Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 205-218.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0205-y

• Geomorphology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Bio-geomorphologic features and growth process of Tamarix nabkhas in Hotan River Basin, Xinjiang

LI Zhizhong1,2, WU Shengli2, CHEN Shujiang2, CHEN Xiuling1, JIN Jianhui1, LIU QI2   

  1. 1. College of Geographical Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China;
    2. College of Geography Science and Tourism, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 830054, China
  • Received:2009-04-13 Revised:2009-07-06 Online:2010-04-15 Published:2010-04-15
  • Contact: Wu Shengli (1977–), Associate Professor, E-mail:
  • About author:Li Zhizhong (1962–), Professor, specialized in the study on environmental evolution and wind-sand geomorphology in arid area. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40461002; The Key Project of the Ministry of Education, No.205184


Tamarix nabkha is one of the most widespread nabkhas, distributing in the arid region of China. Based on the observations outdoors and the simulation experiments in laboratories, analysis in this paper refers to the biological geomorphologic features and growth process of Tamarix nabkhas in the middle and lower reaches of the Hotan River, Xinjiang. And the results indicate that the ecological type of Tamarix in the study area is a kind of Tugaic soil habitat based on the deep soil of the Populus Diversifolia forests and shrubs. This type of habitat can be divided into three kinds of sub-habitats which demonstrate the features of ecological environment of Tamarix nabkhas during the differential developed phases. Meanwhile, the Tamarix nabkha can exert intensified disturbance current on wind-sand flow on the ground, and its root and stems not only have strong potential of sprouting but are characteristic of wind erosion-tolerance, resistance to be buried by sand and respectively tough rigid of the lignified branches, for it has a rather longer life-time. Thus, the wind speed profile influenced by the Tamarix nabkha is different from the Phragmites nabkha and Alhagi nabkha. And the structure of the wind flow is beneficial to aeolian sand accumulating in/around Tamarix shrub,which can create unique Tamarix nabkhas with higher average gradient and longer periodicity of life. Tamarix nabkha evolution in the area experienced three stages: growth stage, mature and steady stage and withering stage. In each stage, morphological features and geomorphic process of Tamarix nabkha are different due to the discrepant interaction between the nabkha and aeolian sand flow.

Key words: Xinjiang, Tamarix, Nabkha, Hotan River Basin, biological geomorphology, development mechanism