For over 30 years, IHP (International Hydrological Programme) has been actively operating as a UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) international scientific cooperative programme in water research, water resources management, education and capacity-building, and the only broadly-based science programme of the UN (United Nations) system in this region. By a number of initiatives and networks, the IHP has progressively carried out activities on the quantity and quality of global/regional water resources, transboundary water resources management, mitigation of water related hazards, and water education. While addressing comprehensive areas over water challenges, greater emphasis has been placed on the role of water resources management for sustainable development and with respect to the expected changes in climate and environmental conditions. WWAP (World Water Assessment Programme) and its major product WWDR (World Water Development Report) in East Asia are under the framework of IHP which supports field oriented activities on monitoring freshwater, developing case studies, enhancing national assessment capacity, and facilitating decision making processes. In light of transboundary waters in IHP, RSC (Regional Steering Committee) plays a focal role for facilitating regional cooperation in the Southeast and East Asia and Pacific States. Furthermore, ISI (International Sediment Initiative) and IFI (International Flood Initiative) have significant roles, respectively, for the management of erosion and sedimentation in line with river system or reservoir management, and for the flood management focusing on capacity building of each country in East Asia. There are other major areas of concern under UNESCO’s IHP programme in East Asia, specifically in aspects including, mitigating water conflicts on transboundary aquifers through ISARM (International Shared Aquifer Resources Management), water management of arid areas through Water and Development Information for Arid Lands- A Global Network (Asian G-WADI), and sustainable management of groundwater by UNESCO Water Chair, as well as water education through the programme of Sustainable Water Integrated Management- Educational Component.
Water has become a key restricting factor of the urbanization process in developing arid areas. Based on qualitative and quantitative methods, we constructed an integrated indicator system to assess the status of water resources and urbanization system in arid area, and established an AHP model reformed by entropy technology to evaluate the temporal and spatial variations of water resources constraint intensity on urbanization. This model is applied to the Hexi Corridor, a typical arid area in NW China. Results show that, water resources constraint intensity on urbanization in the Hexi Corridor is bigger in the east and smaller in the west. It has changed from the less strong constraint type into the strong constraint type from 1985 to 2005, yet it decreased appreciably in recent years. At present, most areas in the Hexi Corridor belong to the less strong or strong constraint type. Through rational adjustment of water resources and urbanization system, the Hexi Corridor can still promote water resources sustainable utilization and accelerate the urbanization process. This study suggests that the integrated assessment model of water resources constraint intensity on urbanization is an effective method to analyze the conflicts between water resources and urbanization system in arid area.
According to a long series of measured sediment data, the sedimentation effects of the Dongting Lake Area (DLA) were studied in light of the relationship between sedimentation characteristics and resources and environment. The result shows that the long-term deposition and the impact of human activities have led to a cycle of the evolution of sedimentation pattern, resulting in sediment disaster effects and resources effects in the DLA. The main features are as follows: 1) The water beach, silt beach, lake marsh beach, reed beach and other types of beach shaped by sedimentation effects constitute the main body of the giant lake system. 2) The disaster chains are induced, i.e., sedimentation → marshland expansion and reclamation → flood function decline, fish resource depletion, biodiversity reduction disaster chain, sedimentation → marshland expansion → floods, water pollution disaster chain, sedimentation → marshland floating vegetation rising → schistosomiasis, rodents virulence disaster chain, sedimentation → flood embankment bursting → land desertification disaster chain. 3) Sedimentation has created about 98.13×104 hm2 of land in the past 55 years. Rational development and utilization of marshland resources have produced tremendous economic benefits.
Intensive grazing in spring–summer has been responsible for environmental degradation of the Gurbantunggut Desert in recent years. The coverage of plants and biological crusts, sand surface stability and physicochemical characteristics of soil on the dune surface were conducted in 2002 (winter grazing) and 2005 (spring–summer grazing). The results showed that over 80% of the total area of the dune surface was covered by well-developed biological crusts and plants in 2002, when the interdune and middle to lower part of dune slopes were stabilized and only the crest had 10–40 m wide mobile belt. Affected by spring–summer grazing in 2005, over 80% of the total cover of biological crust was destructed and the plant coverage only reached 1/5 of that in 2002, especially the ephemeral plant cover had a great change. The value of sand transport potential in 2005 only reached 1/3 of that in 2002, but the total surface activity in 2005 was 1.6 times stronger than that in 2002. Meanwhile the mobile area began to expand from the dune top to the whole dune surface following spring–summer grazing. Compared with 2002, medium sand content of the dune surface soil increased by 13.9%, while that of fine and very fine sands decreased by 7.4% and 8.0% respectively in 2005 and the soil organic matter in 2005 was only about 1/2 of that in 2002. It is obvious that the presence of snow cover and frozen soil in winter could avoid the surface structure destruction in winter, while spring–summer grazing made excessive damage to biologic crusts and ephemeral plants. Spring is the main windy season in Gurbantunggut Desert and therefore intensive activity of dune surface occurred following spring–summer grazing, which led to a great loss of fine sand and organic matter. It can be seen that grazing season have a significant influence on the sustainable development of the desert ecosystem in Northwest China.
In this study, short-term gully retreat was monitored from the active gullies selected in representative black soil area, using differential global positioning system (GPS). With the support of geographic information system (GIS), multi-temporal digital elevation models (DEM) were constructed from the data collected by GPS and used for further analysis. Based on the analysis of multi-temporal DEM, we discussed the erosion–deposition characteristics within gully and a developing model for black soil gully area of Northeast China was proposed. The results are: (1) The analysis of the monitored gully data in 2004 indicated that the retreat of gully head reached more than 10 m, gully area extended 170–400 m2, net gully eroded volume 220–320 m3,and gully erosion modulus 2200–4800 t?km?2?a?1. (2) Compared with the mature gully the initial gully grows rapidly, and its erosion parameters are relatively large. The erosion parameters have not only to do with flow energy, but also with the growth phase. (3) There are significant seasonal differences in gully erosion parameters. The extension of gully area and width dominates in winter and spring without marked net erosion while changes mainly occur in gully head and net erosion in rainy season. (4) It is remarkable for freeze-thaw erosion in the black soil area of NE China. The gully wall of SG2 extended 0.45 m under freeze-thaw effect in 2004, and the distance of gully head retreated maximally 6.4 m. (5) Due to freeze-thaw action and snowmelt, gully is primarily in the interior adjustment process in winter and early spring. There are much more depositions compared with that during rainy season, which can almost happen throughout the gully, while erosion mostly occurs near head, esp. for gullies having a relatively long history of development. On the other hand, the process of energy exchange with exterior dominates in rainy season. It is considered that this cyclic process is an important mechanism for gully growth in high latitude or/and high attitude regions.
By scouring experiments, the changeable process and characteristics of sediment yield in the hillslope-gully side erosion system with different coverage degrees and spatial locations of grass were studied. Five grass coverage degrees of 0, 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%, three spatial locations of grass (upslope, mid-slope, low-slope) and two water inflow rates of 3.2 L/min, 5.2 L/min were applied to a 0.5 by 7 m soil bed in scouring experiments. Results showed that the sediment yield decreased with the increase of grass coverage degree at 3.2 L/min water inflow rate in scouring experiments and the sediment yield with different grass locations on the sloping surface was in the order of upper > middle > lower. At 5.2 L/min water inflow rate, the differences of sediment yield among various grass coverage degrees were increased, whereas the changeable tendency of sediment yield with different grass locations on the whole sloping surface was not very obvious. The proportion of sediment yield from the gully side increased in an exponential relationship with the increase of grass coverage degree. When the grass was located on the lower position of hillslope, the influence for accelerating gully erosion is the greatest.
De-farming slope farmland has been an effective measure in recent years for the improvement of the eco-environment and the mitigation of soil and water loss on the Loess Plateau. This paper, taking the Yangou Basin as a case study and using day-by-day meteorological data of Yan’an station in 2005, simulated and analyzed the quantitative relation between crop yield, soil and water loss and topographic condition with the aid of WIN-YIELD software. Results show that: 1) topographic gradient has important influence on crop yield. The bigger gradient is, the lower the crop yield. Yields of sorghum and corn decrease by 15.44% and 14.32% respectively at 25° in comparison to the case of 0°. In addition, yields of soya, bean and potato decrease slightly by 5.26%, 4.67% and 3.84%, respectively. The influences of topographic height and slope aspect on crop yield are slight. 2) Under the same topographic condition, different crops’ runoff and soil loss show obvious disparity. Topographic gradient has important influence on soil and water loss. In general, the changing trend is that the soil and water loss aggregates with the increase of gradient, and the maximal amount occurs around 20°. The influence of topographic height is slight. Topographic aspect has a certain effect, and the fundamental characteristic is that values are higher at the aspect of south than north. 3) Topographic gradients of 5° and 15° are two important thresholds. The characteristic about soil and water loss with the variation of topographic gradients show that: the slope farmland with gradient less than 5° could remain unchanged, and the slope farmland more than 15° should be de-farmed as early as possible.
Optimal scale is one of the important issues in ecology and geography. Based on land-use data of the Tarim River Basin in Xinjiang of China in the 1950s, regarding the area of land use types as the parameter in scale selecting, the histograms of the patches in area are charted. Then, by reinforcing the normalized scale variances (NSV) with 3 landscape indices, the scale characteristics of land use in the Tarim River Basin can be summarized. (1) NSV in the Tarim River up to a maximum at scale of 1:50,000 which is considered appropriate for the Tarim River. (2) Diversity indices of saline land are consistent with NSV’s. Diversity indices and NSV of sandy land showed that the appropriate scale is in the same scale domain. There is a significant difference between diversity indices and NSV of forestland and shrubland. (3) Fractal dimension of sandy land and saline land showed a hierarchical structure at a scale of 1:10,000. Fractal dimension of forestland and shrubland are distributed under the same hierarchical structure in the region.
Based on field landscape investigations, thermoluminescence (TL), magnetostratigraphy and loess-paleosol sequence, we found that there are at least four Yellow River terraces, whose ages are 0.86 Ma, 0.62 Ma, 0.13 Ma and 0.05 Ma, in Yuxi Fault-Uplift (from Sanmen Gorge to Mengjin) and at least three Yellow River terraces, whose ages are 1.24 Ma, 0.25 Ma and 0.05 Ma, in Huabei Fault Depression (from Mengjin to Kouma). All the terraces have a similar structure that several meters of paleosols directly develop on the top of fluvial silt. It shows that the Yellow River incised and consequently abandoned floodplain converted to terrace during the interglacial period. Therefore, there may be a link between the formation of terraces and glacial-interglacial climatic cycles. However, the differences in the Yellow River terrace sequences and ages between Yuxi Fault-Uplift and Huabei Fault Depression indicate that the surface uplift should play an important role in the formation of these terraces.
Supported by the technologies of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information system (GIS), we chose northwest of Beijing as a study area and gave priority to understanding of the spatial-temporal characteristics of landscape pattern change through visually interpreted Landsat TM images of 1989, 1996 and 2005. It is believed that there were a series of landscape ecological problems caused by city expansion: landscape ecological connectivity was low; landscape structure was simplified; the fragmentation of green land patch was more obvious on the plain areas, moreover, spatial distribution of green land was unbalanced. For this reason, this study adopted accumulative cost distance model, combined with ecosystem services and spatial interactions of landscape types, analyzed the spatial difference of the ecological function and the compactness of landscape structure in the study area, and further discussed the landscape pattern optimization proposal. We find that it is essential to protect and establish ecological sources, to establish urban ecological corridors, and to establish ecological nodes at the landscape ecological strategic positions so as to intensify spatial relationships among landscape elements and maintain continuity of landscape ecological process and pattern in the course of city expansion. The methods and final results from this study are expected to be useful for landscape ecological planning in Beijing region.
According to the glacial landforms and deposits with the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating results, two glacial stages of the last glacial cycle (LGC) and Late Glacial were identified. The Late Glacial stage (Meteorological Station glacier advance) took place about 11 ka (11.3±1.2 ka), and the last glacial maximum (LGM), named Black Wind Mouth glacier advance, occurred at 20 ka (20.0±2.1 ka). Based on the Ohmura’s formula in which there is a relationship between summer (JJA) atmospheric temperature (T) and the annual precipitation (P) at ELA, the present theoretical equilibrium line altitude (ELAt) in Changbai Mountains was 3380±100 m. Six methods of accumulation–area ratio (AAR), maximum elevation of lateral moraines (MELM), toe–to headwall altitude ratios (THAR), the terminal to summit altitudinal (TSAM), the altitude of cirque floor (CF), and the terminal to average elevation of the catchment area (Hofer) were used for calculation of the former ELAs in different stages. These methods provided the ELA for a range of 2250–2383 m with an average value of 2320±20 m during the LGM, which is 200 m higher than the value of previous investigation. The snowlines during the Late Glacial are 2490 m on northern slope, and 2440 m on western slope. The results show that the snowline on northern slope is 50 m higher than that on western slope during the Late Glacial, and the average snowline is 2465m. The ELA △ values were more than 1000 m during the LGM, and about 920 m lower than now during the Late Glacial stage respectively. Compared with Taiwanese and Japanese mountains in East Asia during the LGM, the effect of the uplift on ELA in Changbai Mountains during the glaciations (i.e. 20 m uplift in the LGM and 11 m in the Late Glacial) is not obvious.