Advertisement

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 11, pp 7605–7616 | Cite as

Impacts of ecological water conveyance on groundwater dynamics and vegetation recovery in the lower reaches of the Tarim River in northwest China

  • Xingming Hao
  • Weihong Li
Article

Abstract

The ecological water conveyance project (EWCP) in the lower reaches of the Tarim River provided a valuable opportunity to study hydro-ecological processes of desert riparian vegetation. Ecological effects of the EWCP were assessed at large spatial and temporal scales based on 13 years of monitoring data. This study analyzed the trends in hydrological processes and the ecological effects of the EWCP. The EWCP resulted in increased groundwater storage—expressed as a general rise in the groundwater table—and improved soil moisture conditions. The change of water conditions also directly affected vegetative cover and the phenology of herbs, trees, and shrubs. Vegetative cover of herbs was most closely correlated to groundwater depth at the last year-end (R = 0.81), and trees and shrubs were most closely correlated to annual average groundwater depth (R = 0.79 and 0.66, respectively). The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) responded to groundwater depth on a 1-year time lag. Although the EWCP improved the NDVI, the study area is still sparsely vegetated. The main limitation of the EWCP is that it can only preserve the survival of existing vegetation, but it does not effectively promote the reproduction and regeneration of natural vegetation.

Keywords

Groundwater depth Vegetative cover NDVI Inland river Arid region 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the Key Project of Chinese National Programs for Fundamental Research and Development (“973” program, grant no. 2010CB951003). Special thanks are owed anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to improve the paper.

References

  1. Ayup, M., Hao, X., Chen, Y., Li, W., & Su, R. (2012). Changes of xylem hydraulic efficiency and n.ative embolism of Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb. seedlings under different drought stress conditions and after rewatering. South African Journal of Botany, 78, 75–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Li, W., & Zhang, H. (2003a). Response of the accumulation of proline in the bodies of Populus euphratica to the change of groundwater level at the lower reaches of Tarim River. Chinese Science Bulletin, 48(18), 1995–1999.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, Y., Li, W., Xu, H., Liu, J. Z., Zhang, H., & Chen, Y. (2003b). The influence of groundwater on vegetation in the lower reaches of Tarim River, China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 58(4), 542–549.Google Scholar
  4. Chen, Y.-P., Chen, Y.-N., Li, W.-H., & Zhang, H.-F. (2004). Analysis on the physiological characteristic of Populus euphratica under drought stress in the lower reaches of Tarim River. Acta Botanica Boreali-Occidentalia Sinica, 24(10), 1943.Google Scholar
  5. Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Li, W., & Xu, C. (2006a). Characterization of photosynthesis of Populus euphratica grown in the arid region. Photosynthetica, 44(4), 622–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen, Y., Wang, Q., Li, W., Ruan, X., Chen, Y., & Zhang, L. (2006b). Rational groundwater table indicated by the eco-physiological parameters of the vegetation: a case study of ecological restoration in the lower reaches of the Tarim River. Chinese Science Bulletin, 51, 8–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Li, W., Liu, J., & Huang, H. (2007). Influence of intermittent water deliveries on the hydrochemistry of soil in the lower Tarim River. Acta Geographica Sinica- Chinese Edition, 62(9), 970.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Xu, C., Ye, Z., Li, Z., Zhu, C., & Ma, X. (2010). Effects of ecological water conveyance on groundwater dynamics and riparian vegetation in the lower reaches of Tarim River, China. Hydrological Processes, 24(2), 170–177.Google Scholar
  9. Chen, Y., Ye, Z., & Shen, Y. (2011). Desiccation of the Tarim River, Xinjiang, China, and mitigation strategy. Quaternary International, 244(2), 264–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, Y., Xu, C., Chen, Y., Liu, Y., & Li, W. (2013). Progress, challenges and prospects of eco-hydrological studies in the Tarim River basin of Xinjiang, China. Environmental Management, 51(1), 138–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eklundha, L., & Jönssonb, P. (2012). TIMESTAT 3.1 software manual. Lund: Lund University.Google Scholar
  12. Fu, A., Chen, Y., & Li, W. (2006). Analysis on water potential of Populus euphratica Oliv and its meaning in the lower reaches of Tarim River, Xinjiang. Chinese Science Bulletin, 51(1), 221–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guo, Z., & Liu, H. (2005). Eco-depth of groundwater table for natural vegetation in inland basin, northwestern China. Journal of Arid Land and Resources and Environment, 19(3), 5.Google Scholar
  14. Hao, X.-M., Chen, Y.-N., & Li, W.-H. (2009). Indicating appropriate groundwater tables for desert river-bank forest at the Tarim River, Xinjiang, China. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 152(1–4), 167–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hao, X., Li, W., Huang, X., Zhu, C., & Ma, J. (2010). Assessment of the groundwater threshold of desert riparian forest vegetation along the middle and lower reaches of the Tarim River, China. Hydrological Processes, 24(2), 178–186.Google Scholar
  16. Hao, X. M., Chen, Y. N., Guo, B., & Ma, J. X. (2012). Hydraulic redistribution of soil water in Populus euphratica Oliv. in a central Asian desert riparian forest. Ecohydrology. doi: 10.1002/eco.1338.Google Scholar
  17. Hou, P., Beeton, R., Carter, R., Dong, X., & Li, X. (2007). Response to environmental flows in the lower Tarim River, Xinjiang, China: ground water. Journal of Environmental Management, 83(4), 371–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huang, T., & Pang, Z. (2010). Changes in groundwater induced by water diversion in the Lower Tarim River, Xinjiang Uygur, NW China: evidence from environmental isotopes and water chemistry. Journal of Hydrology, 387(3), 188–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jönsson, P., & Eklundh, L. (2002). Seasonality extraction by function fitting to time-series of satellite sensor data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 40(8), 1824–1832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jönsson, P., & Eklundh, L. (2004). TIMESAT-a program for analyzing time-series of satellite sensor data. Computers & Geosciences, 30(8), 833–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li, X., & Zhang, X. (2003). Water condition and restoration of natural vegetation in the southern margin of the Taklimakan Desert. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 23(7), 1449–1453.Google Scholar
  22. Li, W., Hao, X., Chen, Y., Zhang, L., Ma, X., & Zhou, H. (2010). Response of groundwater chemical characteristics to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of the Tarim River, Xinjiang, China. Hydrological Processes, 24(2), 187–195.Google Scholar
  23. Liu, Y., & Chen, Y. (2007). Saving the “Green Corridor”: recharging groundwater to restore riparian forest along the lower Tarim River, China. Ecological Restoration, 25(2), 112–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu, J.-Z., Chen, Y.-N., Li, W.-H., & Chen, Y.-P. (2004). Analysis on the distribution and degraded succession of plant communities at lower reaches of Tarim River. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 24(2), 379–383.Google Scholar
  25. Petzold, A., Pfeiffer, T., Jansen, F., Eusemann, P., & Schnittler, M. (2013). Sex ratios and clonal growth in dioecious Populus euphratica Oliv., Xinjiang Prov., Western China. Trees, 27(3), 729–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thevis, N. (2009). The world’s largest euphrasian poplar forest. In Man and the biosphere, 13. Beijing: Wanfang Data.Google Scholar
  27. Thevs, N. (2011). Water scarcity and allocation in the Tarim Basin: decision structures and adaptations on the local level. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 40(3).Google Scholar
  28. Wan, J. (2008). Estimation of groundwater recharge during the ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of Tarim River. Universtiy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi.Google Scholar
  29. Xu, H.-L., Song, Y.-D., & Chen, Y.-N. (2003). Dynamic change of groundwater after ecological water transport at the lower reaches of Tarim River. China Envirommetnal Science- Chinese Edition, 23(3), 327–331.Google Scholar
  30. Xu, J., Chen, Y., Li, W., & Zhang, Y. (2013). The dynamic of groundwater level in the lower reaches of Tarim River affected by transported water from upper reaches. International Journal of Water, 7(1), 66–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ye, Z., Chen, Y., Li, W., & Yan, Y. (2009). Effect of the ecological water conveyance project on environment in the Lower Tarim River, Xinjiang, China. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 149(1–4), 9–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ye, Z., Chen, Y., & Li, W. (2010). Ecological water demand of natural vegetation in the lower Tarim River. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 20(2), 261–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ye, Z., Shen, Y., & Chen, Y. (2012). Multiple methods for calculating minimum ecological flux of the desiccated Lower Tarim River. Western China: Ecohydrology.Google Scholar
  34. Zhao, L., Xiao, H., Cheng, G., Song, Y., Zhao, L., Li, C., & Yang, Q. (2008). A preliminary study of water sources of riparian plants in the lower reaches of the Heihe Basin. Acta Geoscientica Sinica, 29(6), 709–718.Google Scholar
  35. Zhao, W., Chen, Y., Zhou, H., Zhou, X., & Wang, X. (2009). Reproductive ability and relative environment factors of degraded Populus euphratica forest in ecological water delivery project at lower reaches of Tarim River. Journal of Desert Research, 29(1), 108–113.Google Scholar
  36. Zhu, Y., Ren, L., Skaggs, T. H., Lu, H., Yu, Z., Wu, Y., & Fang, X. (2009). Simulation of Populus euphratica root uptake of groundwater in an arid woodland of the Ejina Basin, China. Hydrological Processes, 23, 10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations