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10 July 2021, Volume 13 Issue 7 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research article
Effect of stones on the sand saltation threshold during natural sand and dust storms in a stony desert in Tsogt-Ovoo in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Batjargal BUYANTOGTOKH, Yasunori KUROSAKI, Atsushi TSUNEKAWA, Mitsuru TSUBO, Batdelger GANTSETSEG, Amarsaikhan DAVAADORJ, Masahide ISHIZUKA, Tsuyoshi T SEKIYAMA, Taichu Y TANAKA, Takashi MAKI
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 653-673.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0072-7
Abstract ( 229 )   HTML ( 671 )     PDF (2716KB) ( 363 )  

Non-erodible elements such as stones and vegetation are key to controlling wind erosion and dust emission in drylands. Stony deserts are widely distributed in the Gobi Desert, but the effect of stones on wind erosion and dust emission have not been well studied, except under artificial conditions. In this study, we evaluated the effect of stones on wind erosion and dust emission by measuring the sand saltation threshold in a stony desert in Tsogt-Ovoo in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, under natural surface conditions during sand and dust storms. We quantified the amount of stones by measuring the roughness density, and determined the threshold friction velocity for sand saltation by measuring wind speed and sand saltation count. Our results showed that the threshold friction velocity increased with the roughness density of stones. In the northern part of the study area, where neither a surface crust nor vegetation was observed, the roughness density of stones was 0.000 in a topographic depression (TD), 0.050 on a northern slope (N.SL), and 0.160 on the northern mountain (N.MT). The mean threshold friction velocity values were 0.23, 0.41, and 0.57 m/s at the TD, N.SL, and N.MT sites, respectively. In the southern part of the study area, the roughness density values of stones were 0.000 and 0.070-0.320 at the TD and southern slope sites, respectively, and the mean threshold friction velocities were 0.23 and 0.45-0.71 m/s, respectively. We further compared the observed threshold friction velocities with simulated threshold friction velocities using Raupach's theoretical roughness correction and the measured roughness density values, and found that Raupach's roughness correction worked very well in the simulation of threshold friction velocity in the stony desert. This means that the results of our stone measurement can be applied to a numerical dust model.

Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China
WU Jun, DENG Guoning, ZHOU Dongmei, ZHU Xiaoyan, MA Jing, CEN Guozhang, JIN Yinli, ZHANG Jun
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 674-687.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0074-5
Abstract ( 206 )   HTML ( 571 )     PDF (1186KB) ( 425 )  

Water resources are a crucial factor that determines the health of ecosystems and socio-economic development; however, they are under threat due to climate change and human activities. The quantitative assessment of water resources using the concept of blue water and green water can improve regional water resources management. In this study, spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water were simulated and analyzed under scenarios of climate change and land-use changes using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China, between 2009 and 2014. Green water, a leading component of water resources, accounted for more than 69.00% of the total water resources in Ningxia. Blue water and green water showed a single peak trend on the monthly and annual scales during the study period. On the spatial scale, the southern region of Ningxia showed higher blue water and green water resources than the northern region. The spatiotemporal distribution features of blue water, green water, and green water flow had strong correlations with precipitation. Furthermore, the simulation identified the climate change in Ningxia to be more influential on blue water and green water than land-use changes. This study provides a specific scientific foundation to manage water resources in Ningxia when encountered with climate change together with human activities.

Response of plant physiological parameters to soil water availability during prolonged drought is affected by soil texture
HUANG Laiming, ZHAO Wen, SHAO Ming'an
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 688-698.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0075-4
Abstract ( 127 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (592KB) ( 321 )  

Soil water deficit is increasingly threatening the sustainable vegetation restoration and ecological construction on the Loess Plateau of China due to the climate warming and human activities. To determine the response thresholds of Amygdalus pedunculata (AP) and Salix psammophila (SP) to soil water availability under different textural soils, we measured the changes in net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci), leaf water potential (ψw), water use efficiency (WUE) and daily transpiration rate (Td) of the two plant species during soil water content (SWC) decreased from 100% field capacity (FC) to 20% FC in the sandy and loamy soils on the Loess Plateau in the growing season from June to August in 2018. Results showed that Pn, Gs, WUE and Td of AP and SP remained relatively constant at the beginning of soil water deficit but decreased rapidly as plant available soil water content (PASWC) fell below the threshold values in both the sandy and loamy soils. The PASWC thresholds corresponding to Pn, Gs and Ci of AP in the loamy soil (0.61, 0.62 and 0.70, respectively) were lower than those in the sandy soil (0.70, 0.63 and 0.75, respectively), whereas the PASWC thresholds corresponding to Pn, Gs and Ci of SP in the loamy soil (0.63, 0.68 and 0.78, respectively) were higher than those in the sandy soil (0.58, 0.62 and 0.66, respectively). In addition, the PASWC thresholds in relation to Td and WUE of AP (0.60 and 0.58, respectively) and SP (0.62 and 0.60, respectively) in the loamy soil were higher than the corresponding PASWC thresholds of AP (0.58 and 0.52, respectively) and SP (0.55 and 0.56, respectively) in the sandy soil. Furthermore, the PASWC thresholds for the instantaneous gas exchange parameters (e.g., Pn and Gs) at the transient scale were higher than the thresholds for the parameters (e.g., Td) at the daily scale. Our study demonstrates that different plant species and/or different physiological parameters exhibit different thresholds of PASWC and that the thresholds are affected by soil texture. The result can provide guidance for the rational allocation and sustainable management of reforestation species under different soil conditions in the loess regions.

Promoting the production of salinized cotton field by optimizing water and nitrogen use efficiency under drip irrigation
LIN En, LIU Hongguang, LI Xinxin, LI Ling, Sumera ANWAR
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 699-716.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0012-6
Abstract ( 229 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (1662KB) ( 379 )  

Cotton is the main economically important crop in Xinjiang, China, but soil salinization and shortage of water and nutrients have restricted its production. A field experiment was carried out in the salinity-affected arid area of Northwest China from 2018 to 2019 to explore the effects of nitrogen and water regulation on physiological growth, yield, water and nitrogen use efficiencies, and economic benefit of cotton. The salinity levels were 7.7 (SL) and 12.5 dS/m (SM). Drip irrigation was used with low, medium and adequate irrigation levels representing 60%, 80% and 100% of cotton crop water demand, respectively, and three nitrogen applications, i.e., 206, 275 and 343 kg/hm2, accounting for 75%, 100% and 125% of local N application, respectively were used. The multi-objective optimization based on spatial analysis showed that, at SL salinity, water use efficiency (WUE), nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), economic benefit and yield simultaneously reached more than 85% of their maxima at 379.18-398.32 mm irrigation and 256.69-308.87 kg/hm2. At SM salinity, WUE, yield and economic benefit simultaneously reached more than 85% of their maxima when irrigation was 351.24-376.30 mm and nitrogen application was 230.18-289.89 kg/hm2. NUE, yield and economic benefit simultaneously reached their maxima at 428.01-337.72 mm irrigation, and nitrogen application range was 222.14-293.93 kg/hm2. The plants at SL salinity had 21.58%-46.59% higher WUE rates, 14.91%-34.35% higher NUE rates and 20.71%-35.34% higher yields than those at SM salinity. The results are of great importance for the nutrient and water management in cotton field in the arid saline area.

Contrasting effects of nitrogen addition on litter decomposition in forests and grasslands in China
SU Yuan, MA Xiaofei, GONG Yanming, LI Kaihui, HAN Wenxuan, LIU Xuejun
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 717-729.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0076-3
Abstract ( 136 )   HTML ( 11 )     PDF (603KB) ( 496 )  

Nitrogen (N) addition has profound impacts on litter-mediated nutrient cycling. Numerous studies have reported different effects of N addition on litter decomposition, exhibiting positive, negative, or neutral effects. Previous meta-analysis of litter decomposition under N addition was mainly based on a small number of samples to allow comparisons among ecosystem types. This study presents the results of a meta-analysis incorporating data from 53 published studies (including 617 observations) across forests, grasslands, wetlands, and croplands in China, to investigate how environmental and experimental factors impact the effects of N addition on litter decomposition. Averaged across all of the studies, N addition significantly slows litter decomposition by 7.02%. Considering ecosystem types, N addition significantly accelerates litter decomposition by 3.70% and 11.22% in grasslands and wetlands, respectively, clearly inhibits litter decomposition by 14.53% in forests, and has no significant effects on litter decomposition in croplands. Regarding the accelerated litter decomposition rate in grasslands due to N addition, litter decomposition rate increases slightly with increasing rates of N addition. However, N addition slows litter decomposition in forests, but litter decomposition is at a significantly increasing rate with increasing amounts of N addition. The responses of litter decomposition to N addition are also influenced by the forms of N addition, experiential duration of N addition, humidity index, litter quality, and soil pH. In summary, N addition alters litter decomposition rate, but the direction and magnitude of the response are affected by the forms of N addition, the rate of N addition, ambient N deposition, experimental duration, and climate factors. Our study highlights the contrasting effects of N addition on litter decomposition in forests and grasslands. This finding could be used in biogeochemical models to better evaluate ecosystem carbon cycling under increasing N deposition due to the differential responses of litter decomposition to N addition rates and ecosystem types.

Effects of water and nitrogen on growth and relative competitive ability of introduced versus native C4 grass species in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China
DING Wenli, XU Weizhou, GAO Zhijuan, XU Bingcheng
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 730-743.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0010-8
Abstract ( 90 )   HTML ( 6 )     PDF (736KB) ( 247 )  

Switchgrass is an introduced C4 grass in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China, but there is a lack of information to assess its ecological invasive risk. In this study, Old World bluestems (native C4 grass) and switchgrass were sowed at five mixture ratios (8:0, 6:2, 4:4, 2:6 and 0:8) under two soil water levels (80% field capacity (FC) and 40% FC) and two nitrogen (N) treatments (0 and 100 mg N/kg dry soil, termed N0-unfertilized and N1-fertilized treatments, respectively) in a pot experiment in 2012. Biomass, root morphological traits and relative competitive abilities of these two species were analyzed. Results showed that biomass of both species was significantly greater under 80% FC or N fertilization, and switchgrass had a relatively larger root:shoot ratio (RSR). Total root length (TRL) and root surface area (RSA) of switchgrass were significantly higher under 80% FC irrespective of N treatment, while those of Old World bluestems were only significantly higher under N fertilization. N had no significant effect on TRL and RSA of switchgrass, while RSA of Old World bluestems significantly increased under 80% FC and N fertilization. Under 40% FC and N0-unfertilized treatment, the aggressivity of Old World bluestems was larger than zero at 2:6 and 4:4 mixture ratios of two species, whereas it was close to zero at 6:2 mixture ratio. Root competitive ability of switchgrass significantly increased under 80% FC or N fertilization. The aggressivity of Old World bluestems was negative at 6:2 mixture ratio under 80% FC and N fertilization, while it was positive at 2:6 mixture ratio. Switchgrass may become more aggressive when N deposition or rainfall increases, while a proper mixture ratio with appropriate water and N management could help with grassland management in the semi-arid Loess Plateau.

Size- and leaf age-dependent effects on the photosynthetic and physiological responses of Artemisia ordosica to drought stress
WANG Chunyuan, YU Minghan, DING Guodong, GAO Guanglei, ZHANG Linlin, HE Yingying, LIU Wei
Journal of Arid Land. 2021, 13 (7): 744-758.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0013-5
Abstract ( 185 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (743KB) ( 337 )  

Drought is one of the most significant natural disasters in the arid and semi-arid areas of China. Populations or plant organs often differ in their responses to drought and other adversities at different growth stages. At present, little is known about the size- and leaf age-dependent differences in the mechanisms of shrub-related drought resistance in the deserts of China. Here, we evaluated the photosynthetic and physiological responses of Artemisia ordosica Krasch. to drought stress using a field experiment in Mu Us Sandy Land, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China in 2018. Rainfall was manipulated by installing outdoor shelters, with four rainfall treatments applied to 12 plots (5 m×5 m). There were four rainfall levels, including a control and rainfall reductions of 30%, 50% and 70%, each with three replications. Taking individual crown size as the dividing basis, we measured the responses of A. ordosica photosynthetic and physiological responses to drought at different growth stages, i.e., large-sized (>0.5 m2) and small-sized (≤0.5 m2) plants. The leaves of A. ordosica were divided into old leaves and young leaves for separate measurement. Results showed that: (1) under drought stress, the transfer efficiency of light energy captured by antenna pigments to the photosystem II (PSII) reaction center decreased, and the heat dissipation capacity increased simultaneously. To resist the photosynthetic system damage caused by drought, A. ordosica enhanced its free radical scavenging capacity by activating its antioxidant enzyme system; and (2) growth stage and leaf age had effects on the reaction of the photosynthetic system to drought. Small A. ordosica plants could not withstand severe drought stress (70% rainfall reduction), whereas large A. ordosica individuals could absorb deep soil water to ensure their survival in severe drought stressed condition. Under 30% and 50% rainfall reduction conditions, young leaves had a greater ability to resist drought than old leaves, whereas the latter were more resistant to severe drought stress. The response of A. ordosica photosynthetic system reflected the trade-off at different growth stages and leaf ages of photosynthetic production under different degrees of drought. This study provides a more comprehensive and systematic perspective for understanding the drought resistance mechanisms of desert plants.