Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 9, pp 5469–5477 | Cite as

Water use sources of desert riparian Populus euphratica forests

  • Jianhua Si
  • Qi Feng
  • Shengkui Cao
  • Tengfei Yu
  • Chunyan Zhao


Desert riparian forests are the main body of natural oases in the lower reaches of inland rivers; its growth and distribution are closely related to water use sources. However, how does the desert riparian forest obtains a stable water source and which water sources it uses to effectively avoid or overcome water stress to survive? This paper describes an analysis of the water sources, using the stable oxygen isotope technique and the linear mixed model of the isotopic values and of desert riparian Populus euphratica forests growing at sites with different groundwater depths and conditions. The results showed that the main water source of Populus euphratica changes from water in a single soil layer or groundwater to deep subsoil water and groundwater as the depth of groundwater increases. This appears to be an adaptive selection to arid and water-deficient conditions and is a primary reason for the long-term survival of P. euphratica in the desert riparian forest of an extremely arid region. Water contributions from the various soil layers and from groundwater differed and the desert riparian P. euphratica forests in different habitats had dissimilar water use strategies.


Ecohydrology Stable isotope Groundwater depth Water use strategy 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation Major Research Plan (91025024), Key Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD-EW-04-05) and the ‘Western Light’ Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianhua Si
    • 1
  • Qi Feng
    • 1
  • Shengkui Cao
    • 2
  • Tengfei Yu
    • 1
  • Chunyan Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Alashan Desert Ecohydrology Experimental Research Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Life and Geographic SciencesQinghai Normal UniversityXiningChina

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