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31 May 2022, Volume 14 Issue 5 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research article
Wind regimes and associated sand dune types in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert, China
MENG Nan, WANG Nai'ang, ZHAO Liqiang, NIU Zhenmin, SUN Jiaqi
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 473-489.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0063-3
Abstract ( 34 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (1902KB) ( 44 )  

Wind controls the formation and development of sand dunes. Therefore, understanding the wind regimes is necessary in sand dune research. In this study, we combined the wind data from 2017 to 2019 at four meteorological stations (Cherigele and Wuertabulage stations in the lake basins, and Yikeri and Sumujilin stations on the top of sand dunes) in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert in China, with high resolution Google Earth images to analyze the correlation between the wind energy environments and dune morphology. The results of data analysis indicated that both the wind direction and sand drift intensity exhibited notable spatial and temporal variations. The highest level of wind activity was observed in spring. Northwesterly and northeasterly winds were the dominant in the Badain Jaran Desert. At the Cherigele, Wuertabulage, and Yikeri stations, the drift potential (DP) was below 200.00 vector units (VU). The wind energy environments in most areas could be classified as low-energy environments. The resultant drift direction differed at different stations and in different seasons, but the overall direction was mainly the southeast. The resultant drift potential (RDP)/DP ratio was greater than 0.30 in most parts of the study area, suggesting that the wind regimes mainly exhibited unimodal or bimodal characteristics. Differences between the thermodynamic properties and the unique landscape settings of lakes and sand dunes could alter the local circulation and intensify the complexity of the wind regimes. The wind regimes were weaker in the lake basins than on the top of sand dunes. Transverse dunes were the most dominant types of sand dunes in the study area, and the wind regimes at most stations were consistent with sand dune types. Wind was thus the main dynamic factor affecting the formation of sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert BJD. The results of this study are important for understanding the relationship between the wind regimes and aeolian landforms of the dune field in the deserts.

Transport mechanism of eroded sediment particles under freeze-thaw and runoff conditions
WANG Tian, LI Peng, HOU Jingming, TONG Yu, LI Jing, WANG Feng, LI Zhanbin
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 490-501.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0016-x
Abstract ( 13 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (699KB) ( 66 )  

Hydraulic erosion associated with seasonal freeze-thaw cycles is one of the most predominant factors, which drives soil stripping and transportation. In this study, indoor simulated meltwater erosion experiments were used to investigate the sorting characteristics and transport mechanism of sediment particles under different freeze-thaw conditions (unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes) and runoff rates (1, 2, and 4 L/min). Results showed that the order of sediment particle contents was silt>sand>clay during erosion process on unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes. Compared with original soils, clay and silt were lost, and sand was deposited. On unfrozen and shallow-thawed slopes, the change of runoff rate had a significant impact on the enrichment of clay, silt, and sand particles. In this study, the sediment particles transported in the form of suspension/saltation were 83.58%-86.54% on unfrozen slopes, 69.24%-84.89% on shallow-thawed slopes, and 83.75%-87.44% on frozen slopes. Moreover, sediment particles smaller than 0.027 mm were preferentially transported. On shallow-thawed slope, relative contribution percentage of suspension/saltation sediment particles gradually increased with the increase in runoff rate, and an opposite trend occurred on unfrozen and frozen slopes. At the same runoff rate, freeze-thaw process had a significant impact on the relative contribution percentage of sediment particle transport via suspension/saltation and rolling during erosion process. The research results provide an improved transport mechanism under freeze-thaw condition for steep loessal slopes.

Spatiotemporal changes of typical glaciers and their responses to climate change in Xinjiang, Northwest China
HUANG Xiaoran, BAO Anming, GUO Hao, MENG Fanhao, ZHANG Pengfei, ZHENG Guoxiong, YU Tao, QI Peng, Vincent NZABARINDA, DU Weibing
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 502-520.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0056-2
Abstract ( 19 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (2996KB) ( 35 )  

Glaciers are highly sensitive to climate change and are undergoing significant changes in mid-latitudes. In this study, we analyzed the spatiotemporal changes of typical glaciers and their responses to climate change in the period of 1990-2015 in 4 different mountainous sub-regions in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of Northwest China: the Bogda Peak and Karlik Mountain sub-regions in the Tianshan Mountains; the Yinsugaiti Glacier sub-region in the Karakorum Mountains; and the Youyi Peak sub-region in the Altay Mountains. The standardized snow cover index (NDSI) and correlation analysis were used to reveal the glacier area changes in the 4 sub-regions from 1990 to 2015. Glacial areas in the Bogda Peak, Karlik Mountain, Yinsugaiti Glacier, and Youyi Peak sub-regions in the period of 1990-2015 decreased by 57.7, 369.1, 369.1, and 170.4 km², respectively. Analysis of glacier area center of gravity showed that quadrant changes of glacier areas in the 4 sub-regions moved towards the origin. Glacier area on the south aspect of the Karlik Mountain sub-region was larger than that on the north aspect, while glacier areas on the north aspect of the other 3 sub-regions were larger than those on the south aspect. Increased precipitation in the Karlik Mountain sub-region inhibited the retreat of glaciers to a certain extent. However, glacier area changes in the Bogda Peak and Youyi Peak sub-regions were not sensitive to the increased precipitation. On a seasonal time scale, glacier area changes in the Bogda Peak, Karlik Mountain, Yinsugaiti Glacier, and Youyi Peak sub-regions were mainly caused by accumulated temperature in the wet season; on an annual time scale, the correlation coefficient between glacier area and annual average temperature was -0.72 and passed the significance test at P<0.05 level in the Karlik Mountain sub-region. The findings of this study can provide a scientific basis for water resources management in the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China in the context of global warming.

Projection of hydrothermal condition in Central Asia under four SSP-RCP scenarios
YAO Linlin, ZHOU Hongfei, YAN Yingjie, LI Lanhai, SU Yuan
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 521-536.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0094-9
Abstract ( 12 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (1721KB) ( 86 )  

Hydrothermal condition is mismatched in arid and semi-arid regions, particularly in Central Asia (including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan), resulting many environmental limitations. In this study, we projected hydrothermal condition in Central Asia based on bias-corrected multi-model ensembles (MMEs) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathway and Representative Concentration Pathway (SSP-RCP) scenarios (SSP126 (SSP1-RCP2.6), SSP245 (SSP2-RCP4.5), SSP460 (SSP4-RCP6.0), and SSP585 (SSP5-RCP8.5)) during 2015-2100. The bias correction and spatial disaggregation, water-thermal product index, and sensitivity analysis were used in this study. The results showed that the hydrothermal condition is mismatched in the central and southern deserts, whereas the region of Pamir Mountains and Tianshan Mountains as well as the northern plains of Kazakhstan showed a matched hydrothermal condition. Compared with the historical period, the matched degree of hydrothermal condition improves during 2046-2075, but degenerates during 2015-2044 and 2076-2100. The change of hydrothermal condition is sensitive to precipitation in the northern regions and the maximum temperatures in the southern regions. The result suggests that the optimal scenario in Central Asia is SSP126 scenario, while SSP585 scenario brings further hydrothermal contradictions. This study provides scientific information for the development and sustainable utilization of hydrothermal resources in arid and semi-arid regions under climate change.

Application of biocementation technique using Bacillus sphaericus for stabilization of soil surface and dust storm control
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 537-549.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0017-9
Abstract ( 8 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (1021KB) ( 18 )  

Dust emission and wind erosion are widespread phenomena in arid and semi-arid regions, which have far-reaching harmful effects to the environment. This study aimed to use microbial induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) method with Bacillus sphaericus to reduce soil losses that occur in a dust-producing area due to wind erosion in the Ilam Province, Iran. Soil samples at the 0-30 cm depth were used and sterilized in an autoclave for 2 h at 121°C and 103 kPa. Approximately 3 kg soils were weighed and poured in the 35 cm×35 cm×3 cm trays. Different treatments included two levels of B. sphaericus (0.0 and 0.5 OD), three levels of suspension volume (123, 264, and 369 mL), two levels of urea-chloride cementation solution (0.0 and 0.5 M), and two levels of bacterial spray (once and twice spray). After 28 d, soil properties such as soil mass loss, penetration resistance, and aggregate stability were measured. The results showed a low soil mass loss (1 g) in F14 formulation (twice bacterial spray+264 mL suspension volume+without cementation solution) and a high soil mass loss (246 g) in F5 formulation (without bacteria+264 mL suspension volume+0.5 M cementation solution). The highest (42.55%) and the lowest (19.47%) aggregate stabilities were observed in F16 and F7 formulations, respectively, and the highest penetration resistance (3.328 kg/cm2) was observed in F18 formulation. According to the final results, we recommended the formulation with twice bacterial spray, 0.5 M cementation solution, and 269 mL suspension volume as the best combination for soil surface stabilization. Furthermore, this method is environmentally friendly because it has no adverse effects on soil, water, and plants, thus, it would be an efficient approach to stabilize soil surface.

Seed rain and soil seed bank compensatory roles on Nassella tenuis (Phil.) Barkworth seedling recruitment in ungrazed and grazed sites
Cintia Vanesa LEDER, Dianela Alejandra CALVO, Guadalupe PETER
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 550-560.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0015-y
Abstract ( 12 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (529KB) ( 65 )  

In semi-arid lands, vegetation is distributed in shrub patches immersed in a less vegetated interpatch matrix. Grazing affects perennial grass seed bank through a decrease in seed rain and an increase in seed predation and soil compaction. Nevertheless, some species with anchorage mechanisms in their seeds might overcome this, such as Nassella tenuis (Phil.) Barkworth. This is an important species in grazing paddocks because it has an intermediate palatability and its relatively tolerant to grazing. These characteristics allow N. tenuis to increase its abundance in grazed sites. Our objective was to assess how grazing affects the key palatable species from seeds to seedlings: i.e., seed rain, soil seed bank, and seedling recruitment in different microsites along a windward-leeward transect across shrub canopy. We hypothesized that: (1) the negative effects of grazing on N. tenuis fructification are reflected in its seed rain, soil seed bank, and seedling recruitment, especially in interpatches; (2) Nassella tenuis seed rain reduction, soil compaction by cattle in grazed sites, and removal of seeds by wind decrease its soil seed bank, especially in microsites exposed to the predominant wind; and (3) the decrease in N. tenuis soil seed bank and cover increase in annual species in grazed sites have negative effects on its seedling recruitment, especially in microsites exposed to predominant wind. We placed seed traps, collected soil samples, and monitored seedling recruitment in different locations around shrub canopy to address our hypotheses. Also, we established a manipulative experiment in which we sow N. tenuis seeds and followed its recruitment in different microsites. We compared the seed rain, soil seed bank, natural seedling recruitment, and sown seeds recruitment of N. tenuis between grazed and ungrazed sites. We analyzed differences between microsites along a windward-leeward transect across shrubs patches. Seed rain and soil seed bank had the same density in patches and interpatches both in ungrazed and grazed sites. But seed rain was higher, and soil seed bank was lower in ungrazed sites than in grazed sites. Almost all under-canopy microsites showed greater soil seed bank abundance and natural seedling recruitment in ungrazed sites. Sown seeds recruitment was the same between grazed and ungrazed sites, but it showed protective effects of shrubs in leeward microsites under grazed sites. As a conclusion, seed rain and soil seed bank are complementary under grazed sites.

Changes in diversity, composition and assembly processes of soil microbial communities during Robinia pseudoacacia L. restoration on the Loess Plateau, China
WANG Kun, WANG Xiaoxia, FEI Hongyan, WAN Chuanyu, HAN Fengpeng
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 561-575.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0064-2
Abstract ( 17 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (625KB) ( 23 )  

Robinia pseudoacacia L. (RP) restoration has increased vegetation cover in semi-arid regions on the Loess Plateau of China, but ecological problems have also occurred due to RP restoration, such as reduced soil moisture. Further, it is still uncertain how microbial diversity, composition and assembly processes change with RP restoration in semi-arid regions. Therefore, amplicon sequencing of small subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (16S rRNA) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) genes was performed to study soil bacterial and fungal diversity, composition and assembly processes at four study sites with different stand ages of RP plantations (Y10, RP plantation with stand ages less than 10 a; Y15, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 15 a; Y25, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 25 a; and Y40, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 40 a) along a 40-a chronosequence on the Loess Plateau. The diversity of soil bacteria and fungi increased significantly during the restoration period from 10 to 15 a (P<0.05). However, compared with Y15, bacterial diversity was lower at Y25 and Y40, and fungal diversity remained stable during the restoration period between 25 and 40 a. The relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Ascomycota increased during the restoration period from 10 to 15 a. Conversely, after 15 a of restoration, they both decreased, whereas the relative abundances of Actinomycetes, Acidobacteria and Basidiomycota gradually increased. The variations in soil bacterial communities were mainly related to changes in soil total nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen and moisture contents, while soil fungal communities were mainly shaped by soil organic carbon and nitrate nitrogen contents. Bacterial communities were structured by the heterogeneous selection and stochastic process, while fungal communities were structured primarily by the stochastic process. The RP restoration induced an increase in the relative importance of heterogeneous selection on bacterial communities. Overall, this study reveals the changes in microbial diversity, community composition and assembly processes with RP restoration on the Loess Plateau and provides a new perspective on the effects of vegetation restoration on soil microbial communities in semi-arid regions.

Grazing alters sandy soil greenhouse gas emissions in a sand-binding area of the Hobq Desert, China
WANG Bo, LI Yuwei, BAO Yuhai
Journal of Arid Land. 2022, 14 (5): 576-588.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0095-8
Abstract ( 17 )   HTML ( 8 )     PDF (1408KB) ( 78 )  

Deserts are sensitive to environmental changes caused by human interference and are prone to degradation. Revegetation can promote the reversal of desertification and the subsequent formation of fixed sand. However, the effects of grazing, which can cause the ground-surface conditions of fixed sand to further deteriorate and result in re-desertification, on the greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes from soils remain unknown. Herein, we investigated GHG fluxes in the Hobq Desert, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, at the mobile (desertified), fixed (vegetated), and grazed (re-desertified) sites from January 2018 to December 2019. We analyzed the response mechanism of GHG fluxes to micrometeorological factors and the variation in global warming potential (GWP). CO2 was emitted at an average rate of 4.2, 3.7, and 1.1 mmol/(m2•h) and N2O was emitted at an average rate of 0.19, 0.15, and 0.09 µmol/(m2•h) at the grazed, fixed, and mobile sites, respectively. Mean CH4 consumption was as follows: fixed site (2.9 µmol/(m2•h))>grazed site (2.7 µmol/(m2•h))>mobile site (1.1 µmol/(m2•h)). GHG fluxes varied seasonally, and soil temperature (10 cm) and soil water content (30 cm) were the key micrometeorological factors affecting the fluxes. The changes in the plant and soil characteristics caused by grazing resulted in increased soil CO2 and N2O emissions and decreased CH4 absorption. Grazing also significantly increased the GWP of the soil (P<0.05). This study demonstrates that grazing on revegetated sandy soil can cause re-desertification and significantly increase soil carbon and nitrogen leakage. These findings could be used to formulate informed policies on the management and utilization of desert ecosystems.