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10 June 2019, Volume 11 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Assessment of desertification in Eritrea: land degradation based on Landsat images
G GHEBREZGABHER Mihretab, Taibao YANG, Xuemei YANG, Congqiang WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 319-331.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0096-4
Abstract ( 348 )   HTML ( 32 )     PDF (461KB) ( 633 )  

Remote sensing is an effective way in monitoring desertification dynamics in arid and semi-arid regions. In this study, we used a decision tree method based on NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index), SAVI (soil adjusted vegetation index), and vegetation cover proportion to quantify and analyze the desertification in Eritrea using Landsat data of the 1970s, 1980s and 2014. The results demonstrate that the NDVI value and the annual mean precipitation declined while the temperature increased over the past 40 a. Strongly desertified land increased from 4.82×104 km2 (38.5%) in the 1970s to 8.38×104 km2(66.9%) in 2014: approximately 85% of the land of the countrywas under serious desertification, which significantly occurred in arid and semi-arid lowlands of the country (eastern, northern, and western lowlands)withrelatively scarce precipitation and high temperature. The non-desertified area, mostly located in the sub-humid eastern escarpment, also declined from approximately 2.1% to 0.5%. The study concludes that the desertification is a cause of serious land degradation in Eritrea and may link to climate changes, such as low and unpredictable precipitation, and prolonged drought.

Hyper-spectral characteristics of rolled-leaf desert vegetation in the Hexi Corridor, China
Huaidong WEI, Xuemei YANG, Bo ZHANG, Feng DING, Weixing ZHANG, Shizeng LIU, Fang CHEN
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 332-344.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0013-x
Abstract ( 193 )   HTML ( 10 )     PDF (522KB) ( 253 )  

Desert plants survive harsh environment using a variety of drought-resistant structural modifications and physio-ecological systems. Rolled-leaf plants roll up their leaves during periods of drought, making it difficult to distinguish between the external structures of various types of plants, it is therefore necessary to carry out spectral characteristics analysis for species identification of these rolled-leaf plants. Based on hyper-spectral data measured in the field, we analyzed the spectral characteristics of seven types of typical temperate zone rolled-leaf desert plants in the Hexi Corridor, China using a variety of mathematical transformation methods. The results show that: (1) during the vigorous growth period in July and August, the locations of the red valleys, green peaks, and three-edge parameters, namely, the red edge, the blue edge, and the yellow edge of well-developed rolled-leaf desert plants are essentially consistent with those of the majority of terrestrial vegetation types; (2) the absorption regions of liquid water, i.e., 1400-1500 and 1600-1700 nm, are the optimal bands for distinguishing various types of rolled-leaf desert plants; (3) in the leaf reflectance regions of 700-1250 nm, which is controlled by cellular structure, it is difficult to select the characteristic bands for differentiation rolled-leaf desert vegetation; and (4) after processing the spectral reflectance curves using a first-order differential, the envelope removal method, and the normalized differential ratio, we identify the other characteristic bands and parameters that can be used for identifying various types of temperate zone rolled-leaf desert plants, i.e., the 510-560, 650-700 and 1330-1380 nm regions, and the red edge amplitude. In general, the mathematical transformation methods in the study are effective tools to capture useful spectral information for species identification of rolled-leaf plants in the Hexi Corridor.

Effects of land use and cover change on surface wind speed in China
Yupeng LI, Yaning CHEN, Zhi LI
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 345-356.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0095-5
Abstract ( 187 )   HTML ( 12 )     PDF (1425KB) ( 378 )  

The surface wind speed (SWS) is affected by both large-scale circulation and land use and cover change (LUCC). In China, most studies have considered the effect of large-scale circulation rather than LUCC on SWS. In this study, we evaluated the effects of LUCC on the SWS decrease during 1979-2015 over China using the observation minus reanalysis (OMR) method. There were two key findings: (1) Observed wind speed declined significantly at a rate of 0.0112 m/(s?a), whereas ERA-Interim, which can only capture the inter-annual variation of observed data, indicated a gentle downward trend. The effects of LUCC on SWS were distinct and caused a decrease of 0.0124 m/(s?a) in SWS; (2) Due to variations in the characteristics of land use types across different regions, the influence of LUCC on SWS also varied. The observed wind speed showed a rapid decline over cultivated land in Northwest China, as well as a decrease in China's northeastern and eastern plain regions due to the urbanization. However, in the Tibetan Plateau, the impact of LUCC on wind speed was only slight and can thus be ignored.

Morphological variation of star dune and implications for dune management: a case study at the Crescent Moon Spring scenic spot of Dunhuang, China
Weimin ZHANG, Lihai TAN, Zhishan AN, Kecun ZHANG, Yang GAO, Qinghe NIU
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 357-370.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0099-1
Abstract ( 181 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (933KB) ( 235 )  

Aerial photographs and 3-D laser scans of a 90-m high star dune at the Crescent Moon Spring scenic spot in Dunhuang, China, are used to investigate the changes in dune morphology on timescales from months to decades. The result revealed that relative-equilibrium airflow strength in three wind directions of northeast, west and south was an important condition for the stability of star dunes with limited migration. Transverse and longitudinal airflows exerted a crucial impact on variation processes of star dune morphology. Controlled by transverse airflows,the easterly winds, the east side was dominated by wind erosion; and strong deposition occurred on the south-south-east arm with a maximum deposition rate of 0.44 m/a in the 46-a monitoring period, causing the east side becoming steep and high. Controlled by longitudinal airflows, the westerly winds, the west-north-west side was mainly eroded and the north arm migrated from west to east with a rate of 0.30 m/a, causing the dune slope becoming gentle and elongate. The local air circulation (southerly winds) exerted a significant impact on the development process of the star dune. Due to the influence of human activities, the south side present surface processes from a concave profile to a convex profile in 46 a, which is a potential threat to the Crescent Moon Spring. The results indicate that rehabilitating the airflow field at most is a crucial strategy to the protection of Crescent Moon Spring from burial. Opening up the passage of easterly, westerly and southerly winds through intermediately cutting the protection forest, demolishing the enclosed wall and changing the pavilion into a porous pattern have been suggested to protect the Crescent Moon Spring from burial.

Actual evapotranspiration of subalpine meadows in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China
Yunfei GAO, Chuanyan ZHAO, W ASHIQ Muhammad, Qingtao WANG, Zhanlei RONG, Junjie LIU, Yahua MAO, Zhaoxia GUO, Wenbin WANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 371-384.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0012-y
Abstract ( 164 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (608KB) ( 290 )  

As a main component in water balance, evapotranspiration (ET) is of great importance for water saving, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. In this study, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Penman-Monteith model was used to estimate the magnitude and temporal dynamics of reference evapotranspiration (ET0) in 2014 in subalpine meadows of the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China. Meanwhile, actual ET (ETc) was also investigated by the eddy covariance (EC) system. Results indicated that ETc estimated by the EC System was 583 mm, lower than ET0 (923 mm) estimated by the FAO Penman-Monteith model in 2014. Moreover, ET0 began to increase in March and reached the peak value in August and then declined in September, however, ETc began to increase from April and reached the peak value in July, and then declined in August. Total ETc and ET0 values during the growing season (from May to September) were 441 and 666 mm, respectively, which accounted for 75.73% of annual cumulative ETc and 72.34% of annual cumulative ET0, respectively. A crop coefficient (kc) was also estimated for calculating the ETc, and average value of kc during the growing season was 0.81 (ranging from 0.45 to 1.16). Air temperature (Ta), wind speed (u), net radiation (Rn) and soil temperature (Ts) at the depth of 5 cm and aboveground biomass were critical factors for affecting kc, furthermore, a daily empirical kc equation including these main driving factors was developed. Our result demonstrated that the ETc value estimated by the data of kc and ET0 was validated and consistent with the growing season data in 2015 and 2016.

Multi-scale spatial relationships between soil total nitrogen and influencing factors in a basin landscape based on multivariate empirical mode decomposition
Hongfen ZHU, Yi CAO, Yaodong JING, Geng LIU, Rutian BI, Wude YANG
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 385-399.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0054-1
Abstract ( 117 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (1781KB) ( 214 )  

The relationships between soil total nitrogen (STN) and influencing factors are scale-dependent. The objective of this study was to identify the multi-scale spatial relationships of STN with selected environmental factors (elevation, slope and topographic wetness index), intrinsic soil factors (soil bulk density, sand content, silt content, and clay content) and combined environmental factors (including the first two principal components (PC1 and PC2) of the Vis-NIR soil spectra) along three sampling transects located at the upstream, midstream and downstream of Taiyuan Basin on the Chinese Loess Plateau.Weseparated the multivariate data series of STN and influencing factors at each transect into six intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) and one residue by multivariate empirical mode decomposition (MEMD). Meanwhile, we obtained the predicted equations of STN based on MEMD bystepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR). The results indicated that the dominant scales of explained variance in STN were at scale995 m for transect 1, at scales 956 and 8852 m for transect 2, and at scales 972,5716 and 12,317 mfor transect 3. Multi-scale correlation coefficients between STN and influencing factors were less significant in transect 3 than in transects 1 and 2. The goodness of fit root mean square error (RMSE), normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), and coefficient of determination (R2) indicated that the prediction of STN at the sampling scale by summing all of the predicted IMFs and residue was more accurate than that by SMLR directly. Therefore, the multi-scale method of MEMD has a good potential in characterizing the multi-scale spatial relationships between STN and influencing factors at the basin landscape scale.

A cultivated area forecasting approach in artificial oases under climate change and human activities
Shaobo ZHANG, Fulong CHEN, Jie CHEN, Jing WANG, Shaofei LI, Aihua LONG
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 400-418.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0056-z
Abstract ( 157 )   HTML ( 10 )     PDF (1780KB) ( 254 )  

The cultivated area in artificial oases is deeply influenced by global climate change and human activities. Thus, forecasting cultivated area in artificial oases under climate change and human activities is of great significance. In this study, an approach named GD-HM-PSWROAM, consisting of general circulation model downscaling (GD), hydrological model (HM), and planting structureand water resource optimal allocation model (PSWROAM), was developed and applied in the irrigation district of the Manas River Basin in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China to forecast the cultivated area tendency. Furthermore, the catchment export of the MIKE11 HD/NAM model was set to the Kensiwate hydrological station. The results show that the downscaling effects of temperature can be fairly satisfying, while those of precipitation may be not satisfying but acceptable. Simulation capacity of the MIKE11 HD/NAM model on the discharge in the Kensiwate hydrological station can meet the requirements of running the PSWROAM. The accuracy of the PSWROAM indicated that this model can perform well in predicting the change of cultivated area at the decadal scale. The cultivated area in the Manas River Basin under current human activities may be generally decreasing due to the climate change. But the adverse effects of climate change can be weakened or even eliminated through positive human activities. The cultivated area in the Manas River Basin may even be increasing under assumed human activities and future climate scenarios. The effects of human activities in thefuture can be generally predicted and quantified according to the cultivated area trends under current humanactivities and the situations in the study area.Overall, it is rational and acceptable to forecast the cultivated area tendency in artificial oases under future climate change and human activities through the GD-HM-PSWROAM approach.

Low soil temperature reducing the yield of drip irrigated rice in arid area by influencing anther development and pollination
Jun ZHANG, Peng DONG, Haoyu ZHANG, Chaoran MENG, Xinjiang ZHANG, Jianwei HOU, Changzhou WEI
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 419-430.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0103-9
Abstract ( 101 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (438KB) ( 277 )  

Drip irrigation can produce high rice yields with significant water savings; therefore, it is widely used in arid area water-scarce northern China. However, high-frequency irrigation of drip irrigation with low temperature well water leads to low root zone temperature and significantly reduce the rice yield compared to normal temperature water irrigated rice, for example, reservoir water. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of low soil temperature on the yield reduction of drip irrigated rice in the spike differentiation stage. The experiment set the soil temperatures at 18°C, 24°C and 30°C under two irrigation methods (flood and drip irrigation), respectively. The results showed that, at the 30°C soil temperature, drip irrigation increased total root length by 53% but reduced root water conductivity by 9% compared with flood irrigation. Drip irrigation also increased leaf abscisic acid and proline concentrations by 13% and 5%, respectively. These results indicated that drip irrigated rice was under mild water stress. In the 18°C soil temperature, drip irrigation reduced hydraulic conductivity by 58%, leaf water potential by 40% and leaf net photosynthesis by 25% compared with flood irrigation. The starch concentration in male gametes was also 30% less in the drip irrigation treatment than in the flood irrigation treatment at soil temperature 18°C. Therefore, the main reason for the yield reduction of drip irrigated rice was that the low temperature aggravates the physiological drought of rice and leads to the decrease of starch content in male gametes and low pollination fertilization rate. Low temperature aggravates physiological water deficit in drip irrigated rice and leads to lower starch content in male gametes and low pollination fertilization rate, which is the main reason for the reduced yield of drip irrigated rice. Overall, the results indicated that the low soil temperatures aggravated the water stress that rice was under in the drip irrigated environment, causing declines both in the starch content of male gametes and in pollination rate. Low temperature will ultimately affect the rice yield under drip irrigation.

Leaf gas exchange and photosynthesis curves of Elymus nutans and Potentilla anserina under fencing and grazing conditions in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China
Junjie LIU, Xiaoping WANG, Yunfei GAO, Zhanlei RONG, Guangde ZHANG, Wenbin WANG, Lijuan GE, Yahua MAO, Zhaoxia GUO, Chuanyan ZHAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 431-445.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0009-6
Abstract ( 127 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (548KB) ( 297 )  

Potentilla anserina L. and Elymus nutans Griseb. are dominant species in the subalpine meadows of China. Grazing is one of the most important factors that influence community structure and productivity of subalpine meadows. Understanding how grazing changes photosynthetic capability is essential for preservation and restoration of grasslands. However, information about the effects of grazing on photosynthetic capability remains inadequate. Experiments were conducted in fencing and grazing areas in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China. The leaf gas exchange and photosynthetic curves of P. anserina and E. nutans were measured at different growth stages. Results showed that grazing decreased the values of leaf gas exchange parameters, such as net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, and intercellular CO2 concentration of P. anserina and E. nutans. In addition, grazing decreased the values of net photosynthetic rate-photosynthetically active radiation (PN-PAR) curve parameters, such as light-saturated net photosynthetic rate, apparent quantum efficiency, light compensation point, light saturation point, and dark respiration rate. Our results demonstrated that grazing was the primary limiting factor for photosynthesis of dominant grassland species in the study area.

Effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency in jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, China
Shanshan JIN, Youke WANG, Xing WANG, Yonghong BAI, Leigang SHI
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 446-460.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0129-z
Abstract ( 151 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (627KB) ( 255 )  

Jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) is a traditional economic forest crop and is widely cultivated in hilly areas of the Loess Plateau, China. However, soil desiccation was discovered in jujube plantations.Pruning is recognized as a water-saving method that can reduces soil water consumption. In this study, we monitored the jujube plots with control (CK), light (C1), medium (C2) and high (C3) pruning intensities during the jujube growing periodof 2012-2015 to explore the effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency (WUE)of jujube plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region. The results showed that pruning is an effective method for soil water conservation in jujube plantations. Soil moisture increased with increasing pruning intensity during the jujube growing period of 2012-2015. C1, C2 and C3pruning intensities increased soil water storage by 6.1-18.3, 14.4-40.0 and 24.3-63.3 mm, respectively, compared to CK pruning intensity. Pruning promoted soil moistureinfiltration to deeper soil layer. Soil moistureinfiltrated to soil depths of 240, 280 and >300 cm under C3pruning intensity, 220, 260 and 260 cm under C2 pruning intensity, 200, 240 and 220 cm under C1 pruning intensity, and 180, 200 and 160 cm under CK pruning intensity in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Soil water deficit was alleviated by higher pruning intensity. In 2013-2015, soil water change was positive under C2 (6.4 mm) and C3 (26.8 mm) pruning intensities but negative under C1 (-20.5 mm) and CK (-40.6 mm) pruning intensities. Moreover, pruning significantly improved fresh fruit yield and WUE of jujube plants. Fresh fruit yields were highest under C1pruning intensity with the values of 6897.1-13,059.3 kg/hm2, which were 2758.4-4712.8, 385.7-1432.1 and 802.8-2331.5kg/hm2 higher than thoseunder CK, C2, and C3pruning intensities during the jujube growing period of2012-2015, respectively. However, C3pruning intensity had the highest WUE values of 2.92-3.13 kg/m3, which were 1.6-2.0, 1.1-1.2 and 1.0-1.1 times greater than those under CK, C1 and C2 pruning intensities, respectively. Therefore, C3pruningintensity is recommended to jujube plantations for its economic and ecological benefits. These results provide an alternative strategy to mitigate soil desiccation in jujube plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, which is critical for sustainable cultivation of economic forest trees in this region.

Desert vegetationdistribution and species-environment relationshipsinan oasis-desert ecotone ofnorthwestern China
Peng ZHAO, Jianjun QU, Xianying XU, Qiushi YU, Shengxiu JIANG, Heran ZHAO
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (3): 461-476.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0055-0
Abstract ( 204 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (452KB) ( 442 )  

Environmental heterogeneity significantly affects the structure of ecological communities. Exploring vegetationdistribution and its relationship with environmental factorsis essential to understanding the abiotic mechanism(s)driving vegetation succession, especially in the ecologically fragile areas. In this study, based on the quantitative analysis of plant community and environmental factors in 68 plots at 10 different transects in the Minqin oasis-desert ecotone (ODE) of northwestern China, we investigated desert vegetation distribution and species-environment relationships using multivariate analysis.Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN), detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) methods were used. A total of 28 species, belonging to 27 genera in 8families,were identified. Chenopodiaceae, Zygophyllaceae, Gramineae, and Leguminosae were the largest families. Annual and perennial herbs accounted for 28.60% of the total number of plants, while shrubs (42.90%) werethe most dominant. Nitrariatangutorum was the constructive species of the desert plant community. We divided the 68plots surveyed in this study into 7 community types,according to the results of TWINSPAN. The distribution of these 7 communities in theDCAordination graph showed that species with a similar ecotype were clustered together. Results of CCA indicated that groundwater wasthe dominant factor influencing vegetation distribution, while distance between plot and oasis(Dis) and soil electrical conductivity (EC)were the local second-order factors. Our study suggests that optimizing the utilization of groundwater in oases is key to controlling the degradation of desert vegetation.The favorable topographic conditions of sand dunes should be fully utilized for vegetal dune stabilization, and the influence of soil salinity on the selection of afforestation tree species should be considered.