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Eco-environmental evolution, control, and adjustment for Aibi Lake catchment.

  • Qian, Yibing
  • Wu, Zhaoning
  • Zhang, Liyun
  • Zhou, Huarong
  • Wu, Shixin
  • Yang, Qing
Published Article
Environmental management
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2005
PMID: 16151653


Aibi Lake in north Xinjiang is a typical lake of the arid area, but with a peculiar wetland-arid area ecosystem. Due to the climate becoming drier and the disturbance of human activities, the eco-environment of Aibi Lake catchment has degraded. It was found in our study that there were spatial-temporal changes of vegetation cover, plant species, and soil physical and chemical properties in the catchment. In the upper section of alluvial-fluvial plains, the desertified steppe of Stipa and Artemisia spp. is developed with vegetation cover of some 50%. Haloxylon ammodendron desert occupies the lower section with vegetation cover of some 60%. In these regions with an intensive human disturbance, vegetation has degraded into herb vegetation of annual plant complexes. On the margins of the alluvial-fluvial fans, the lakeshore, and the surrounding regions where the river mouths join the lake, different azonal vegetation-Phragmites communis marsh, Phragmites communis meadow, and Tamarix shrubs-have developed with a vegetation cover of some 80%. On heavier, salinized land, succulent halophyte desert vegetation dominated by Halocnemum strobilaceum has formed with a fractional canopy cover of 10-15%. Haloxylon persicum, Aristida pennata, and other species with a vegetation cover of 30-50% grow in the sand desert zone on the periphery in the lake. In contrast with the 1950s, the vegetation cover around the lakebed and at the river deltas has slightly increased; however, the vegetation cover around the periphery of the lake has decreased and the plant species have still degraded. The surface soils on the windward area and the dried lakebed that have lost vegetation protection have become coarser, whereas the land on the leeward side of the lake has accumulated fine particles. In contrast with the 1980s, soil organic matter has declined markedly. The analyses of climatic data show that the number of days of drifting dust in Jinghe County and Bole City increased in the last 20 years. In the investigation, we found that intensively developed land, the bare lakebed, and abandoned cultivated land provided a great deal of material for drifting dust. In conclusion, we consider the eco-environmental degradation resulting from the inappropriate human activities and put forward recommendations for land-use adjustment and dust control.

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