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01 December 2016, Volume 8 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research Articles
Long-term oscillation of drought conditions in the western China: an analysis of PDSI on a decadal scale
JIN Jia, WANG Quan, LI Lanhai
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 819-831.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0089-5
Abstract ( 1142 )     PDF (396KB) ( 2712 )  
Water resource availability is one of the primary limiting factors with regard to ecosystems in the western China. Having a clear understanding of multi-scale drought patterns in this region is a key step for adaption and mitigation to climate change. The Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) is a widely applied index to assess drought conditions. In this study, long-term monthly self-calibrated PDSI data from 1951 to 2012 were examined for drought spatiotemporal variations in the western China. The results clearly indicated that apparent spatial heterogeneities were evidenced between two sub-regions (arid land with annual precipitation less than 200 mm and semiarid land with annual precipitation between 200 to 500 mm) as well as in the entire region of the western China. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) analyses on monthly PDSI and other atmospheric variable time-series obtained from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University revealed that all monthly time-series of variables could be completely decomposed into eight intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) and a trend (residual). This indicates that the monthly PDSI and atmospheric variables of the semiarid area in the western China contain eight quasi-period oscillations on various timescale spanning, seasonal to decadal cycles and a trend of a larger timescale from 1951–2012. The multi-scale drought patterns identified in this research could be powerful supports for decision-making regarding coping with droughts in this region.
Interdecadal variations of pan-evaporation at the southern and northern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains, China
LI Sisi, WANG Quan, LI Lanhai
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 832-845.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0018-7
Abstract ( 1095 )     PDF (314KB) ( 1801 )  
Evaporation controlled by meteorological parameters plays a crucial role in hydrology, meteorology and water resources management. An insight view of long-term variation in evaporation will help understanding the effects of climate change and provide useful information for rational utilization of water resources, especially in the arid land where the shortage of water resources exists. However, the lack of data on evaporation led to difficulties in assessing the impacts of climate change on evaporation, especially in arid mountainous area. This study investigated the long-term variation of the pan-evaporation (Ep) measured by E601 type evaporation pan and its influencing climatic factors at both northern and southern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang of China using the ensemble empirical mode decomposition method and Path analysis. The results revealed that Eps at both northern and southern slopes had obvious interdecadal variation within cycles of 3–4 and 7–8 years. Eps at both slopes sharply decreased in early 1980s, but increased after late 1990s. Path analysis showed that the 3–4 years cycle of Ep at the northern and southern slopes was mainly dependent upon actual water vapor pressure with a negative direct path coefficient of –0.515 and sunshine duration with a positive direct path coefficient of 0.370, respectively. The variation of Ep with cycle of 7–8 years at the northern slope was attributed to the wind speed with a direct path coefficient of 0.774. Average temperature had a direct path coefficient of 0.813 in 7–8 years cycle at the southern slope. The assessment of Ep variation and its causes provides information essential for a good understanding of hydrologic cycle and regional climate of arid mountainous regions in Xinjiang of China and offers a theoretical reference for distribution and utilization of water resources.
Summer atmospheric boundary layer structure in the hinterland of Taklimakan Desert, China
WANG Minzhong, WEI Wenshou, HE Qing, YANG Yuhui, FAN Lei, ZHANG Jiantao
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 846-860.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0054-3
Abstract ( 1135 )     PDF (478KB) ( 1533 )  
Understanding the characteristics of the structure of desert atmospheric boundary layer and its land surface process is of great importance to the simulations of regional weather and climate. To investigate the atmospheric boundary layer structure and its forming mechanism of Taklimakan Desert, and to improve the accuracy and precision of regional weather and climate simulations, we carried out a GPS radiosonde observation experiment in the hinterland of Taklimakan Desert from 25 June to 3 July, 2015. Utilizing the densely observed sounding data, we analyzed the vertical structures of daytime convective boundary layer and nighttime stable boundary layer in summer over this region, and also discussed the impacts of sand-dust and precipitation events on the desert atmospheric boundary layer structure. In summer, the convective boundary layer in the hinterland of Taklimakan Desert developed profoundly and its maximum height could achieve 4,000 m; the stable boundary layer at nighttime was about 400–800-m thick and the residual mixing layer above it could achieve a thickness over 3,000 m. Sand-dust weather would damage the structures of nighttime stable boundary layer and daytime convective boundary layer, and the dust particle swarm can weak the solar radiation absorbed by the ground surface and further restrain the strong development of convective boundary layer in the daytime. Severe convective precipitation process can change the heat from the ground surface to the atmosphere in a very short time, and similarly can damage the structure of desert atmospheric boundary layer remarkably. Moreover, the height of atmospheric boundary layer was very low when raining. Our study verified the phenomenon that the atmospheric boundary layer with supernormal thickness exists over Taklimakan Desert in summer, which could provide a reference and scientific bases for the regional numerical models to better represent the desert atmospheric boundary layer structure.
Variation of Zn content in soils under different land-use types in the Hetao oasis, Inner Mongolia of China
ZHU Yangchun, ZHAO Xueyong, LIAN Jie, CHEN Min
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 861-870.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0056-1
Abstract ( 956 )     PDF (285KB) ( 1358 )  
Understanding the status and distribution of the micronutrient Zn in soils is important for managing plant growth and preventing soil pollution for agricultural irrigation systems in arid and semi-arid regions. In this study, a total of 195 soil samples from five soil layers (0–20, 20–40, 40–60, 60–80 and 80–100 cm) in the three land-use types (wasteland, forestland and cropland) after long-term agricultural fertilization and irrigation with Yellow River water were collected in the middle of the Hetao oasis, i.e. the Yongji irrigation sub-oasis. We analyzed the vertical and spatial distributions of Zn content and its relationship with soil properties to determine whether differences of Zn content existed in the soil profiles. The results revealed that the mean content of Zn was 107 mg/kg, 1.9 times higher than the background value (55.7 mg/kg) of the Hetao oasis and much lower than the secondary standard value (300 mg/kg) of the Chinese Environmental Quality Standard for Soils when pH>7.5. Soil Zn contents were not significantly different and the coefficients of variation of Zn contents were less than 50% in the five soil layers. Soil Zn content was similar from southern to northern parts but increased from western to eastern parts in the sub-oasis. Soil Zn contents did not differ significantly among the three land-use types, but soil total nitrogen (TN) contents were significantly higher in the agriculturally managed forestland and cropland than in the wasteland (P<0.05). Zn was significantly and positively correlated with TN (F=36.6, P<0.001). The use of fertilizers may increase the content of Zn in soils, but flooding irrigation may minimize the differences in the spatial distribution of soil Zn content in the whole sub-oasis. This research is of important value for soil pollution control and sustainable land use management in arid and semi-arid regions.
Heavy metal contamination of urban topsoil in a petrochemical industrial city in Xinjiang, China
WANG Wei, LAI Yingshuai, MA Yuanyuan, LIU Zilong, WANG Shufen, HONG Chenglin
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 871-880.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0057-0
Abstract ( 985 )     PDF (280KB) ( 1665 )  
Heavy metal pollution is a widespread phenomenon in many countries of the world. In this study, we conducted a field investigation to assess the status of heavy metal pollution in urban soils of Dushanzi, a district of Karamay city in Xinjiang, China. A total of 56 soil samples in the topsoil layer of 0–15 cm were collected within the urban area and seven elements (Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, As and Ni) were analyzed. The mean concentrations of these metals were all higher than their corresponding background values of soils in Xinjiang. We used the pollution index and ecological risk index to assess the degree of heavy metal pollution and the potential ecological risk of urban soils. The pollution index values of Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, As and Ni were 1.81, 1.35, 4.64, 1.27, 1.80, 1.39 and 1.22, respectively; and the potential ecological risk index values for them were 12.03, 1.79, 185.05, 8.39, 4.78, 18.44 and 1.79, respectively. These results indicated that urban soils in Dushanzi were polluted by heavy metals to some extent and demonstrated a high ecological risk, as influenced by industrial activities. Cd was the key element for the metal pollution of urban soils in the study area. Correlation analyses, principal component analysis coupled with the spatial distribution maps of element concentrations further revealed that heavy metal pollution of urban soils can be mainly attributed to petrochemical industry, coal chemical industry, traffic and commercial activities.
Effects of soil nutrients and climate factors on belowground biomass in an alpine meadow in the source region of the Yangtze-Yellow rivers, Tibetan Plateau of China
WANG Haiming, SUN Jian, LI Weipeng, WU Jianbo, CHEN Youjun, LIU Wenhui
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 881-889.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0055-2
Abstract ( 1325 )     PDF (315KB) ( 1826 )  
Improving our knowledge of the effects of environmental factors (e.g. soil conditions, precipitation and temperature) on belowground biomass in an alpine grassland is essential for understanding the consequences of carbon storage in this biome. The object of this study is to investigate the relative importance of soil nutrients and climate factors on belowground biomass in an alpine meadow in the source region of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Tibetan Plateau. Soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorous (TP) contents and belowground biomass were measured at 22 sampling sites across an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. We analyzed the data by using the redundancy analysis to determine the main environmental factors affecting the belowground biomass and the contribution of each factor. The results showed that SOC, TN and TP were the main factors that influenced belowground biomass, and the contribution of SOC, TN and TP on biomass was in the range of 47.87%–72.06% at soil depths of 0–30 cm. Moreover, the combined contribution of annual mean temperature (AMT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP) on belowground biomass ranged from 0.92% to 4.10%. A potential mechanism for the differences in belowground biomass was caused by the variations in soil nitrogen and phosphorous, which were coupled with SOC. A significant correlation was observed between MAP and soil nutrients (SOC, TN and TP) at the soil depth of 0–10 cm (P<0.05). We concluded that precipitation is an important driving force in regulating ecosystem functioning as reflected in variations of soil nutrients (SOC, TN and TP) and dynamics of belowground biomass in alpine grassland ecosystems.
Effects of grazing intensity on seed production of Caragana stenophylla along a climatic aridity gradient in the Inner Mongolia Steppe, China
XIE Lina, CHEN Weizhong, Christopher A GABLER, HAN Lei, GUO Hongyu, CHEN Qing, MA Chengcang, GU Song
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 890-898.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0050-7
Abstract ( 1214 )     PDF (189KB) ( 1596 )  
As the increases of climatic aridity and grazing intensity, shrubs play an increasingly important role in grassland ecosystem in arid and semi-arid regions, and its abundance also generally increases. However, the effects of climatic aridity and grazing intensity on sexual reproduction of shrubs in grassland remain largely unclear. In order to understand the effects of grazing intensity and climatic drought stress, and their interaction on seed production of shrub species, we examined the seed number, seed weight and seed yield of Caragana stenophylla under three grazing intensities (fenced, mild grazing and severe grazing) across a climatic aridity gradient (semi-arid, arid, very arid and intensively arid zones) in the Inner Mongolia Steppe, northern China during 2012–2013. The seed number, seed weight and seed yield gradually increased from the semi-arid to the very arid zones, but decreased from the very arid to the intensively arid zones in fenced plots. The seed number and seed yield decreased from the semi-arid to the intensively arid zones in mild and severe grazing treatment plots, therefore, grazing enhanced the suppression effect of climatic aridity on seed production of C. stenophylla. The seed number and seed yield gradually decreased as grazing intensity increased. The seed weight was highest in severe grazing plots, followed by the mild grazing plots and then the fenced plots. Precipitation varied interannually during the study period. We observed that the seed number, seed weight and seed yield were lower in the low precipitation year (2013) than in the high precipitation year (2012). As climatic drought stress increased, the negative effects of grazing on seed production of C. stenophylla also gradually increased. Our results indicated that climatic drought stress may contribute to the encroachment of C. stenophylla shrub in arid zones by promoting its seed production. However, grazing had negative effects on sexual reproduction of C. stenophylla, and the combined effects of drought stress and grazing seriously suppressed sexual reproduction of C. stenophylla in the intensively arid zone.
Long-term effects of mowing on plasticity and allometry of Leymus chinensis in a temperate semi-arid grassland, China
LI Xiliang, HOU Xiangyang, REN Weibo, Taogetao BAOYIN, LIU Zhiying, Warwick BADGERY, LI Yaqiong, WU Xinhong, XU Huimin
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 899-909.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0005-z
Abstract ( 1207 )     PDF (290KB) ( 2132 )  
Mowing is an important land management practice for natural semi-arid regions. A growing body of empirical evidence shows that different mowing regimes affect the functioning of grassland ecosystems. However, the responses of plant functional traits to long-term mowing and their allometric scaling under long-term mowing are poorly understood. For a better understanding of the effects of mowing on grassland ecosystems, we analyzed the allometric traits of leaves and stems of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel., a dominant grass species in eastern Eurasian temperate grassland, at different mowing intensities (no clipping, clipping once every two years, once a year and twice a year). Experiments were conducted on plots established over a decade ago in a typical steppe of Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia, China. Results showed that most of the functional traits of L. chinensis decreased with the increased mowing intensity. The responses of leaves and stems to long-term mowing were asymmetric, in which leaf traits were more stable than stem traits. Also significant allometric relationships were found among most of the plant functional traits under the four mowing treatments. Sensitive traits of L. chinensis (e.g. leaf length and stem length) were primary indicators associated with aboveground biomass decline under high mowing intensity. In conclusion, the allometric growth of different functional traits of L. chinensis varies with different long-term mowing practices, which is likely to be a strategy used by the plant to adapt to the mowing disturbances.
Concentrations and isotopic characteristics of atmospheric reactive nitrogen around typical sources in Beijing, China
LIU Jieyun, ZHANG Ying, LIU Xuejun, TANG Aohan, QIU Husen, ZHANG Fusuo
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 910-920.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0020-0
Abstract ( 969 )     PDF (357KB) ( 1641 )  
With rapid economic growth in China, anthropogenic reactive nitrogen (Nr) emissions have more than doubled over the last two or three decades. Atmospheric Nr pollution is an environmental concern in China especially in megacities such as Beijing. In order to identify the impact of emission sources on atmospheric Nr pollution, we measured atmospheric Nr concentrations and their isotopic composition (δ15N) dynamics at three typical sites: landfill, pig farm and road traffic sites in Beijing from April 2010 to March 2011. Passive samplers were used for monitoring ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), two major Nr species, while their δ15N values were measured by a diffusion method combined with mass spectrometer approach. The raw water pool of the landfill and fattening house of the pig farm were important NH3 sources with mean NH3 concentrations being 2,829 and 2,369 μg/m3, respectively, while the road traffic site was a minor NH3 source (10.6 μg/m3). NH3 concentrations at sites besides the landfill and roads were high in summer and low in winter due to the annual variation of temperature and the change of emission source intensity. In contrast, the NH3 concentrations inside the pig farm house were high in winter and low in summer, for the barn windows were open in summer and closed in winter. The mean NO2 concentrations were 89.8, 32.9 and 23.0 μg/m3 at the road traffic, the landfill and pig farm sites, respectively. Due to vehicle fuel combustion, NO2 concentration at the road traffic was the highest among the three sources, and the road traffic was a main NO2 emission source. PM10, pNH4+ and pNO3 concentrations in particulate matter were higher in summer than in winter (except PM10 for the pig farm). The δ15NH3 values ranged from –19.14‰ to 7.82‰, with an average of –0.05‰ for the landfill site, and the lowest values were observed in June and July. The δ15NH3 values for the pig farm site ranged from –29.78‰ to –14.05‰ with an average of –24.51‰, and the δ15NH3 values were more negative in summer than in the other seasons. The δ15NO2 values were –9.63‰ to 7.04‰ with an average of –3.72‰ for the road traffic site. The δ15NO2 values were more negative in summer than those in the other seasons. The different δ15N values for the various Nr species in different sources may serve as important indicators for identifying atmospheric Nr sources in megacities. The results may also provide the theoretical basis for research on the atmospheric N deposition and its sources.
Seasonal patterns in water uptake for Medicago sativa grown along an elevation gradient with shallow groundwater table in Yanchi county of Ningxia, Northwest China
ZHU Lin, ZHANG Huili, GAO Xue, QI Yashu
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 921-934.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0017-8
Abstract ( 1072 )     PDF (399KB) ( 1505 )  
Lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) is a deep-rooted perennial leguminous forage with high evapo-transpiration rate exceeding the annual precipitation in semi-arid areas of Northwest China. Groundwater might be the potential water sources of lucerne in the area with shallow groundwater table. In this study, stable isotopic compositions of oxygen and hydrogen (δ18O and δD) of different water sources and xylem sap were analyzed to determine the seasonal (April, June, July and August) and topographic (three slope positions) variations in water sources for lucerne growing in Ningxia eastern semi-arid area adjacent to Mu Us Desert characterized by shallow groundwater table. IsoSource software was used to calculate the probable contribution of different water sources to the total plant water uptake. Stomatal conductance, stem water potential, carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) of whole plant were also determined for evaluating the water status of lucerne growing at different slope positions. The results showed that soil water content increased as the elevation decreased. Oxygen compositions of soil water in the 0–40 cm profile fluctuated considerably. Soil water δ18O values in deep profile (>3.5 m) were similar to those in groundwater, implying the recharge of groundwater to this soil layer. Highest water utilization rate from deep soil profile (below 350 cm) was recorded for lucerne grown at the slope position 1 (groundwater table depth of 3.5–3.9 m) in April, June and July. The lucernes at slope position 2 (groundwater table depth of 5.8–6.4 m) and slope position 3 (groundwater table depth 7.1–8.3 m) mostly used water from deep soil layers (below 350 cm) during dry period, and turned to use water from superficial soil layer in wet period. Higher yield, Δ13C value of whole plant and stomatal conductance were observed for lucerne grown at the slope position 1 than those at other slope positions. These results indicated that groundwater is a significant water source for transpiration of lucerne grown in Ningxia semi-arid area with shallow groundwater table where lucerne grassland is suggested to be established so as to obtain better yield performance.
Leaf N and P stoichiometry of 57 plant species in the Karamori Mountain Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China
TAO Ye, WU Ganlin, ZHANG Yuanming, ZHOU Xiaobing
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 935-947.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0019-6
Abstract ( 1105 )     PDF (202KB) ( 1786 )  
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the major nutrients that constrain plant growth and development, as well as the structure and function of ecosystems. Hence, leaf N and P patterns can contribute to a deep understanding of plant nutrient status, nutrient limitation type of ecosystems, plant life-history strategy and differentiation of functional groups. However, the status and pattern of leaf N and P stoichiometry in N-deficiency desert ecosystems remain unclear. Under this context, the leaf samples from 57 plant species in the Karamori Mountain Ungulate Nature Reserve, eastern Junggar Desert, China were investigated and the patterns and interrelations of leaf N and P were comparatively analyzed. The results showed that the average leaf N concentration, P concentration, and N:P ratio were 30.81 mg/g, 1.77 mg/g and 17.72, respectively. This study found that the leaf N concentration and N:P ratio were significantly higher than those of studies conducted at global, national and regional scales; however, the leaf P concentration was at moderate level. Leaf N concentration was allometrically correlated with leaf P and N:P ratio across all species. Leaf N, P concentrations and N:P ratio differed to a certain extent among plant functional groups. C4 plants and shrubs, particularly shrubs with assimilative branches, showed an obviously lower P concentration than those of C3 plants, herbs and shrubs without assimilative branches. Shrubs with assimilative branches also had lower N concentration. Fabaceae plants had the highest leaf N, P concentrations (as well as Asteraceae) and N:P ratio; other families had a similar N, P-stoichiometry. The soil in this study was characterized by a lack of N (total N:P ratio was 0.605), but had high N availability compared with P (i.e. the available N:P ratio was 1.86). This might explain why plant leaves had high N concentration (leaf N:P ratio>16). In conclusion, the desert plants in the extreme environment in this study have formed their intrinsic and special stoichiometric characteristics in relation to their life-history strategy.
Soil characteristics and plant distribution in saline wetlands of Oued Righ, northeastern Algerian Sahara
Naima KOULL, Abdelmadjid CHEHMA
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 948-959.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0060-5
Abstract ( 993 )     PDF (190KB) ( 1760 )  
Saline wetlands are rare ecosystems in Saharan areas, which are important for conservation of many endemic and rare plant species. In this study, we investigated five saline wetland sites of the Oued Righ region, located in the northeastern Algeria, to determine the environmental factors controlling the composition and distribution of plant communities. We established a total of 20 transects to measure the vegetation parameters (density and cover) and soil characteristics (electrical conductivity, moisture, pH, CaSO4, CaCO3, organic matter, Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, SO42–, Cl, NO3 and HCO3). A total of 17 plant species belonging to seven families were identified. The natural vegetation was composed of halophytic and hydro-halophytic plant communities, presented specially by the species of Amaranthaceae family. Soils in the studied wetlands were moist, gypsiferous, alkaline, salty to very salty with dominance of chloride and calcium. Results of the Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) showed that community structure and species distribution patterns of vegetation were mainly dependent on soil characteristics, mainly being soil salinity (CaSO4, K+, Ca2+ and Cl) and moisture. The distribution of plant species was found to follow a specific zonal pattern. Halocnemum strobilaceum was observed to grow in highly salt-affected soils, thus being the more salt-tolerant species. Phragmites communis plants were widely distributed in the study area with a high density at the edges of accumulated water body. Juncus maritimus, Tamarix gallica and Salicornia fructicosa grew in soils that are partially or completely flooded in winter. Suaeda fructicosa, Traganum nudatum, Arthrocnemum glaucum, Aeluropus littoralis, Cressa cretica and Cynodon dactylon were distributed in salty and moist soils away from the open water body. Plants of Zygophyllum album, Limonastrirum guyonianum, Cornulaca monacantha, Cistanche tinctoria, Mollugo nudicaulis and Sonchus maritimus were found in soils with less salty and moisture. They constituted the outermost belt of vegetation in the studied wetlands. This study will provide a reference on introducing the salt-tolerant plant species as a fodder resource in saline habitats and regenerating the degraded saline wetlands.
Soil properties and herbaceous characteristics in an age sequence of Haloxylon ammodendron plantations in an oasis-desert ecotone of northwestern China
ZHANG Ke, SU Yongzhong, WANG Ting, LIU Tingna
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 960-973.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0096-6
Abstract ( 1144 )     PDF (708KB) ( 1609 )  
Haloxylon ammodendron, a typical desert shrub with C4 pathway of photosynthesis, possessing a strong ability to adapt to an extreme drought environment, has a rapid growth rate in sandy lands and is widely used in sand-fixing shelter-forest systems in oasis-desert ecotones. To assess the effects of H. ammodendron plantation on the soil, we measured soil properties and herbaceous characteristics along a nearly 40-year chronosequence after H. ammodendron was planted in shifting sand dunes in an oasis-desert ecotone. Results showed that silt and clay fractions increased significantly in the topsoil. The accumulation rates of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) were faster in the early stages (0–9 years) and slower in the late stages (9–39 years). The soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC) were higher than those in the non-vegetation dunes. Moreover, the soil properties in the topsoil (0–5 cm) showed larger variation scope than those in the deeper soil layers (5–20 cm). The significant relationships of the soil silt+clay content with the chemical properties mainly appeared in the topsoil. The wind erosion susceptibility of the soil, evaluated by erodible fraction (EF), decreased significantly with increasing H. ammodendron plantation age. Additionally, the annual pioneer herb, Agriophyllum squarrosum, was gradually substituted by the annual salt-tolerant herb, Bassia dasyphylla, with increasing plantation age. These results showed beneficial effects of H. ammodendron plantation on improving soil conditions. However, the dynamics of the herbaceous species also reminded us that the long-term effects of H. ammodendron plantation, especially on changes in vegetation composition, still need further evaluation.
The distribution of isotopes and chemicals in precipitation in Shule River Basin, northwestern China: an implication for water cycle and groundwater recharge
ZHAO Wei, MA Jinzhu, GU Chunjie, QI Shi, ZHU Gaofeng, HE Jiahua
Journal of Arid Land. 2016, 8 (6): 973-985.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0091-y
Abstract ( 883 )     PDF (435KB) ( 1577 )  
The distribution of stable isotopes and ions in precipitation in the Shule River Basin, northwestern China, were investigated to understand the regional water cycle and precipitation input to groundwater recharge. The study found that the mean annual concentrations of Ca2+, Na+, SO42–, Cl, Mg2+, NO3, and K+ in the basin were lower than those in other arid areas of northwestern China. The average concentrations of ions in the lower reaches of the Shule River were higher than those in the upper reaches. The results showed that the main ionic concentrations decreased with the increase of precipitation amount, indicating that heavy precipitation cannot only wash crustal aerosols out of the atmosphere, but also create a dilution effect. Cl– and Na+ in precipitation had a strong and positive correlation, suggesting a common origin for the two ions. However, the excess of Na+, combined with non-marine SO42– and NO3, indicated that some ions were contributed by terrestrial origins. In the extremely arid regions of northwestern China, the evaporation process obviously changes the original relationship between δ2H and δ18O in precipitation, and leads to d-excess values <8‰. δ18O and temperature were significantly correlated, suggested that temperature strongly affected the characteristics of isotopes in the study area. The δ18O value indicates a dominant effect of westerly air masses and southwest monsoon in warm months, and the integrated influence of westerly and Siberian-Mongolian polar air masses in cold months. The d-excess values were generally lower in warm months than those in cold months, indicating that post-condensation processes played a significant role in the water cycle. The results provide reliable precipitation input information that can be used in future groundwater recharge calculations in the study area.