Vegetation biomass is an important component of terrestrial ecosystem carbon stocks. Grasslands are one of the most widespread biomes worldwide, playing an important role in global carbon cycling. Therefore, studying spatial patterns of biomass and their correlations to environment in grasslands is fundamental to quantifying terrestrial carbon budgets. The Eurasian steppe, an important part of global grasslands, is the largest and relatively well preserved grassland in the world. In this study, we analyzed the spatial pattern of aboveground biomass (AGB), and correlations of AGB to its environment in the Eurasian steppe by meta-analysis. AGB data used in this study were derived from the harvesting method and were obtained from three data sources (literature, global NPP database at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL), some data provided by other researchers). Our results demonstrated that: (1) as for the Eurasian steppe overall, the spatial variation in AGB exhibited significant horizontal and vertical zonality. In detail, AGB showed an inverted parabola curve with the latitude and with the elevation, while a parabola curve with the longitude. In addition, the spatial pattern of AGB had marked horizontal zonality in the Black Sea-Kazakhstan steppe subregion and the Mongolian Plateau steppe subregion, while horizontal and vertical zonality in the Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe subregion. (2) Of the examined environmental variables, the spatial variation of AGB was related to mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), mean annual solar radiation (MAR), soil Gravel content, soil pH and soil organic content (SOC) at the depth of 0-30 cm. Nevertheless, MAP dominated spatial patterns of AGB in the Eurasian steppe and its three subregions. (3) A Gaussian function was found between AGB and MAP in the Eurasian steppe overall, which was primarily determined by unique patterns of grasslands and environment in the Tibetan Plateau. AGB was significantly positively related to MAP in the Black Sea-Kazakhstan steppe subregion (elevation < 3000 m), the Mongolian Plateau steppe subregion (elevation < 3000 m) and the surface (elevation ≥ 4800 m) of the Tibetan Plateau. Nevertheless, the spatial variation in AGB exhibited a Gaussian function curve with the increasing MAP in the east and southeast margins (elevation < 4800 m) of the Tibetan Plateau. This study provided more knowledge of spatial patterns of AGB and their environmental controls in grasslands than previous studies only conducted in local regions like the Inner Mongolian temperate grassland, the Tibetan Plateau alpine grassland, etc.
The frost-free period (FFP), first frost date (FFD) and last frost date (LFD) have been regard as the important climate variables for agricultural production. Understanding the spatio-temporal variations of the FFP, FFD and LFD is beneficial to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change on agricultural production and enhance the agricultural adaptation. This study examined daily minimum temperatures for 823 national-level meteorological stations, calculated the values of FFD, LFD and FFP for station-specific and region-specific from 1951 to 2012, estimated the gradients of linear regression for station-specific moving averages of FFD, LFD and FFP, and assessed station-specific time series of FFP and detected the abrupt change. The results as follows: at both the station level and the regional level, the FFP across China decreases with the increase of latitude from south to north, and with the increase of altitude from east to west generally. At the station level, the inter-annual fluctuations of FFD, LFD and FFP in south and west agricultural regions are greater than those in north and east. At the regional level, excluding the QT region, temporal changes of FFP are relatively small in both the low-latitude and the high-latitude regions, but for the mid-latitude regions. According to the linear trend gradients of the moving average values of station-specific FFD, LFD and FFP, FFD was delayed, LFD advanced, and FFP extended gradually over the 80% of China. Furthermore, the change magnitudes for FFD, LFD and FFP in the north and east agricultural regions are higher than that in the southern and western. Among the 659 station-specific time series of FFP examined by the Mann-Kendall test, 341 stations, located mainly in the north region, have one identifiable and significant abrupt change. And at the 341 stations with identified abrupt changes, most (57%) abrupt changes occurred during 1991-2012, followed by the periods of 1981-1990 (28%), 1971-1980 (12%), and 1951-1970 (3%). The spatio-temporal variations of FFD, LFD and FFP would provide important guidance to agricultural practices.
Sea Level Pressure (SLP) data for the period 1950-2012 at 61 stations located in or around the Balkan Peninsula was used. The main concept is that intra-annual course of SLP represents the best different air masses that are situated over the Balkan Peninsula during the year. The method for differentiation of climatic zones is cluster analysis. A hierarchical clustering technique-average linkage between groups with Pearson correlation for measurement of intervals was employed in the research. The climate of the Balkan Peninsula is transitional between oceanic and continental and also between subtropical and temperate climates. Several major changes in atmospheric circulation over the Balkan Peninsula have happened over the period 1950-2012. There is a serious increase of the influence of the Azores High in the period January-March, which leads to an increase of SLP and enhances oceanic influence. There is an increase of the influence of the north-west extension of the monsoonal low in the period June-September. This leads to more continental climate, but also to more tropical air masses over the Balkan Peninsula. Accordingly, the extent of subtropical climate widens in northern direction. There is an increase of the influence of the Siberian High in the period October-December. This influence covers central and eastern part of the peninsula in October and November, and it reaches western parts in December. Thus, the climate becomes more continental.
Spatio-temporal patterns of flowering in forest ecosystems are hard to quantify and monitor. The objectives of this study were to investigate spatio-temporal patterns (e.g. soils, simple slope classes, slope aspect, and flow accumulation) of flowering around Lake Issaqueena, South Carolina (SC, USA) using plant-flowering database collected with GPS- enabled camera (stored in Picasa 3 web albums and project website) on a monthly basis in 2012 and LiDAR-based topography. Pacolet fine sandy loam had the most flowering plants, followed by Madison sandy loam, both dominant soil types around the lake. Most flowering plants were on moderately steep (17%-30%) and gently sloping (4%-8%) slopes. Most flowering plants were on west (247.5°-292.5°), southwest (202.5°-247.5°), and northwest (292.5°-337.5°) aspects. Most flowering plants were associated with minimum and maximum flows within the landscape. Chi-square tests indicated differences in the distributions of the proportions of flowering plants were significant by soil type, slope, aspect, and flow accumulation for each month (February-November), for all months (overall), and across months. The Chi-square test on area-normalized data indicated significant differences for all months and individual differences by each month with some months not statistically significant. Cluster analysis on flowering counts for nine plant families with the most flowering counts indicated no unique separation by cluster, but implied that the majority of these families were flowering on strongly sloping (9%-16%) slopes, on southwest (202.5°-247.5°) aspects, and low flow accumulation (0-200). Presented methodology can serve as a template for future efforts to quantify spatio-temporal patterns of flowering and other phenological events.
An efficient and reliable automated model that can map physical Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) structures on cultivated land was developed using very high spatial resolution imagery obtained from Google Earth and ArcGIS?, ERDAS IMAGINE?, and SDC Morphology Toolbox for MATLAB and statistical techniques. The model was developed using the following procedures: (1) a high-pass spatial filter algorithm was applied to detect linear features, (2) morphological processing was used to remove unwanted linear features, (3) the raster format was vectorized, (4) the vectorized linear features were split per hectare (ha) and each line was then classified according to its compass direction, and (5) the sum of all vector lengths per class of direction per ha was calculated. Finally, the direction class with the greatest length was selected from each ha to predict the physical SWC structures. The model was calibrated and validated on the Ethiopian Highlands. The model correctly mapped 80% of the existing structures. The developed model was then tested at different sites with different topography. The results show that the developed model is feasible for automated mapping of physical SWC structures. Therefore, the model is useful for predicting and mapping physical SWC structures areas across diverse areas.
This paper aims to compare the geochemical characteristics of loess-paleosol sequences in the upper reaches of the Hanjiang and Weihe river valleys, which are located in the semi-humid temperate zone and humid subtropical zone, respectively. The Mituosi (MTS) profile in the upper reaches of the Hanjiang River valley and the Yaohecun (YHC) profile in the Weihe River valley were selected for this comparative research. The stratigraphic characteristics, composition, chemical weathering intensity, leaching rates of Ca and Na, mobility of major elements, and transport features of Na and Fe were analyzed with respect to depth and compared between the two profiles. This study reached the following conclusions. (1) The composition of the loess-paleosol sequences in two regions are quite similar to the average composition of the upper continental crust (UCC), indicating that the loess in the two regions came from multiple sources and was mixed well. Therefore, the loess in the two regions is considered aeolian loess. (2) Compared with the loess-paleosol sequence in the Weihe River valley, the loess-paleosol sequence in the upper reaches of the Hanjiang River valley features a darker color; a higher chemical index of alteration (CIA) value; higher leaching rates of Na and Ca; higher migration ratio (relative to K) of Al, Si, Mg, and Na; and lower migration ratio of Fe and Ca. This evidence indicates that the loess-paleosol sequence in the humid subtropical environment experienced stronger chemical weathering intensity than the loess-paleosol sequence in the semi-humid temperate zone. (3) Both the YHC profile and MTS profile record a period of climate deterioration at 6000-5000 a BP. The period punctuated the mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum (8500-3100 a BP) in the study area.
With the continuous development of man’s ability to reshape nature, human activities have become the third geomorphologic agent in the modern geomorphological process. Man-made landform is a landform unit characterized by human activities and is a result of synergizing human and nature geomorphologic agents under the physical geographical background. This article provides an overview on the major progresses in research on anthropogenic geomorphology from aspects like the origin of anthropogenic geomorphology, man-made landform agents and classification, man-made landform evolution and its influencing mechanism, map presentation of man-made landform, and environmental impact of man-made landforms. In addition, in the article, the future development of anthropogenic geomorphology is forecasted. It is pointed out that future studies on anthropogenic geomorphology should pay more attention to the following directions: construction of discipline system of anthropogenic geomorphology, material composition and morphological features of man-made landforms, spatial expansion process and development laws of man-made landforms, regional disparity and accumulative environmental effects of man-made landforms, and environmental management on man-made landforms and comparative analyses of relevant international management policies.