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31 January 2023, Volume 15 Issue 1 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Research article
Spatiotemporal characteristics and influencing factors of ecosystem services in Central Asia
YAN Xue, LI Lanhai
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 1-19.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0074-0
Abstract ( 40 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (2281KB) ( 141 )  

Land use/land cover (LULC) change and climate change are two major factors affecting the provision of ecosystem services which are closely related to human well-being. However, a clear understanding of the relationships between these two factors and ecosystem services in Central Asia is still lacking. This study aimed to comprehensively assess ecosystem services in Central Asia and analyze how they are impacted by changes in LULC and climate. The spatiotemporal patterns of three ecosystem services during the period of 2000-2015, namely the net primary productivity (NPP), water yield, and soil retention, were quantified and mapped by the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) model, Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model, and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Scenarios were used to determine the relative importance and combined effect of LULC change and climate change on ecosystem services. Then, the relationships between climate factors (precipitation and temperature) and ecosystem services, as well as between LULC change and ecosystem services, were further discussed. The results showed that the high values of ecosystem services appeared in the southeast of Central Asia. Among the six biomes (alpine forest region (AFR), alpine meadow region (AMR), typical steppe region (TSR), desert steppe region (DSR), desert region (DR), and lake region (LR)), the values of ecosystem services followed the order of AFR>AMR>TSR>DSR> DR>LR. In addition, the values of ecosystem services fluctuated during the period of 2000-2015, with the most significant decreases observed in the southeast mountainous area and northwest of Central Asia. LULC change had a greater impact on the NPP, while climate change had a stronger influence on the water yield and soil retention. The combined LULC change and climate change exhibited a significant synergistic effect on ecosystem services in most of Central Asia. Moreover, ecosystem services were more strongly and positively correlated with precipitation than with temperature. The greening of desert areas and forest land expansion could improve ecosystem services, but unreasonable development of cropland and urbanization have had an adverse impact on ecosystem services. According to the results, ecological stability in Central Asia can be achieved through the natural vegetation protection, reasonable urbanization, and ecological agriculture development.

Spatiotemporal evolution and prediction of habitat quality in Hohhot City of China based on the InVEST and CA-Markov models
LUAN Yongfei, HUANG Guohe, ZHENG Guanghui
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 20-33.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0090-8
Abstract ( 43 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (1651KB) ( 105 )  

With the acceleration of urbanization, changes in the urban ecological environment and landscape pattern have led to a series of prominent ecological environmental problems. In order to better coordinate the balanced relationship between city and ecological environment, we selected land use change data to evaluate the habitat quality in Hohhot City of China, which is of great practical significance for regional urban and economic development. Thus, the integrated valuation of ecosystem services and tradeoffs (InVEST) and Cellular Automata-Markov (CA-Markov) models were used to analyze, predict, and explore the Spatiotemporal evolution path and characteristics of urban land use, and forecast the typical evolution pattern of land use in 2030. The results showed that the land use types in Hohhot City changed significantly from 2000 to 2020, and the biggest change took place in cultivated land, grassland, shrub, and artificial surface. The decrease of cultivated land area and the increase of artificial surface area were the main impact trend of land use change. The average value of habitat quality had been decreasing continuously from 2000 to 2020, and the values of habitat degradation were 0.2605, 0.2494, and 0.2934 in 2000, 2010, and 2020, respectively, showing a decreasing trend. The decrease of habitat quality was caused by the needs of economic development and urban construction, as well as the impact of land occupation. During this evolution, many cultivated land and urban grassland had been converted into construction land. The simulated land use changes in 2030 are basically the same as those during 2000-2020, and the habitat quality will still be declining. The regional changes are influenced by the urban rapid development and industrial layout. These results can provide decision-making reference for regional urban planning and management as well as habitat quality evaluation.

Check dam extraction from remote sensing images using deep learning and geospatial analysis: A case study in the Yanhe River Basin of the Loess Plateau, China
SUN Liquan, GUO Huili, CHEN Ziyu, YIN Ziming, FENG Hao, WU Shufang, Kadambot H M SIDDIQUE
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 34-51.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0091-7
Abstract ( 26 )   HTML ( 2 )     PDF (3272KB) ( 123 )  

Check dams are widely used on the Loess Plateau in China to control soil and water losses, develop agricultural land, and improve watershed ecology. Detailed information on the number and spatial distribution of check dams is critical for quantitatively evaluating hydrological and ecological effects and planning the construction of new dams. Thus, this study developed a check dam detection framework for broad areas from high-resolution remote sensing images using an ensemble approach of deep learning and geospatial analysis. First, we made a sample dataset of check dams using GaoFen-2 (GF-2) and Google Earth images. Next, we evaluated five popular deep-learning-based object detectors, including Faster R-CNN, You Only Look Once (version 3) (YOLOv3), Cascade R-CNN, YOLOX, and VarifocalNet (VFNet), to identify the best one for check dam detection. Finally, we analyzed the location characteristics of the check dams and used geographical constraints to optimize the detection results. Precision, recall, average precision at intersection over union (IoU) threshold of 0.50 (AP50), IoU threshold of 0.75 (AP75), and average value for 10 IoU thresholds ranging from 0.50-0.95 with a 0.05 step (AP50-95), and inference time were used to evaluate model performance. All the five deep learning networks could identify check dams quickly and accurately, with AP50-95, AP50, and AP75 values higher than 60.0%, 90.0%, and 70.0%, respectively, except for YOLOv3. The VFNet had the best performance, followed by YOLOX. The proposed framework was tested in the Yanhe River Basin and yielded promising results, with a recall rate of 87.0% for 521 check dams. Furthermore, the geographic analysis deleted about 50% of the false detection boxes, increasing the identification accuracy of check dams from 78.6% to 87.6%. Simultaneously, this framework recognized 568 recently constructed check dams and small check dams not recorded in the known check dam survey datasets. The extraction results will support efficient watershed management and guide future studies on soil erosion in the Loess Plateau.

Effect of sand-fixing vegetation on the hydrological regulation function of sand dunes and its practical significance
Alamusa , SU Yuhang, YIN Jiawang, ZHOU Quanlai, WANG Yongcui
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 52-62.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0002-y
Abstract ( 28 )   HTML ( 1 )     PDF (1101KB) ( 62 )  

Soil water content is a key controlling factor for vegetation restoration in sand dunes. The deep seepage and lateral migration of water in dunes affect the recharge process of deep soil water and groundwater in sand dune ecosystems. To determine the influence of vegetation on the hydrological regulation function of sand dunes, we examined the deep seepage and lateral migration of dune water with different vegetation coverages during the growing season in the Horqin Sandy Land, China. The results showed that the deep seepage and lateral migration of water decreased with the increase in vegetation coverage on the dunes. The accumulated deep seepage water of mobile dunes (vegetation coverage<5%) and dunes with vegetation coverage of 18.03%, 27.12%, and 50.65% accounted for 56.53%, 51.82%, 18.98%, and 0.26%, respectively, of the rainfall in the same period. The accumulated lateral migration of water in these dunes accounted for 12.39%, 6.33%, 2.23%, and 7.61% of the rainfall in the same period. The direction and position of the dune slope affected the soil water deep seepage and lateral migration process. The amounts of deep seepage and lateral migration of water on the windward slope were lower than those on the leeward slope. The amounts of deep seepage and lateral migration of water showed a decreasing trend from the bottom to the middle and to the top of the dune slope. According to the above results, during the construction of sand-control projects in sandy regions, we suggest that a certain area of mobile dunes (>13.75%) should be retained as a water resource reservoir to maintain the water balance of artificial fixed dune ecosystems. These findings provide reliable evidence for the accurate assessment of water resources within the sand dune ecosystem and guide the construction of desertification control projects.

Biocrust-induced partitioning of soil water between grass and shrub in a desert steppe of Northwest China
YANG Xinguo, WANG Entian, QU Wenjie, WANG Lei
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 63-76.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0001-z
Abstract ( 24 )   HTML ( 1 )     PDF (2261KB) ( 53 )  

Maintaining the stability of exotic sand-binding shrub has become a large challenge in arid and semi-arid grassland ecosystems in northern China. We investigated two kinds of shrublands with different BSCs (biological soil crusts) cover in desert steppe in Northwest China to characterize the water sources of shrub (Caragana intermedia Kuang et H. C. Fu) and grass (Artemisia scoparia Waldst. et Kit.) by stable 18O isotopic. Our results showed that both shrublands were subject to persistent soil water deficiency from 2012 to 2017, the minimum soil depth with CV (coefficient of variation) <15% and SWC (soil water content) <6% was 1.4 m in shrubland with open areas lacking obvious BSC cover, and 0.8 m in shrubland covered by mature BSCs. For C. intermedia, a considerable proportion of water sources pointed to the surface soil. Water from BSCs contributed to averages 22.9% and 17.6% of the total for C. intermedia and A. scoparia, respectively. C. intermedia might use more water from BSCs in rainy season than dry season, in contrast to A. scoparia. The relationship between shrub (or grass) and soil water by δ18O shown significant differences in months, which partly verified the potential trends and relations covered by the high variability of the water source at seasonal scale. More fine roots at 0-5 cm soil layer could be found in the surface soil layer covered by BSCs (8000 cm/m3) than without BSCs (3200 cm/m3), which ensured the possibility of using the surface soil water by C. intermedia. The result implies that even under serious soil water deficiency, C. intermedia can use the surface soil water, leading to the coexistence between C. intermedia and A. scoparia. Different with the result from BSCs in desert areas, the natural withdrawal of artificial C. intermedia from desert steppe will be a long-term process, and the highly competitive relationship between shrubs and grasses also determines that its habitat will be maintained in serious drought state for a long time.

Effects of water stress on growth phenology photosynthesis and leaf water potential in Stipagrostis ciliata (Desf.) De Winter in North Africa
Lobna MNIF FAKHFAKH, Mohamed CHAIEB
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 77-90.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0082-0
Abstract ( 21 )   HTML ( 1 )     PDF (887KB) ( 52 )  

Stipagrostis ciliata (Desf.) De Winter is a pastoral C4 grass grown in arid regions. This research work focused on assessing the growth of S. ciliata accessions derived from two different climate regions (a wet arid region in the Bou Hedma National Park in the central and southern part of Tunisia (coded as WA), and a dry arid region from the Matmata Mountain in the south of Tunisia (coded as DA)) under water stress conditions. Specifically, the study aimed to investigate the phenological and physiological responses of potted S. ciliata seedlings under different water treatments: T1 (200 mm/a), T2 (150 mm/a), T3 (100 mm/a) and T4 (50 mm/a). Growth phenology, net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), midday leaf water potential (Ψmd), predawn leaf water potential (Ψpd), soil water content (SWC) and soil water potential (Ψs) were observed during the water stress cycle (from December 2016 to November 2017). The obtained results showed that the highest growth potential of the two accessions (WA and DA) was recorded under treatment T1. The two accessions responded differently and significantly to water stress. Photosynthetic parameters, such as Pn and gs, decreased sharply under treatments T2, T3 and T4 compared to treatment T1. The higher water stress increased the R/S ratio (the ratio of root dry biomass to shoot dry biomass), with values of 1.29 and 2.74 under treatment T4 for accessions WA and DA, respectively. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied, and the separation of S. ciliata accessions on the first two axes of PCA (PC1 and PC2) suggested that accession DA was detected in the negative extremity of PC1 and PC2 under treatments T1 and T2. This accession was characterized by a high number of spikes. For treatments T3 and T4, both accessions were detected in the negative extremity of PC1 and PC2. They were characterized by a high root dry biomass. Therefore, S. ciliata accessions responded to water stress by displaying significant changes in their behaviours. Accession WA from the Bou Hedma National Park (wet arid region) showed higher drought tolerance than accession DA from the Matmata Mountain (dry arid region). S. ciliata exhibits a significant adaptation capacity for water limitation and may be an important species for ecosystem restoration.

Quantitative distinction of the relative actions of climate change and human activities on vegetation evolution in the Yellow River Basin of China during 1981-2019
LIU Yifeng, GUO Bing, LU Miao, ZANG Wenqian, YU Tao, CHEN Donghua
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 91-108.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0079-8
Abstract ( 41 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (2363KB) ( 30 )  

Under the combined influence of climate change and human activities, vegetation ecosystem has undergone profound changes. It can be seen that there are obvious differences in the evolution patterns and driving mechanisms of vegetation ecosystem in different historical periods. Therefore, it is urgent to identify and reveal the dominant factors and their contribution rates in the vegetation change cycle. Based on the data of climate elements (sunshine hours, precipitation and temperature), human activities (population intensity and GDP intensity) and other natural factors (altitude, slope and aspect), this study explored the spatial and temporal evolution patterns of vegetation NDVI in the Yellow River Basin of China from 1989 to 2019 through a residual method, a trend analysis, and a gravity center model, and quantitatively distinguished the relative actions of climate change and human activities on vegetation evolution based on Geodetector model. The results showed that the spatial distribution of vegetation NDVI in the Yellow River Basin showed a decreasing trend from southeast to northwest. During 1981-2019, the temporal variation of vegetation NDVI showed an overall increasing trend. The gravity centers of average vegetation NDVI during the study period was distributed in Zhenyuan County, Gansu Province, and the center moved northeastwards from 1981 to 2019. During 1981-2000 and 2001-2019, the proportion of vegetation restoration areas promoted by the combined action of climate change and human activities was the largest. During the study period (1981-2019), the dominant factors influencing vegetation NDVI shifted from natural factors to human activities. These results could provide decision support for the protection and restoration of vegetation ecosystem in the Yellow River Basin.

Diversity of soil bacteria and fungi communities in artificial forests of the sandy-hilly region of Northwest China
GOU Qianqian, MA Gailing, QU Jianjun, WANG Guohua
Journal of Arid Land. 2023, 15 (1): 109-126.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0003-x
Abstract ( 28 )   HTML ( 1 )     PDF (1535KB) ( 102 )  

Soil erosion is a serious issue in the sandy-hilly region of Shanxi Province, Northwest China. There has been gradual improvement due to vegetation restoration, but soil microbial community characteristics in different vegetation plantation types have not been widely investigated. To address this, we analyzed soil bacterial and fungal community structures, diversity, and microbial and soil environmental factors in Caragana korshinskii Kom., Populus tomentosa Carr., Populus simonii Carr., Salix matsudana Koidz, and Pinus tabulaeformis Carr. forests. There were no significant differences in the dominant bacterial community compositions among the five forest types. The alpha diversity of the bacteria and fungi communities showed that ACE (abundance-based coverage estimator), Chao1, and Shannon indices in C. korshinskii forest were significantly higher than those in the other four forest types (P<0.05). Soil organic matter, total nitrogen, and urease had a greater impact on bacterial community composition, while total nitrogen, β-glucosidase, and urease had a greater impact on fungal community composition. The relative abundance of beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms was similar across all forest types. Based on microbial community composition, diversity, and soil fertility, we ranked the plantations from most to least suitable as follows: C. korshinskii, S. matsudana, P. tabulaeformis, P. tomentosa, and P. simonii.