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10 February 2019, Volume 11 Issue 1 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Orginal Article
Climate change, water resources and sustainable development in the arid and semi-arid lands of Central Asia in the past 30 years
Yang YU, Yuanyue PI, Xiang YU, Zhijie TA, Lingxiao SUN, DISSE Markus, Fanjiang ZENG, Yaoming LI, Xi CHEN, Ruide YU
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 1-14.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0073-3
Abstract ( 384 )   HTML ( 29 )     PDF (335KB) ( 525 )  

The countries of Central Asia are collectively known as the five ''-stans'': Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. In recent times, the Central Asian region has been affected by the shrinkage of the Aral Sea, widespread desertification, soil salinization, biodiversity loss, frequent sand storms, and many other ecological disasters. This paper is a review article based upon the collection, identification and collation of previous studies of environmental changes and regional developments in Central Asia in the past 30 years. Most recent studies have reached a consensus that the temperature rise in Central Asia is occurring faster than the global average. This warming trend will not only result in a higher evaporation in the basin oases, but also to a significant retreat of glaciers in the mountainous areas. Water is the key to sustainable development in the arid and semi-arid regions in Central Asia. The uneven distribution, over consumption, and pollution of water resources in Central Asia have caused severe water supply problems, which have been affecting regional harmony and development for the past 30 years. The widespread and significant land use changes in the 1990s could be used to improve our understanding of natural variability and human interaction in the region. There has been a positive trend of trans-border cooperation among the Central Asian countries in recent years. International attention has grown and research projects have been initiated to provide water and ecosystem protection in Central Asia. However, the agreements that have been reached might not be able to deliver practical action in time to prevent severe ecological disasters. Water management should be based on hydrographic borders and ministries should be able to make timely decisions without political intervention. Fully integrated management of water resources, land use and industrial development is essential in Central Asia. The ecological crisis should provide sufficient motivation to reach a consensus on unified water management throughout the region.

Environmental factors influencing snowfall and snowfall prediction in the Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China
Xueting ZHANG, Xuemei LI, Lanhai LI, Shan ZHANG, Qirui QIN
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 15-28.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0110-2
Abstract ( 344 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (484KB) ( 585 )  

Snowfall is one of the dominant water resources in the mountainous regions and is closely related to the development of the local ecosystem and economy. Snowfall predication plays a critical role in understanding hydrological processes and forecasting natural disasters in the Tianshan Mountains, where meteorological stations are limited. Based on climatic, geographical and topographic variables at 27 meteorological stations during the cold season (October to April) from 1980 to 2015 in the Tianshan Mountains located in Xinjiang of Northwest China, we explored the potential influence of these variables on snowfall and predicted snowfall using two methods: multiple linear regression (MLR) model (a conventional measuring method) and random forest (RF) model (a non-parametric and non-linear machine learning algorithm). We identified the primary influencing factors of snowfall by ranking the importance of eight selected predictor variables based on the relative contribution of each variable in the two models. Model simulations were compared using different performance indices and the results showed that the RF model performed better than the MLR model, with a much higher R2 value (R2=0.74; R2, coefficient of determination) and a lower bias error (RSR=0.51; RSR, the ratio of root mean square error to standard deviation of observed dataset). This indicates that the non-linear trend is more applicable for explaining the relationship between the selected predictor variables and snowfall. Relative humidity, temperature and longitude were identified as three of the most important variables influencing snowfall and snowfall prediction in both models, while elevation, aspect and latitude were of secondary importance, followed by slope and wind speed. These results will be beneficial to understand hydrological modeling and improve management and prediction of water resources in the Tianshan Mountains.

Assessing land transformation and associated degradation of the west part of Ganga River Basin using forest cover land use mapping and residual trend analysis
MATIN Shafique, GHOSH Sujit, D BEHERA Mukunda
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 29-42.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0106-y
Abstract ( 304 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (1881KB) ( 384 )  

The west part of Ganga River Basin (WGRB) has experienced continuous land transformation since the Indus Valley Civilisation shifted from the Indus basin to the Ganga basin. Particularly in the last few decades the land transformation has increased many-folds due to the changing climate and rapid increase in population. In this paper, we assessed land transformation and associated degradation in the WGRB based on the forest cover land use (FCLU) mapping and residual trend analysis (RTA). The FCLU maps for 1975 and 2010 were generated using 216 Landsat satellite images and validated using 1509 ground points. We mapped 29 forest and 18 non-forest types and estimated a total loss of 5571 km2 forest cover and expansion in settlement areas (5396 km2). Other major changes mapped include a decrease in wetlands and water bodies, while an increase in agriculture and barren lands with an overall mapping accuracy of 85.3% (kappa, 0.82) and 88.43% (kappa, 0.84) for 1975 and 2010, respectively. We also performed the RTA analysis using GIMMS-NDVI3g to identify areas of significant negative vegetative photosynthetic change as an indicator for land degradation. All the RTA models showed monotonic nature of the residual trends and resulted as moderately positive but highly significant (P<0.001). Land degradation in the form of barren land accompanied by a decline in vegetation quality and coverage was found prominent in the basin with a possibility of an accelerated rate of land degradation in future due to the rapid loss of permanent forest cover.

Interaction between climate and management on beta diversity components of vegetation in relation to soil properties in arid and semi-arid oak forests, Iran
MEHDI Heydari, FATEMEH Aazami, MARZBAN Faramarzi, REZA Omidipour, MASOUD Bazgir, DAVID Pothier, BERNARD Prévosto
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 43-57.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0024-z
Abstract ( 200 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (310KB) ( 478 )  

This study aimed to investigate the interaction between regions with different climatic conditions (arid vs. semi-arid) and management (protected vs. unprotected) on the turnover and nestedness of vegetation in relation to physical, chemical and biological properties of soils in the Ilam Province of Iran. In each of the two regions, we sampled 8 sites (4 managed and 4 unmanaged sites) within each of which we established 4 circular plots (1000 m2) that were used to investigate woody species, while two micro-plots (1 m×1 m) were established in each 1000-m2 plot to analyze herbaceous species. In each sample unit, we also extracted three soil samples (0-20 cm depth) for measuring soil properties. The results indicated that the interaction between region and conservational management significantly affected the percent of canopy cover of Persian oak (Quercus brantii Linddl), soil respiration, substrate-induced respiration, as well as beta and gamma diversities and turnover of plant species. The percent of oak canopy cover was positively correlated with soil silt, electrical conductivity, available potassium, and alpha diversity, whereas it was negatively correlated with plant turnover. In addition, plant turnover was positively related to available phosphorus, while nestedness of species was positively related to organic carbon and total nitrogen. According to these results, we concluded that physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of limited ecological niche generally influenced plant diversity. Also, this study demonstrated the major contribution of the beta diversity on gamma diversity, especially in semi-arid region, because of the higher heterogeneity of vegetation in this area.

Phenotypic plasticity of Artemisia ordosica seedlings in response to different levels of calcium carbonate in soil
Pingping XUE, Xuelai ZHAO, Yubao GAO, Xingdong HE
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 58-65.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0072-4
Abstract ( 226 )   HTML ( 4 )     PDF (253KB) ( 430 )  

Plant phenotypic plasticity is a common feature that is crucial for explaining interspecific competition, dynamics and biological evolution of plant communities. In this study, we tested the effects of soil CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) on the phenotypic plasticity of a psammophyte, Artemisia ordosica, an important plant species on sandy lands in arid and semi-arid areas of China, by performing pot experiments under different CaCO3 contents with a two-factor randomized block design and two orthogonal designs. We analyzed the growth responses (including plant height, root length, shoot-leaf biomass and root biomass) of A. ordosica seedlings to different soil CaCO3 contents. The results revealed that, with a greater soil CaCO3 content, A. ordosica seedlings gradually grew more slowly, with their relative growth rates of plant height, root length, shoot-leaf biomass and root biomass all decreasing significantly. Root N/P ratios showed significant negative correlations with the relative growth rates of plant height, shoot-leaf biomass and root length of A. ordosica seedlings; however, the relative growth rate of root length increased significantly with the root P concentration increased, showing a positive correlation. These results demonstrate that soil CaCO3 reduces the local P availability in soil, which produces a non-adaptive phenotypic plasticity to A. ordosica seedlings. This study should prove useful for planning and promoting the restoration of damaged/degraded vegetation in arid and semi-arid areas of China.

Variation and heritability of morphological and physiological traits among Leymus chinensis genotypes under different environmental conditions
Xue YANG, Junpeng LI, Tingting ZHAO, Lidong MO, Jianli ZHANG, Huiqin REN, Nianxi ZHAO, Yubao GAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 66-74.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0018-x
Abstract ( 248 )   HTML ( 4 )     PDF (294KB) ( 405 )  

Intraspecific trait variation and heritability in different environmental conditions not only suggest a potential for an evolutionary response but also have important ecological consequences at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. However, the contribution of quantitative trait variation within a grassland species to evolutionary responses or ecological consequences is seldom documented. Leymus chinensis is an important dominant species in semi-arid grasslands of China, which has seriously suffered from drought and high temperature stresses in recent decades. In the present study, we measured variation and heritability of 10 quantitative traits, namely the number of tillers, maximum shoot height, number of rhizomes, maximum rhizome length, rhizome mass, aboveground mass, root mass, maximum net photosynthetic rate (Pmax), specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf length to leaf width ratio (LL/LW), for 10 genotypes of L. chinensis under one non-stress (Ck) condition and three environmental stress conditions (i.e., drought (Dr), high temperature (Ht), and both drought and high temperature (DrHt)). Result indicated that (1) the interaction of genotype and environmental condition (G×E) was significant for 6 traits but not significant for the other 4 traits as shown by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), suggesting that different selection forces were placed for different traits on the factors dominating phenotypic responses to different environmental conditions. Moreover, these significant G×E effects on traits indicated significantly different phenotypic adaptive responses among L. chinensis genotypes to different environmental conditions. Additionally, individuals could be grouped according to environmental condition rather than genotype as shown by canonical discriminant analysis, indicating that environmental condition played a more important role in affecting phenotypic variation than genotype; (2) by one-way ANOVA, significant differences among L. chinensis genotypes were found in all 10 traits under Ck and Dr conditions, in 8 traits under DrHt condition and only in 4 traits under Ht condition; and (3) all 10 traits showed relatively low or non-measurable broad-sense heritability (H2) under stress conditions. However, the lowest H2 value for most traits did not occur under DrHt condition, which supported the hypothesis of 'unfavorable conditions have unpredictable effects' rather than 'unfavorable conditions decrease heritability'. Results from our experiment might aid to improve predictions on the potential impacts of climate changes on L. chinensis and eventually species conservation and ecosystem restoration.

Eco-physiological studies on desert plants: germination of Halothamnus iraqensis Botsch. seeds under different conditions
BHATT Arvind, R BHAT Narayana, MURRU Valentina, SANTO Andrea
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 75-85.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0121-7
Abstract ( 219 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (299KB) ( 430 )  

With the aim to investigate if the halophyte HalothamnusiraqensisBotsch.can be suitable for re-vegetation and remediation of salt-affected lands, this study evaluated(1) the effects of photoperiod, thermoperiod, storage period and wings' presenceon its seed germination, and (2) the ability of its seeds to have successful germination recovery after salt stress. Germination tests in different photoperiods (12 hlight/12 h darkness and total darkness) and thermoperiods (15°C/20°C and 20°C/25°C) were conducted for seeds collected in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and2016. The seeds collected in 2016 were sown under different salinity levels(0, 100, 200, 400 and 600 mMNaCl)to assess the salinity tolerance during the germination. Wings' presence highly inhibited seed germination of this species in both photoperiods andthermoperiodsunder all salinity level treatments. In addition, the germination recovery occurred well when seeds were deprived of their wings. The photoperiod of 12 h light/12 h darkness and the thermoperiodof 15°C/20°Cwere the best conditions for seed germination. Germination percentages of H. iraqensis seeds decreased with the increasing storage duration, especially after three years of the collection.In addition, H. iraqensisseeds were able to germinate under different salinity levels, and their germination percentages decreased with increasing salinity levels. H. iraqensisseeds have the ability to recover their germinationafteralleviating the salt stress, irrespective of photoperiod, highlighting the halophilous character of this species.

Soil fixation and erosion control by Haloxylon persicum roots in arid lands, Iran
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 86-96.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0021-2
Abstract ( 169 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (226KB) ( 415 )  

Vegetation roots contribute to soil fixation and reinforcement, thus improving soil resistance against erosion. Generally, the amount of soil fixation presented by roots mainly depends on root density and tensile strength. In the present study, we conducted the research in order to further understand the biotechnical properties of Haloxylon persicum and also to quantify its role in increasing soil cohesion in arid lands of Iran. Ten H. persicum shrubs were randomly selected for root distribution and strength investigations, in which five samples were set on flat terrain and other five samples on a moderate slope terrain. The profile trench method was used to assess the root area ratio (RAR) as the index of root density and distribution. Two profiles were dug around each sample, up and downslope for sloped treatment and north and south sides for flat treatment. The results showed that RAR increased with increasing soil depth and significantly decreased in 40-50 cm layers of downhill (0.320%) and 50-60 cm for uphill (0.210%). The minimum values for the northward and southward profiles were 0.003% and 0.003%, respectively, while the maximum values were 0.260% and 0.040%, respectively. The relationship between the diameter of root samples and root tensile strength followed a negative power function, but tensile force increased with increasing root diameter following a positive power function. The pattern of increased cohesion changes in soil profile was relatively similar to RAR curves. The maximum increased cohesion due to the presence of roots in uphill and downhill sides were 0.470 and 1.400 kPa, respectively. In the flat treatment, the maximum increased cohesions were 0.570 and 0.610 kPa in northward and southward profiles, respectively. The analysis of variance showed that wind and slope induced stresses did not have any significant effect on the amount of increased cohesion of H. persicum. The findings served to develop knowledge about biotechnical properties of H. persicum root system that can assist in assessing the efficiency of afforestation and restoration measures for erosion control in arid lands.

Changes in soil microbial community response to precipitation events in a semi-arid steppe of the Xilin River Basin, China
Hui ZHANG, Wenjun LIU, Xiaoming KANG, Xiaoyong CUI, Yanfen WANG, Haitao ZHAO, Xiaoqing QIAN, Yanbin HAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 97-110.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0071-5
Abstract ( 261 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (352KB) ( 519 )  

In the context of climate change, precipitation is predicted to become more intense at the global scale. Such change may alter soil microbial communities and the microbially mediated carbon and nitrogen dynamics. In this study, we experimentally repackaged precipitation patterns during the growing season (from June to September) of 2012 in a semi-arid temperate steppe of the Xilin River Basin in Inner Mongolia of China, based on the 60-year growing season precipitation data. Specifically, a total amount of 240 mm simulated precipitation was assigned to experimental plots by taking the following treatments: (1) P6 (6 extreme precipitation events, near the 1st percentile); (2) P10 (10 extreme precipitation events, near the 5th percentile); (3) P16 (16 moderate precipitation events, near the 50th percentile); and (4) P24 (24 events, 60-year average precipitation, near the 50th percentile). At the end of the growing season, we analyzed soil microbial community structure and biomass, bacterial abundance, fungal abundance and bacterial composition, by using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and 16S rRNA gene clone library methods. The extreme precipitation events did not change soil microbial community structure (represented by the ratio of PLFA concentration in fungi to PLFA concentration in bacteria, and the ratio of PLFA concentration in gram-positive bacterial biomass to PLFA concentration in gram-negative bacterial biomass). However, the extreme precipitation events significantly increased soil microbial activity (represented by soil microbial biomass nitrogen and soil bacterial 16S rRNA gene copy numbers). Soil fungal community showed no significant response to precipitation events. According to the redundancy analysis, both soil microbial biomass nitrogen and soil ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) were found to be significant in shaping soil microbial community. Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria were the dominant phyla in soil bacterial composition, and responded differently to the extreme precipitation events. Based on the results, we concluded that the extreme precipitation events altered the overall soil microbial activity, but did not impact how the processes would occur, since soil microbial community structure remained unchanged.

Derivation of salt content in salinized soil from hyperspectral reflectance data: A case study at Minqin Oasis, Northwest China
Tana QIAN, TSUNEKAWA Atsushi, Fei PENG, TsugiyukiMASUNAGA, Tao WANG, Rui LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 111-122.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0091-9
Abstract ( 213 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (836KB) ( 411 )  

Soil salinization is a serious ecological and environmental problem because it adversely affects sustainable development worldwide, especially in arid and semi-aridregions. It is crucial and urgent that advanced technologies are used to efficiently and accurately assess the status of salinization processes. Case studies to determine the relations between particular types of salinization and their spectral reflectances are essential because of the distinctive characteristics of the reflectance spectra of particular salts. During April 2015 we collected surface soil samples (0-10 cm depth) at 64 field sites in the downstream area of Minqin Oasis in Northwest China, an area that is undergoing serious salinization. We developed a linear model for determination of salt content in soil from hyperspectral data as follows. First, we undertook chemical analysis of the soil samples to determine their soluble salt contents. We then measured the reflectance spectra of the soil samples, which we post-processed using a continuum-removed reflectance algorithm to enhance the absorption features and better discriminate subtle differences in spectral features. We applied a normalized difference salinity index to the continuum-removed hyperspectral data to obtain all possible waveband pairs. Correlation of the indices obtained for all of the waveband pairs with the wavebands corresponding to measured soil salinities showed that two wavebands centred at wavelengths of 1358 and 2382 nm had the highest sensitivity to salinity. We then applied the linear regression modelling to the data from half of the soil samples to develop a soil salinity index for the relationshipsbetween wavebands and laboratory measured soluble salt content. We used the hyperspectral data from the remaining samples to validate the model. The salt content in soil from Minqin Oasis were well produced by themodel. Our results indicate that wavelengths at 1358 and 2382 nm are the optimal wavebands for monitoring the concentrations of chlorine and sulphate compounds, the predominant salts at Minqin Oasis. Our modelling provides a reference for future case studies on the use of hyperspectral data for predictive quantitative estimation of salt content in soils in arid regions. Further research is warranted on the application of this method to remotely sensed hyperspectral data to investigate its potential use for large-scale mapping of the extent and severity of soil salinity.

Spatial variability of soil water content and related factors across the Hexi Corridor of China
Xiangdong LI, Ming'an SHAO, Chunlei ZHAO, Xiaoxu JIA
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 123-134.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0123-x
Abstract ( 198 )   HTML ( 11 )     PDF (557KB) ( 365 )  

Soil water content (SWC) is a key factor limiting ecosystem sustainability in arid and semi-arid areas of the Hexi Corridor of China, which is characterized by an ecological environment that is vulnerable to climate change. However, there is a knowledge gap regarding the large-scale spatial distribution of SWC in this region. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the spatial distribution patterns of SWC across the Hexi Corridor and identify the factors responsible for spatial variation of SWC at a regional scale. This study collected and analyzed SWC in the 0-100 cm soil profile from 109 field sampling sites (farmland, grassland and forestland) across the Hexi Corridor in 2017. We selected 17 factors, including land use, topography (latitude, longitude, elevation, slope gradient, and slope aspect), soil properties (soil clay content, soil silt content, soil bulk density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, field capacity, and soil organic carbon content), climate factors (mean annual precipitation, potential evaporation, and aridity index), plant characteristic (vegetation coverage) and planting pattern (irrigation or rain-fed), as possible environmental variables to analyze their effects on SWC. The results showed that SWC was 0.083 (±0.067) g/g in the 0-100 cm soil profile and decreased in the order of farmland, grassland and forestland. The SWC in the upper soil layers (0-20, 20-40 and 40-60 cm) had obvious difference when the mean annual precipitation differed by 200 mm. The SWC decreased from southeast to northwest following the same pattern as precipitation, and had a moderate to strong spatial dependence in a large effective range (75-378 km). The SWC showed a similar distribution and had no significant difference between soil layers in the 0-100 cm soil profile. The principal component analysis showed that the mean annual precipitation, geographical position (longitude and latitude) and soil properties (soil bulk density and soil clay content) were the main factors dominating the variance of environmental variables. A stepwise linear regression equation showed that plant characteristic (vegetation coverage) and soil properties (soil organic carbon content, field capacity and soil clay content) were the optimal factors to predict the variation of SWC. Soil clay content could be better to explain the SWC variation in the deeper soil layers compared with the other factors.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ameliorate the chemical properties and enzyme activities of rhizosphere soil in reclaimed mining subsidence in northwestern China
Lang QIU, Yinli BI, Bin JIANG, Zhigang WANG, Yanxu ZHANG, ZHAKYPBEK Yryszhan
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 135-147.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0019-9
Abstract ( 288 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (243KB) ( 555 )  

In semi-arid region of northwestern China, underground mining subsidence often results in decreased vegetation coverage, impoverishment of soil fertility and water stress. In addition, the physical-chemical and biological properties of soil also change, resulting in more susceptible to degradation. In particular, subsidence causes disturbance of the symbioses of plant and microbe that can play a beneficial role in the establishment of vegetation communities in degraded ecosystems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of revegetation with exotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculum on the chemical and biological properties of soil over time in mining subsidence areas. Soils were sampled at a depth up to 30 cm in the adjacent rhizosphere of Amorpha fruticose Linn. from five reclaimed vegetation communities in northwestern China. In August 2015, a field trial was set up with five historical revegetation experiments established in 2008 (7-year), 2011 (4-year), 2012 (3-year), 2013 (2-year) and 2014 (1-year), respectively. Each reclamation experiment included two treatments, i.e., revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum (AMF) and non-AMF inoculum (the control). Root mycorrhizal colonization, glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP), soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nutrients, and enzyme activities were also assessed. The results showed that mycorrhizal colonization of inoculated plants increased by 33.3%-163.0% compared to that of non-inoculated plants (P<0.05). Revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum also significantly improved total GRSR (T-GRSP) and easily extracted GRSP (EE-GRSP) concentrations compared to control, besides the T-GRSP in 1-year experiment and the EE-GRSP in 2-year experiment. A significant increase in SOC content was only observed in 7-year AMF reclaimed soils compared to non-AMF reclaimed soils. Soil total N (TN), Olsen phosphorus (P) and available potassium (K) were significantly higher in inoculated soil after 1-7 years of reclamation (except for individual cases), and increased with reclamation time (besides soil Olsen P). The exotic AMF inoculum markedly increased the average soil invertase, catalase, urease and alkaline phosphatase by 23.8%, 21.3%, 18.8% and 8.6%, respectively (P<0.01), compared with the control. Root mycorrhizal colonization was positively correlated with soil parameters (SOC, TN and soil available K) and soil enzyme activities (soil invertase, catalase, urease and alkaline phosphatase) in both AMF and non-AMF reclaimed soils (P<0.05), excluding available K in non-AMF reclaimed soils. T-GRSP (P<0.01) and EE-GRSP (P<0.05) were significantly correlated with the majority of edaphic factors, except for soil Olsen P. The positive correlation between root mycorrhizal colonization and available K was observed in AMF reclaimed soils, indicating that the AMF reclaimed soil with a high root mycorrhizal colonization could potentially accumulate available K in soils. Our findings concluded that revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum influenced soil nutrient availability and enzyme activities in the semi-arid ecosystem, suggesting that inoculating AMF can be an effective method to improve soil fertility and support restoration of vegetation communities under poor conditions like soil nutrient deficiency and drought.

Hydrological and economic feasibility of mitigating a stressed coastal aquifer using managed aquifer recharge: a case study of Jamma aquifer, Oman
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (1): 148-159.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0093-7
Abstract ( 269 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (880KB) ( 540 )  

This study explored the hydrological and economic feasibility of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) using tertiary treated wastewater (TWW) to mitigate salinity in the coastal aquifer of Jamma, Oman. A steady-state groundwater flow and transport model, using MODFLOW software, was developed and calibrated. Different managerial scenarios were simulated and the results reveal that the Jamma aquifer will be further deteriorated in the next 20 a if it remains unmanaged. The groundwater table will decline further by more than 3 m on average; and the iso-concentration salinity line of 1500 mg/L will advance 2.7 km inland, which will severely affect the farming activities in the area. However, MAR using TWW when integrated with the management of groundwater abstraction (e.g., using modern irrigation systems to reduce the abstraction rate) becomes hydrologically feasible to augment the aquifer storage and control seawater intrusion, and hence improves the farming activities. The results indicate that: (1) injecting TWW in the vicinity of irrigation wells (Scenario A2); (2) investing in smart water meters and online control of pumping from the wells to reduce the abstraction rate by 25% (Scenario B); and (3) a combination of both (Scenario B2) are feasible scenarios with positive net present values. Recharge in upstream areas is found not economically feasible because of the very high investment cost of the installation of pipes to transport the TWW over a distance of 12.5 km. Because of securing funds are challenging, Scenario B would be the best option and the second-best option is Scenario A2. Scenario B2 has the lowest net benefit investment ratio and is very attractive because it entails integrated demand and supply management of groundwater. It is required to reduce pumping and to invest in injecting TWW to improve groundwater quality in the vicinity of irrigation wells and to form a hydrological barrier to control seawater intrusion in the long run.