Ecological Research

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 523–535 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal patterns of grassland evapotranspiration and water use efficiency in arid areas

  • Xiaotao Huang
  • Geping Luo
  • Nana Lv
Original Article


Understanding spatio-temporal patterns of grassland evapotranspiration (ET) and water use efficiency (WUE) in arid areas is important for livestock production and ecological conservation. Xinjiang, China, was used as an example in the Biome-BGC model to explore spatio-temporal patterns of grassland ET and WUE from 1979 to 2012 in arid areas. The ET ranked from high to low as follows: among seasons, summer (142.4 mm), spring (49.7 mm), autumn (45.9 mm) and winter (7.7 mm); among regions, the Tianshan Mountains (357.9 mm), northern Xinjiang (221.3 mm) and southern Xinjiang (183.2 mm); among grassland types, mid-mountain meadow (387.7 mm), swamp meadow (358.3 mm), typical grassland (343.9 mm), desert grassland (236.2 mm), alpine meadow (229.7 mm), and saline meadow (154.7 mm). The WUE ranked from high to low as follows: among seasons, summer (0.60 g C kg H2O−1), autumn (0.48 g C kg H2O−1) and spring (0.43 g C kg H2O−1); among regions, northern Xinjiang (0.73 g C kg H2O−1), the Tianshan Mountains (0.69 g C kg H2O−1) and southern Xinjiang (0.26 g C kg H2O−1); among grassland types, mid-mountain meadow (0.86 g C kg H2O−1), typical grassland (0.84 g C kg H2O−1), swamp meadow (0.77 g C kg H2O−1), saline meadow (0.52 g C kg H2O−1), alpine grassland (0.37 g C kg H2O−1) and desert grassland (0.34 g C kg H2O−1). In Xinjiang grasslands, the spatio-temporal ET patterns were more strongly influenced by precipitation than by temperature, whereas most high WUE values occurred when precipitation and temperature were relatively conducive to grass growth.


Evapotranspiration Water use efficiency Arid area Biome-BGC Spatio-temporal pattern 



This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 4127126), the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB460603) and the Project of the State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology (Grant No. Y471163).


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.School of Resources & Environmental Science Xinjiang UniversityUrumqiChina

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