Changes in wind erosion over a 25-year restoration chronosequence on the south edge of the Tengger Desert, China: implications for preventing desertification

Quanlin Ma, Jeffrey Fehmi, Dekui Zhang, Baoli Fan, Fang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wind erosion is a primary cause of desertification as well as being a serious ecological problem in arid and semi-arid areas across the world. To determine mechanisms for restoring desertified lands, an unrestored shifting sand dune and three formerly shifting sand dunes (desertified lands) that had been enclosed and afforested for 5, 15, and 25 years were selected for evaluation on the south edge of the Tengger Desert, China. Based on sampling heights between 0.2 and 3 m, the critical threshold average wind speed was 6.5 m s−1 at 2 m where the sand transport rate was reduced from 285.9 kg m−2 h−1 on the unrestored dunes to 9.1 and 1.8 kg m−2 h−1 on the sites afforested and enclosed for 5 and 15 years, respectively. The percentage of wind eroded area was reduced from 99.9% on the unrestored dune to 94.5, 9.0, and 0.5% on the sites afforested and enclosed for 5, 15, and 25 years, respectively. Wind erosion was effectively reduced after 15 years. Although there were different driving factors for wind erosion mitigation on the different restoration stages, an increase in the vegetation cover, surface roughness, soil shear strength, soil clay content, organic matter, and reduction in the near-surface wind speed were the primary variables associated with the restoration chronosequence. We conclude that reducing the wind speed and developing a biological crust through vegetation restoration were the critical components for restoration of desertified land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number463
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume189
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Keywords

  • Afforestation
  • Desertified land
  • Hedysarum scoparium
  • Sand transport rate
  • Sand-binding vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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