Sandy desertification is land degradation characterized by wind erosion mainly resulted from the excessive human activities in arid, semiarid and part of sub-humid regions in northern China. The research on sandy desertification has experienced more than 5 decades of arduous course of the struggle along with the establishment and development of China's desert science. Researches in this field have made a great contribution to the national economic construction, and environmental protection. This paper focuses on presenting the major progress and achievements in the sandy desertification research during the last 50 years, including the stages of study on sandy desertification, background environment of sandy desertification and its changes, the conception, causes, process, monitoring and assessment of sandy desertification, the vegetation succession, landscape ecology, plant physiology, impacts on ecosystem, high-effective use of water and land resources and sustainable development in sandy desertified regions, sandy desertification control models and techniques etc.
Glacier inventory compilation during the past 20 years and modifications of that for the Eastern Pamir and Banggong Lake indicate that there are 46,342 modern glaciers with a total area and volume of 59415 km2 and 5601 km3 respectively in China. These glaciers can be classified into maritime and continental (including sub-continental and extremely continental) types. Researches show that glaciers in China have been retreating since the Little Ice Age and the mass wastage was accelerated during the past 30 to 40 years. Being an important part of glaciological studies in China, ice core climatic and environmental studies on Tibetan Plateau and in the Antarctica have provided abundant, high resolution information about past climatic and environmental evolution over the Tibetan Plateau and Antarctica. Except for different parameters recorded in ice cores relating to climate and environment changes on Tibetan Plateau, records from ice cores extracted from different glaciers show that the discrepancies in climatic and environmental changes on the north and south parts of the plateau may be the consequence of different influencing effects from terrestrial and solar sources. Glaciological and meteorological phenomena imply that Lambert Glacier valley is an important boundary of climate in the east Antarctica, which is thought to be connected with cyclonic activities and Circum-polar Waves over the Antarctica.
Permafrost in China includes high latitude permafrost in northeastern China, alpine permafrost in northwestern China and high plateau permafrost on the Tibetan Plateau. The high altitude permafrost is about 92% of the total permafrost area in China. The south boundary or lower limit of the seasonally frozen ground is defined in accordance with the 0 oC isothermal line of mean air temperature in January, which is roughly corresponding to the line extending from the Qinling Mountains to the Huaihe River in the east and to the southeast boundary of the Tibetan Plateau in the west. Seasonal frozen ground occurs in large parts of the territory in northern China, including Northeast, North, Northwest China and the Tibetan Plateau except for permafrost regions, and accounting for about 55% of the land area of China. The southern limit of short-term frozen ground generally swings south and north along the 25o northern latitude line, occurring in the wet and warm subtropic monsoon climatic zone. Its area is less than 20% of the land area of China.
A stochastic model for daily precipitation simulation in China was developed based on the framework of a 'Richardson-type' weather generator that is an important tool in studying impacts of weather/climate on a variety of systems including ecosystem and risk assessment. The purpose of this work is to develop a weather generator for applications in China. The focus is on precipitation simulation since determination of other weather variables such as temperature is dependent on precipitation simulation. A framework of first order Markov Chain with Gamma Distribution for daily precipitation is adopted in this work. Based on this framework, four parameters of precipitation simulation for each month at 672 stations all over China were determined using daily precipitation data from 1961 to 2000. Compared with previous works, our estimation for the parameters was made for more stations and longer observations, which makes the weather generator more applicable and reliable. Spatial distributions of the four parameters are analyzed in a regional climate context. The seasonal variations of these parameters at five stations representing regional differences are discussed. Based on the estimated monthly parameters at 672 stations, daily precipitations for any period can be simulated. A 30-year simulation was made and compared with observations during 1971-2000 in terms of annual and monthly statistics. The results are satisfactory, which demonstrates the usefulness of the weather generator.
The driving factors of runoff changes can be divided into precipitation factor and non-precipitation factor, and they can also be divided into natural factor and human activity factor. In this paper, the ways and methods of these driving factors impacting on runoff changes are analyzed at first, and then according to the relationship between precipitation and runoff, the analytical method about impacts of precipitation and non-precipitation factors on basin's natural runoff is derived. The amount and contribution rates of the two factors impacting on natural runoff between every two adjacent decades during 1956-1998 are calculated in the Yellow River Basin (YRB). The results show that the amount and contribution rate of the two factors impacting on natural runoff are different in different periods and regions. For the YRB, the non-precipitation impact is preponderant for natural runoff reduction after the 1970s. Finally, by choosing main factors impacting on the natural runoff, one error back-propagation (BP) artificial neural network (ANN) model has been set up, and the impact of human activities on natural runoff reduction in the YRB is simulated. The result shows that the human activities could cause a 77×108 m3·a-1 reduction of runoff during 1980-1998 according to the climate background of 1956-1979.
The features of physical geography in the transitional region between Qinling Mountains and Huanghuai Plain possess transitional characters evidently in two directions: one is from the western mountain to the eastern plain and the other is from southern subtropical zone to northern temperate zone. Torrential rain, especially strong torrential rain is frequent in the transitional region, and there are many torrential rain centers. A majority of torrential rain is distributed among 100-200 m asl. The winter temperature at 100-400 m asl is higher than that in Huanghuai Plain whose altitude is lower than that of the transitional region, and the highest temperature in January appears at 350-400 m asl. The thickness of warm slope belt in the transitional region varies from 100 m to 250 m asl. The formation of torrential rain and warm slope belt is the result of joint action of atmospheric circulation and local terrain. Frequent torrential rains and warm slope belt had tremendous influences on the soil properties, plant distribution and local climate in the transitional region.
This paper reports a geomorphologic landscape investigation, vegetation survey and soil sampling at 14 sites across the Gurbantunggut Desert between 87o37'09''-88o24'04''E and 44o14'04''-45o41'52''N. The study encountered 8 species of low trees and shrubs, 5 of perennial herbs, 8 of annual plants and 48 of ephemeral and ephemeroid plants. These species of plants represent one-third of the species found in the Gurbantunggut Desert, and their communities make up a large proportion of desert vegetation with great landscape significance. In the investigation we found that the plant communities are accordingly succeeded with the spatial variation of macro-ecoenvironment. Using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Correlation Analysis (CA) we found that the micro-ecoenvironment heterogeneity of aeolian sandy soil's physical and chemical properties such as soil nutrient, soil moisture, soil salt, pH etc. only impacted the diversity of herb synusia (PIEherb) of the desert, with a negative correlation. Meanwhile, the impact of microhabitat on the plant community pattern with an antagonistic interaction made vegetation's eco-distribution in a temporary equilibrium.
The environment evolution of Wuliangsuhai wetland since 1986 is analyzed based on the remote sensing principle. The total water area of Wuliangsuhai lake has been increased during the past 17 years. The open water area had an increasing trend before 1987, and the trend was decreasing up to 1996, then the trend has increased again since 2000; the variation of the water area with dense aquatic weed is basically contradictory to the variation of open water area. The natural reed area had been decreased before 1987, and then it has been increased. The areas of shallow water and swamp have been slightly increased, in fact, the variations are quite steady. The artificial reed area has been increased since the reed plantation was started in 1988. The relationships of the water environment, the climate, hydrology and different types of areas are discussed, and then the technological measures for sustainable development and utilization of Wuliangsuhai lake water environment are proposed.
A statistic analysis predicting coastal change of the Yellow River abandoned delta lobe formed from 1964 to 1976 using Landsat TM imagery was conducted by calculating the coastal erosion/accumulation rates obtained from four different classic profiles and plotting the change curves of coastline with time. The studies showed that the regularity of the evolution of the coastline was very obvious after the delta lobe was abandoned. The coastal evolution can be divided into three different phases: erosion phase, transition phase and cyclical change phase. At present, the coast has evolved to the cyclical change phase. The natural coastline change cycle is 4 years between the dam and is 5 years to the west of the dam. In the cyclical change phase, the quasi-equilibrium line of the coast was located near the coastline of 1996, the current coast may recede 1.79 km to reach the natural equilibrium coastline. Therefore, some measures must be taken to protect the dam or the dam will be destroyed by the force of nature. The curves also revealed the magnitude of erosion/accumulation rates would decrease gradually with time. The results of the study offer guidance for coast protection, and proves that the evolution of silty coast actually was a cyclical change process too.
Coastline configuration indexes of 34 typical arc-shaped coasts in South China are investigated by the method of principal component analysis, and meanwhile deposition and geomorphologic features of arc-shaped coast are also analyzed. The results show: (1) The configuration of arc-shaped coast in South China is of the characteristic of variability and complexity. (2) The wave power and the openings of the bay are the decisive factors to result in the changes of the configuration of the arc-shaped coast in South China, however, incidence direction of the wave has no effect on configuration development of the coast. (3) Commonly, geomorphologic modes of the arc-shaped coast system in South China consist of barriers, lagoons and tidal-inlets, and can be divided into four types: the openings of the bay leaning to the east, the openings of the bay leaning to the south, the openings of the bay leaning to the west and the openings of the bay leaning to the north.
The distribution of soil organic matter (SOM) and nitrogen on Gongga Mountain was studied in this paper. The results showed that the content of SOM and nitrogen (N) of A horizon had an ascending trend with the increase of the elevation. The vegetation types distributed higher than the mixed broad-leaved and coniferous forest have the irregular trends. In the transitional zone vegetation such as mixed trees and treeline, the content of SOM and N is higher than other vegetation types. The distribution of SOM and N of A horizon is dependent on the synthetic effect of climate and vegetation types. The vertical distribution of SOM and N in soil profiles has the similar trends for all kinds of vegetation types, i.e., the content of A horizon is higher than that of the B and C horizons, which is the same to the distribution of dead animal and plant in soil. The soil C:N is between 7 and 25, which is relatively low comparing to the appropriate C:N of 25-30. The ratio of soil carbon to nitrogen (C:N) increases with the increase of the elevation, but its vertical distribution in soil horizons varies with different vegetation types. The N exists in SOM mainly in the form of organic nitrogen, and the soil C:N correlates significantly with SOM.
During the last decade of the 20th century, extensive conversion in agricultural land use took place in Northeast China. The goal of this study is to ascertain its spatial distribution and regional differentiation, determine its causes, and analyze its environmental impact. Especially we attempt to elucidate how institutional constraints have facilitated the change at a time of agrarian restructuring when newly emerging free market was hybridized with the former planned economy. Information on six categories of land use was mapped from interpretation of Landsat TM images recorded in 1990, 1995 and 2000. Most of land use changes took place during the first half of the decade, coinciding with abrupt and chaotic changes in government directives. Farmland was changed mainly to woodland, water body and built-up areas while woodland and grassland were converted chiefly to farmland. Spatially, the change from farmland to woodland was restricted to the west of the study area. The change from grassland to farmland took place in the grazing and farming interlocked west. These chaotic and occasionally conflicting changes were largely caused by lack of stability and consistency in agricultural land use policies promulgated. They have exerted adverse impacts on the local environment, including land degradation, increased flooding, and modified climate regime.
Serious soil erosion has already resulted in degradation of the Loess Plateau of China. Soil erosion is commonly accompanied by extensive soil nutrient loss. Because of enrichment processes, sediment nutrient content is often higher than that of natural soil. The objective of this study is to determine the enrichments of organic matter and total nitrogen in sediment in hilly and gully loess areas on the Loess Plateau of China. Measurements of enrichment ratios (ER) of organic matter (EROM) and total nitrogen (ERTN) in sediment as affected by rainfall, slope gradient, tillage, and fertilization were made in the field under natural rainfall conditions. The results showed that the enrichment of clay in sediment resulted in the enrichment of organic matter (OM) and total nitrogen (TN) in sediment. The averages of sediment clay ER, EROM and ERTN for the various slope gradients were 1.77, 2.09 and 1.61, respectively. The soil erosive module was negatively correlated with EROM and ERTN. Our results indicate that measures to reduce soil erosion, i.e. reducing rainfall erosivity, decreasing soil slope gradient, decreasing fertilizer use, and using level trenches, may increase EROM and ERTN. Both quantity and quality of sediment yield should be considered when implementing erosion control measures.
Based on regionalized variable theory, semivariograms of geo-statistics were used to research the spatial variation of soil properties quantitatively. The results showed that the semivariogram of soil organic matter is best described by spherical model, the best model for semivariograms of soil total N and available K is exponential models and that of available P belongs to linear with sill model. Those soil properties have different spatial correlations respectively, the lag of organic matter is the highest and that of available P is the lowest, the spatial correlation of N and available K belongs to moderate degree. Spatial heterogeneities are different too, the degree of organic matter and total N are higher, the degree of available K is in the next place and that of available P is the lowest. Influenced by the shape, topography and soil of the study area, all isotropies of available P are obvious in all directions while anisotropies of others are manifested. According to the analytical results, supported by GIS, Kriging and IDW methods are applied to describe and analyze the spatial distribution of soil properties. The results indicate that soil organic matter, total N and available K are distributed regularly from northeast to southwest, while available P is distributed randomly.