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10 December 2014, Volume 6 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research Articles
Evaluation of an erosion-sediment transport model for a hillslope using laboratory flume data
Anya Catherine C ARGUELLES, MinJae JUNG, Kristine Joy B MALLARI, GiJung PAK, Hafzullah AKSOY, Levent M KAVVAS, Ebru ERIS, JaeYoung YOON, YoungJoon LEE, SeonHwa HONG
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 647-655.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0066-9
Abstract ( 1671 )     PDF (404KB) ( 2432 )  
Climate change can escalate rainfall intensity and cause further increase in sediment transport in arid lands which in turn can adversely affect water quality. Hence, there is a strong need to predict the fate of sediments in order to provide measures for sound erosion control and water quality management. The presence of micro-topography on hillslopes influences processes of runoff generation and erosion, which should be taken into account to achieve more accurate modelling results. This study presents a physically based mathematical model for erosion and sediment transport coupled to one-dimensional overland flow equations that simulate rainfall-runoff generation on the rill and interrill areas of a bare hillslope. Modelling effort at such a fine resolution considering the flow con-nection between interrill areas and rills is rarely verified. The developed model was applied on a set of data gath-ered from an experimental setup where a 650 cm×136 cm erosion flume was pre-formed with a longitudinal rill and interrill having a plane geometry and was equipped with a rainfall simulator that reproduces natural rainfall char-acteristics. The flume can be given both longitudinal and lateral slope directions. For calibration and validation, the model was applied on the experimental results obtained from the setup of the flume having 5% lateral and 10% longitudinal slope directions under rainfall intensities of 105 and 45 mm/h, respectively. Calibration showed that the model was able to produce good results based on the R2 (0.84) and NSE (0.80) values. The model performance was further tested through validation which also produced good statistics (R2=0.83, NSE=0.72). Results in terms of the sedigraphs, cumulative mass curves and performance statistics suggest that the model can be a useful and an important step towards verifying and improving mathematical models of erosion and sediment transport.
Sensitivity and vulnerability of water resources in the arid Shiyang River Basin of Northwest China
Long WAN, Jun XIA, HongMei BU, Si HONG, JunXu CHEN, LiKe NING
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 656-667.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0067-8
Abstract ( 1842 )     PDF (1112KB) ( 1928 )  
The sensitivity and vulnerability of water resources to climate change is difficult to assess. In this study, we used a conceptual hydrologic model to investigate the sensitivity of streamflow to climate change. We also pro-posed a framework to evaluate the vulnerability of water resources in arid regions. We applied this framework to a case study of the Shiyang River Basin in Northwest China. Results showed that the precipitation and streamflow in Shiyang River Basin exhibited no significant trends of change from 1956 to 2010. In the past five decades, however, the temperature increased significantly by 0.37°C per decade. According to the sensitivity assessment, a 10% in-crease in precipitation and a 1°C increase in temperature altered mean annual streamflow by averages of 14.6% and –0.5%, respectively, from 1988 to 2005. In the 2000s, the calculated vulnerability of water resources in Shiyang River Basin was more than 0.95, indicating severe vulnerability. The increase in the amount of precipitation and the imple-mentation of water-saving measures can reduce the vulnerability of water resources in the future; if precipitation in-creases by 10% per decade and the use of irrigation water decreases by 15% in the 2030s, the evaluated value of water resources vulnerability will be reduced to 0.79. However, the region remains highly vulnerable. The proposed framework for vulnerability assessment can be applied to the arid regions in Northwest China, and the results of our efforts can identify adaptation strategies and improve the management of water resources in such regions.
Ambient TSP concentration and dustfall variation in Urumqi, China
XiaoXiao ZHANG, Xi CHEN, YuHong GUO, ZiFa WANG, LianYou LIU, Cottle PAUL, ShengYu LI, HuaWei PI
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 668-677.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0069-6
Abstract ( 1765 )     PDF (984KB) ( 1773 )  
Total suspended particulate (TSP, particle diameter≤100 µm) was the dominant air pollutant and sig-nificantly influenced local air quality. In this paper, we investigated the interannual and seasonal variations of TSP and dustfall of the atmosphere over Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, northwestern China, basing on environmental monitoring records and meteorological data from 1986–2012. The results showed that during the study period, annual average TSP concentration decreased from 716 to 260 µg/m3, with an average level of 422.9 µg/m3, while dustfall intensity reduced from 350.4 to 166.6 t/(km2•a), with an average level of 259 t/(km2•a). Over 50% of the annual pollution days were induced mainly by TSP. Spring and winter had relatively higher dustfall intensities, and dense traffic and residential areas had the highest dustfall intensities in the Urumqi metropolitan area. With an annual average precipitation of less than 300 mm, atmospheric particulates in Urumqi could be hardly removed through wet deposition. During spring and summertime prevailing winds from northwest and northeast could carry aeolian dust particles from sandy deserts to Urumqi. Aeolian dusts from deserts would remain to be a priority regarding air pollution control in arid oasis cities.
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
Abstract ( 1782 )     PDF (842KB) ( 2404 )  
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.
Soil substrate as a cascade of capillary barriers for conserving water in a desert environment: lessons learned from arid nature
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 690-703.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0068-7
Abstract ( 1785 )     PDF (666KB) ( 1894 )  
Interaction between soil pedogenesis, subsurface water dynamics, climate, vegetation and human ingenuity in a desert environment has been found to result in a unique ecohydrological system with an essentially three dimensional sedimentation structure in the bed of a recharge dam in Oman. A 3-D array of silt blocks sand-wiched by dry sand-filled horizontal and vertical fractures was studied in pot experiments as a model of a natural prototype. Pots are filled with a homogenous sand-silt mixture (control) or artificially structured (smart design, SD) soil substrates. Rhodes grass and ivy (Ipomea, Convolvulaceae) were grown in the pots during the hottest season in Oman. Soil moisture content (SMC) was measured at different depths over a period of 20 days without irrigation. SD preserved the SMC of the root zone for both ivy and grass (SMC of around 25%–30% compared to <10% for control, 3 days after the last irrigation). Even after 20 days, SMC was around 18% in the SD and 7% in the control. This, similar to the case of a natural prototype, is attributed to the higher upward capillary movement of water in control pots and intensive evaporation. The capillary barrier of sand sheaths causes discontinuity in moisture mi-gration from the micro-pores in the silt blocks to sand pores. The blocks serve as capillarity-locked water buffers, which are depleted at a slow rate by transpiration rather than evaporation from the soil surface. This creates a unique ecosystem with a dramatic difference in vegetation between SD-pots and control pots. Consequently, the Noy-Meir edaphic factor, conceptualizing the ecological impact of 1-D vertical heterogeneity of desert soils, should be generalized to incorporate 3-D soil heterogeneity patterns. This agro-engineering control of the soil substrate and soil moisture distribution and dynamics (SMDaD) can be widely used by desert farmers as a cheap technique, with significant savings of irrigation water.
Land surface temperature retrieval for arid regions based on Landsat-8 TIRS data: a case study in Shihezi, Northwest China
Lei YANG, YunGang CAO, XiaoHua ZHU, ShengHe ZENG, GuoJiang YANG, JiangYong HE, XiuChun YANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 704-716.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0071-z
Abstract ( 2167 )     PDF (5399KB) ( 4211 )  
Scientific interest in geophysical information about land surface temperature (LST) is ever increasing, as such information provides a base for a large number of applications, including environmental and agricultural monitoring. Therefore, the research of LST retrieval has become a hot topic. Recent availability of Landsat-8 satellite imagery provides a new data source for LST retrieval. Hence, exploring an adaptive method with reliable accuracy seems to be essential. In this study, basing on features of Landsat-8 TIRS thermal infrared channels, we re-calculated parameters in the atmospheric transmittance empirical models of the existing split-window algorithm, and estimated the ground emissivity with the help of the land cover classification map of the study area. Furthermore, a split-window algorithm was rebuilt by virtual of the estimation model of the updated atmospheric transmittance and the ground emissivity, and then a remote sensing retrieval for the LST of Shihezi city in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of Northwest China was conducted on the basis of this modified algorithm. Finally, precision validation of the new model was implemented by using the MODIS LST products. The results showed that the LST retrieval from Landsat-8 TIRS data based on our algorithm has a higher credibility, and the retrieved LST is more consistent with the MODIS LST products. This indicated that the modified algorithm is suitable for retrieving LST with competitive accuracy. With higher resolutions, Landsat-8 TIRS data may provide more accurate observation for LST retrieval.
Fluxes of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in an alpine wetland and an alpine grassland of the Tianshan Mountains, China
GuiXiang HE, KaiHui LI, XueJun LIU, YanMing GONG, YuKun HU
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 717-724.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0070-0
Abstract ( 1619 )     PDF (518KB) ( 1806 )  
Methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are known to be major greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. To identify the flux dynamics of these greenhouse gases is, therefore, of great significance. In this paper, we conducted a comparative study on an alpine grassland and alpine wetland at the Bayinbuluk Grassland Eco-system Research Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences. By using opaque, static, manual stainless steel chambers and gas chromatography, we measured the fluxes of CH4, N2O and CO2 from the grassland and wetland through an in situ monitoring study from May 2010 to October 2012. The mean flux rates of CH4, N2O and CO2 for the experimental alpine wetland in the growing season (from May to October) were estimated at 322.4 μg/(m2•h), 16.7 μg/(m2•h) and 76.7 mg/(m2•h), respectively; and the values for the alpine grassland were –88.2 μg/(m2•h), 12.7 μg/(m2•h), 57.3 mg/(m2•h), respectively. The gas fluxes showed large seasonal and annual variations, suggesting weak fluxes in the non-growing season. The relationships between these gas fluxes and environental factors were analyzed for the two alpine ecosystems. The results showed that air temperature, precipitation, soil temperature and soil moisture can greatly influence the fluxes of CH4, N2O and CO2, but the alpine grassland and alpine wetland showed different feedback mechanisms under the same climate and environmental conditions.
Carbon fixation and its influence factors of biological soil crusts in a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert, northern China
Lei HUANG, ZhiShan ZHANG, XinRong LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 725-734.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0027-3
Abstract ( 1695 )     PDF (952KB) ( 2452 )  
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are an important type of land cover in arid desert landscapes and play an important role in the carbon source-sink exchange within a desert system. In this study, two typical BSCs, moss crusts and algae crusts, were selected from a revegetated sandy area of the Tengger Desert in northern China, and the experiment was carried out over a 3 year period from January 2010 to November 2012. We obtained the effective active wetting time to maintain the physiological activity of BSCs based on the continuous field measurements and previous laboratory studies on BSCs photosynthesis and respiration rates. And then we developed a BSCs carbon fixation model that is driven by soil moisture. The results indicated that moss crusts and algae crusts had significant effects on soil moisture and temperature dynamics by decreasing rainfall infiltration. The mean carbon fixation rates of moss and algae crusts were 0.21 and 0.13 g C/(m2•d), respectively. The annual carbon fixations of moss crusts and algae crusts were 64.9 and 38.6 g C/(m2•a), respectively, and the carbon fixation of non-rainfall water reached 11.6 g C/(m2•a) (30.2% of the total) and 8.8 g C/(m2•a) (43.6% of the total), respectively. Finally, the model was tested and verified with continuous field observations. The data of the modeled and measured CO2 fluxes matched notably well. In desert regions, the carbon fixation is higher with high-frequency rainfall even the total amount of seasonal rainfall was the same.
Effects of biological soil crusts and drought on emergence and survival of a Patagonian perennial grass in the Monte of Argentina
Flavia Alejandra FUNK, Alejandro LOYDI, Guadalupe PETER
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 735-741.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0022-8
Abstract ( 1725 )     PDF (281KB) ( 1987 )  
Biological soil crusts are widely distributed in arid and semiarid regions. They have an important ecological role, especially by modifying physical and chemical properties of soils. Biological crusts may also modify seed germination and seedling establishment. The effects vary widely according to the type of crust and the vascular plant species. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of moss-dominated biological soil crusts on the emergence, biomass and survival of Poa ligularis Nees ex Steud. under different irrigation regimes. We collected seeds of P. ligularis and biological soil crusts composed of two species of mosses: Syntrichia princeps (De Not.) Mitt and Ceratodon purpureus (Hedw.) Brid. from an area in the Monte of Argentina. The result showed that seedling emergence of P. ligularis was higher in treatments with bare soil than in soil covered by crusts, and also in those with watering to field capacity. Mean emergence time was higher in treatments with bare soil and watering to field capacity. Seedling biomass also showed significant differences between treatments. These results suggest that biological soil crusts dominated by mosses do not promote P. ligularis emergence, although they would not affect its survival.
Effects of artificially cultivated biological soil crusts on soil nutrients and biological activities in the Loess Plateau
YanMin ZHAO, QingKe ZHU, Ping LI, LeiLei ZHAO, LuLu WANG, XueLiang ZHENG, Huan MA
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 742-752.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0032-6.
Abstract ( 1846 )     PDF (292KB) ( 2676 )  
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) play an important role in the early succession of vegetation restoration in the Loess Plateau, China. To evaluate the effects of artificially cultivated BSCs on the soil surface micro-environment, we obtained natural moss crusts and moss-lichen crusts from the Loess Plateau of Shaanxi province, and subsequently inoculated and cultivated on horizontal and sloping surfaces of loess soil in a greenhouse. The chemical and biological properties of the subsoil under cultivated BSCs were determined after 10 weeks of cultivation. The results indicated that BSCs coverage was more than 65% after 10 weeks of cultivation. Moss crust coverage reached 40% after 5 weeks of cultivation. Compared with the control, soil organic matter and available nitrogen contents in moss crust with the horizontal treatments increased by 100.87% and 48.23%, respectively; increased by 67.56% and 52.17% with the sloping treatments, respectively; they also increased in moss-lichen crust with horizontal and sloping treatments, but there was no significant difference. Available phosphorus in cultivated BSCs was reduced, soil pH was lower and cationic exchange capacity was higher in cultivated BSCs than in the control. Alkaline phosphatase, urease and invertase activities were increased in artificially cultivated BSCs, and alkaline phosphatase activity in all cultivated BSCs was obviously higher than that in the control. Numbers of soil bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes were increased in the formation process of cultivated BSCs. These results indicate that BSCs could be formed rapidly in short-term cultivation and improve the mi-cro-environment of soil surface, which provides a scientific reference for vegetation restoration and ecological reconstruction in the Loess Plateau, China.
Brief Communication
Relations between soil heterogeneity and common reed (Phragmites australis Trin. ex Steud.) colonization in Keriya River Basin, Xinjiang of China
Lu GONG, ChangJun LI, Tashpolat TIYIP
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 753-761.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0031-7
Abstract ( 1377 )     PDF (503KB) ( 1841 )  
How common reed (Phragmites australis Trin. ex Steud.) colonization correlates to soil heterogeneity and environmental determinants remains unclear in arid areas. We conducted a field investigation and soil sampling in 100 plots along Keriya River Basin to uncover the relationship between common reed and heterogeneous soils. Reed colonization variables and its soil properties were measured and recorded for the analysis of their relationship using pearson correlation and redundancy analysis methods. The comparison results of common reed characteristics among 100 plots showed that common reeds performed strong tolerance and ecophysiological plasticity to edaphic stresses. Common reed colonization was tightly connected to soil heterogeneity according to the correla-tion analysis between its colonization characteristics and soil properties. Common reed colonization got feedbacks on soil properties as well, including the increase of soil organic matter and the alleviation of salt uplifting. The main limiting environmental determinant of common reed colonization was soil salt, followed by pH and soil water content.
Research Articles
Ecophysiological aspects in 105 plants species of saline and arid environments in Tunisia
Abdallah ATIA, Mokded RABHI, Ahmed DEBEZ, Chedly ABDELLY, Houda GOUIA, Chiraz CHAFFEI HAOUARI, Abderrazak SMAOUI
Journal of Arid Land. 2014, 6 (6): 762-770.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0028-2
Abstract ( 1549 )     PDF (297KB) ( 2716 )  
In Tunisian arid regions, plant life forms, ecotypes, physiological types and photosynthetic pathways (C3, C4 or CAM) remain unclear. Understanding the characters of these plant species could be important for land restoration. A literature survey was conducted for 105 species from arid regions of Tunisia. These plant species belong to several eco-types: halophytes, xerophytes, gypsophytes, psamophytes, xero-halophytes, gypso-halophytes, psamo-halophytes, psamo-xerophytes, xero-gypsophytes and hygro-halophytes. The variation of photosynthetic pathway types in the 105 studied species shows that 56.2% are C3, 41.0% are C4, 1.9% are CAM and 1.0% are C3-CAM. The C3 pathway is more abundant in the halophytes, whereas the C4 one is more common in the xerophytes, gypsophytes, gypso-halophytes and psamo-halophytes. The ratio of C3 to C4 species (C3/C4 ratio) is 0.2 in the psamo-halophytes, 0.8 in the gypso-halophytes, 1.1 in the xerophytes, 1.6 in the xero-halophytes, 1.8 in the hygrohalophytes, 2.0 in the psamophytes and 3.8 in the halophytes. The annuals are mainly C3 plants whereas most of perennials are C4 ones. The C3/C4 ratio is 1.3 in succulent species and 1.4 in non-succulent species. Thus, succulence seems not to affect the distribution of C3 and C4 pathways within the studied plants.  This investigation shows high percentages of C4 plants in plants of Tunisian arid regions. However, there are significant differences in their abundance among ecotypes. Based on C3/C4 ratio, the abundance of the C4 pathway is in the following order: psamo-halophytes, gypso-halophytes, xerophytes, xero-halophytes, hy-grohalophytes, psamophytes, halophytes. In Tunisian arid regions, C4 species are most abundant in xerophytes and less abundant in halophytes. In the Chenopodiaceae the number of C3 plants is 13 and the number of C4 species is 20 and in the Poaceae the number of C3 was 23 and the number of C4 was 19 species. Thus, the most C4 proportion is in the Chenopodiaceae and Poaceae species. This confirms the fact that the Chenopodiaceae and the Poaceae were the leading families that tolerate salinity and aridity.
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
Abstract ( 1362 )     PDF (416KB) ( 2744 )  
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.