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07 December 2010, Volume 2 Issue 4 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research Articles
Influence of groundwater depth on species composition and community structure in the transition zone of Cele oasis
XiangYi LI, LiSha LIN, Qiang ZHAO, XiMing ZHANG, Frank M. THOMAS
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 235-242.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00235
Abstract ( 3492 )     PDF (162KB) ( 2157 )  
The paper analyzes the hypothesis that the distribution of dominant plant species and characteristics of plant communities are related to groundwater depth. The results showed that variations of groundwater depth impacted distributions and characteristics of dominant plant communities. However, besides groundwater depth, the community composition and species diversity were also influenced by physiognomy of the habitat. Based on the similarity coefficient, the differences between dominant plant communities were significant at different groundwater depths. Compared with other results relating to desert vegetation and groundwater depth, variations of community distribution were similar at the large spatial scale. However, in this extremely arid region, there were significant differences in community type and community succession when compared with other arid regions, especially in relationship to deep groundwater depth. With groundwater depth from deep to shallow, communities transformed with the sequence of Alhagi communities, Tamarix spp. communities, Populus communities, Phragmites communities, and Sophora communities. At groundwater depth of less than 6.0 m, the community type and composition changed, and the species diversity increased. Among these dominant species, Tamarix exhibited the biggest efficiency in resource utilization according to niche breadth, which means it possessed the best adaptability to environmental conditions at the oasis margins.
Effects of soil moisture on cotton root length density and yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in Aksu Oasis farmland
ChengYi ZHAO, YingYu YAN, Yilihamu Yimamu, JuYan LI, ZhiMin ZHAO, LaoSheng WU
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 243-249.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00243
Abstract ( 3537 )     PDF (249KB) ( 3198 )  
Effects of soil moisture on cotton root length density (total root length per unit soil volume) and yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch were studied through field experiments. The results indicate that spatial distributions of root length density of cotton under various water treatments were basically similar. Horizontally, both root length densities of cotton in wide and narrow rows were similar, and higher than that between mulches. Vertically, root length density of cotton decreased with increasing soil depth. The distribution of root length density is different under different irrigation treatments. In conditions of over-irrigation, the root length density of cotton between mulches would increase. However, it would decrease in both the wide rows and narrow rows. The mean root length density of cotton increased with increasing irrigation water. Water stress caused the root length density to increase in lower soil layers. There is a significant correlation between root length density and yields of cotton at the flower-boll and wadding stages. The regression between irrigation amount and yield of cotton can be expressed as y = -0.0026x2+18.015x-24845 (R2 = 0.959). It showed that the irrigation volume of 3,464.4?m3/hm2 led to optimal root length density. The yield of cotton was 6,360?.8?kg/hm2 under that amount of irrigation.
Characteristics and dynamics analysis of Populus euphratica populations in the middle reaches of Tarim River
JunXia WU, XiMing ZHANG, ChaoZhou DENG, GuoJun LIU, Hong LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 250-256.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00250
Abstract ( 2785 )     PDF (324KB) ( 2234 )  
Populus euphratica Oliv. is widely distributed along the Tarim River. Maintaining stability of P. euphratica population is important to local development. This study explored the static life table, survivorship curves and four function curves (survival rate, cumulative mortality rate, mortality density, and hazard rate), and development index of P. euphratica population in the middle reaches of Tarim River. The results indicated that the age structure of P. euphratica population belonged to positive pyramidal type, which meant young age-class individuals occupied most populations. The number ofⅠ-Ⅱage classes accounted for 66.2% of whole population, and this indicated that there were abundant subsequent seedlings resources to support the growth of P. euphratica population in the middle reaches of Tarim River. The survivorship curve of P. euphratica belonged to the Deevey Ⅲ (concave-type) and the development index was 47.72%. Four function curves revealed that the individuals of P. euphratica sharply decreased at the initial stage and then leveled off at the late stage of survival curve. Time sequence prediction models predicted that the number of midlife individuals would increase in future 10, 20, 30 years, and P. euphratica population grew steadily as a result of rich saplings.
Spatial heterogeneity of soil chemical properties between Haloxylon persicum and Haloxylon ammodendron populations
CongJuan LI, Yan LI, Jian MA, LianLian FAN, QinXue WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 257-265.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00257
Abstract ( 2732 )     PDF (418KB) ( 2765 )  
Spatial heterogeneity is a ubiquitous feature in natural ecosystems, especially in arid regions. Different species and their discontinuous distribution, accompanied by varied topographic characteristics, result in soil resources distributed differently in different locations, and present significant spatial heterogeneity in desert ecosystems. In this study, conventional and geostatistical methods were used to identify the heterogeneity of soil chemical properties in two desert populations, Haloxylon persicum Bunge ex Boss., which dominates on the slopes and tops of sand dunes and Haloxylon ammodendron (C. A. Mey.) Bunge, which inhabits interdunes in the Gurbantunggut Desert of Xinjiang, China. The results showed that soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC), soil organic carbon (SOC), available nitrogen (AN) and available phosphorus (AP) were significantly higher in H. ammodendron populations than that in H. persicum. The coefficient of variation (CV) indicated that (1) most parameters presented a moderate degree of variability (10% < CV < 100%) except pH in both plots, (2) the variability of soil pH, EC and AP in H. ammodendron populations was higher than that in H. persicum populations, and (3) SOC and AN in H. ammodendron populations were lower than that in H. persicum populations. Geostatistical analysis revealed a strong spatial dependence (C0/(C0+C) < 25%) within the distance of ranges for all tested parameters in both plots. The Kriging-inter-polated figures showed that the soil spatial distribution was correlated with the vegetation distribution, individual size of plants, and the topographic features, especially with the plants nearest to sampling points and the topographic features. In each plot, soil EC, SOC, AN and AP presented similar distributions, and fertile islands and salt islands occurred in both plots but did not affect every individual plant, since the sampling distance was larger than the size of such fertile islands. The results of topographic effects on soil heterogeneity suggested significant differences between the interdunes and dune-tops. Different topographic characteristics (physical factors) between plots result in the differences in SOC, AN and AP, while the heterogeneity of soil pH and EC arise from plant species and their distribution (biotic factor). Such biotic and physical factors did not occur in isolation, but worked together on soil heterogeneity, and played important parts in improving the soil properties. Hence these factors were ecologically valuable in the highly resource-stressed arid study area.
Robinia pseudoacacia leaves improve soil physical and chemical properties
Babar KHAN, Abdukadir Ablimit, Rashed MAHMOOD, Muhammad QASIM
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 266-271.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00266
Abstract ( 2610 )     PDF (306KB) ( 2613 )  
The role of the leaves of Robinia pseudoacacia L., which is widely distributed in the arid lands, on improving soil physical and chemical properties was analyzed at various incubation periods. The incubated soils added with 0, 25, 50 and 75 g Robinia pseudoacacia leaves were tested after consecutive incubation intervals of 6, 8 and 10 months and the different soil parameters were measured. The results showed the increases in organic matter (OM), extractable K, cation exchange capacity (CEC), aggregate stability and water holding capacity, but the decreases in pH value and bulk density after 6 months' incubation. The gradual decrease in change rates of soil properties indicated less microbial population and organic residual mineralization under acidic conditions, which were resulted from fast decomposition of leaves after the first 6 months incubation. The increases in soil organic matter content, extractable K, CEC, aggregate stability and water holding capacity and the decreases in soil pH and bulk density provide favorable conditions for crop’s growth.
Dynamic changes of a typical linear dune in the Tengger Desert
KeCun ZHANG, KenJi KAI, JianJun QU, YuQuan LING, QingHe NIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 272-278.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00272
Abstract ( 2854 )     PDF (622KB) ( 2429 )  
The dynamical processes of a typical linear dune including morphological features, dune ridge swing range and crest height were investigated at different monitoring periods in the hinterland of Tengger Desert. The results indicated that the development of linear dune depends on not only the northwesterly prevailing wind, but also the winds from northeast and southwest. The dune ridge swayed along its fundamental strike and took on an eastward movement gradually. The original dune strike was NW70° on August 3, 1994, and then changed to NE15° on April 21, 2001. The dune crest increased by 1.8 m longitudinally, which manifested strong wind-blown sand activities in this region. Wind erosion frequently occured at the bottom of sand dune, while sand accumulation appeared on its mid-upper section. The mean wind erosion depth was 25 cm on the bottom of linear dune and the height difference of the control points on the dune’s ridge was 1.13 m. Although the linear dune swayed laterally, the horizontal displacement of its ridge moved eastward 5.8 m averagely. The swing range of the dune crest line is very distinct, with a maximum value of 13.2 m. The highest site on the K-profile swayed on both sides of the dune ridge and the heights were 19.88 m at the control point K5, 19.61 m at K6 and 19.05 m at K7, respectively. The results indicated that the lateral swing of the linear dune was distinct under the northwesterly wind and it moved toward east gradually.
Causes of recurring drought patterns in Xinjiang, China
Rashed MAHMOOD, ShuangLin LI, Babar KHAN
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 279-285.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00279
Abstract ( 3357 )     PDF (621KB) ( 2622 )  
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, with its unique topography and geographical location receives very less precipitation in summer as compared with other parts of China. The region is a land locked where moisture is supplied only by westerly winds from Atlantic Ocean as the moisture coming from Indian Ocean is mostly blocked by the Himalayas Range and the Tibetan plateau. In such a scenario, Xinjiang faces severe drought conditions offering significant challenges to water management. In this paper, we analyzed the drought periods in Xinjiang and discussed the various factors that might have influenced precipitation over the past forty-four years. For this purpose, we defined three periods of consecutive four years for high and low precipitation intensities. The average observed precipitation was 1.05 mm/day and 0.7 mm/day in summer (June-July-August) for the Tianshan Mountain region and Junggar Basin of Xinjiang, respectively. The drought conditions indicated that high sea level pressure, wind divergence and low convection were the prominent features that caused the droughts, which often do not allow the condensation process to coagulate the tiny water droplets into relatively large raindrops reducing the amount of precipitation in the region. The period of 1983-1986 is the lowest precipitation interval indicating the severe drought in the western Xinjiang (i.e western Tianshan Mountain region), for which, less moisture availability, strong divergence and less convection could be the most influencing factors.
Reconstructing the annual precipitation variation since 1899 based on tree-ring width in the western Hedong sandy land of Ningxia
YaJun WANG, ShangYu GAO, YuZhen MA, RuiJie LU, YanLi SANG, HongWei MENG
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 286-294.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00286
Abstract ( 2419 )     PDF (366KB) ( 2352 )  
Based on the analysis of the correlation between the tree-ring width of Pinus tabulaeformis and the climate factors in the western Hedong sandy land of Ningxia, a conversion equation between the annual precipitation and the tree-ring width since 1899 was reconstructed. The results of cross verification indicated that the conversion equation is stable and the reconstructed results are reliable. The result of reconstructed annual precipitation showed the remarkable fluctuation of precipitation and dry-to-wet variation before the 1940s. The smaller fluctuation and high frequent changes of precipitation occurred during the period of 1940s-1980s and after the 1980s the change trend of the precipitation became high periodic extent and low frequent. The study found that there were some coincidences with the climate change in Changling Mountains, Helan Mountains and the east of Qilian Mountains. The relatively dry periods in the beginning of 20th century, 1920s to 1930s, the end of the 20th century and 2004 to 2006 in the western Hedong sandy land of Ningxia accelerated the desertification, while the relatively humid period during the periods of the 1910s-1920s, 1930s-1940s and 1990s is favorable to prevent and control the desertification, and to weaken the climate warming and drying. The periods of annual precipitation variation in the western Hedong sandy land of Ningxia since 1899 are approximately 2-4 years, 5-7 years and 10 years.
The changes of Lop Nur Lake and the disappearance of Loulan
ZhiChao WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2010, 2 (4): 295-303.   DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2010.00295
Abstract ( 3119 )     PDF (332KB) ( 2748 )  
The causes of the disappearance of the ancient town of Loulan in Xinjiang, China have been generally agreed to derive from two factors: human activities and natural factors (environmental variations). In this paper, the Muzart Glacier was selected as an example, and found that the length of the glacier has been gradually decreasing and the snow line has been retreating to a higher altitude, both results contributing to a decrease in river flow below the Muzart Glacier. From the distribution of moraines in the Tianshan Mountains and adjacent areas in different periods, the paper speculates that there have been four minor glacial periods since the Quaternary. Although the durations and scales of the four minor glacial periods were different, they all indirectly influenced the formation and disappearance of the Lop Nur Lake. The events of the fourth minor glacial period are the important impact factors in the existence and disappearance of Loulan. Whether the disappearance of Loulan can be related to the events of the three previous minor glacial periods needs further investigation.