the cross-sectional area of xylem vessels (R2=0.93, P<0.01). Hydraulic conductivity (Lpwr) and conductance (Lwr) of the whole-root system followed the same trend under the two water treatments, with the highest values in the F1. The results demonstrated that heterosis for water uptake by roots of the F1 occurred at cellular, single-root and whole-root system levels under well-watered and water-deficit conditions.