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Frontiers of Earth Science

Front. Earth Sci.    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (2) : 430-443     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11707-018-0715-y
RESEARCH ARTICLE |
Vegetation and soil wind erosion dynamics of sandstorm control programs in the agro-pastoral transitional zone of northern China
Zhitao WU1(), Mingyue WANG1, Hong ZHANG1,2, Ziqiang DU1
1. Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
2. College of Environmental & Resource Sciences, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
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Abstract

To combat soil erosion and desertification, large-scale sandstorm control programs have been put in place since 2000 in the agro-pastoral transitional zone of northern China. Vegetation dynamics as well as soil wind erosion control effects are very important for assessing the ecological success of sandstorm control programs in China. However, no comprehensive evaluation of vegetation dynamics and soil wind erosion control effects in this region has been achieved. In this study, we illustrate the vegetation and soil wind erosion dynamics of sandstorm control programs in the northern Shanxi Province using remote sensing data and soil wind erosion models. There was a significant increase in vegetation cover for 63.59% of the study area from 2001 to 2014 and a significant decrease for 2.00% of the study area. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) showed that the largest increase occurred in autumn. Soil wind erosion mass decreased from 20.90 million tons in 2001 to 7.65 million tons in 2014. Compared with 2001, the soil wind erosion moduli were reduced by 43.05%, 36.16%, and 62.66% in 2005, 2010, and 2014, respectively. Spatially, soil wind erosion in most of the study area was alleviated between 2001 and 2014. The relationship between NDVI and soil wind erosion mass showed that the increased vegetation coverage reduced the soil wind erosion mass. In addition, wind was the main driving force behind the soil wind erosion dynamics. The results indicate that the vegetation coverage has increased and soil wind erosion mass has been reduced following the implementation of the sandstorm control programs. However, the ecological effects of the sandstorm control programs may vary over different periods. While the programs appear to be beneficial in the short term, there may be unintended consequences in the long term. Research on the sustainability of the ecological benefits of sandstorm control programs needs to be conducted in the future.

Keywords NDVI      soil wind erosion      ecological effects      ecological restoration program      northern Shanxi Province     
Corresponding Authors: Zhitao WU   
Just Accepted Date: 10 January 2019   Online First Date: 01 March 2019    Issue Date: 16 May 2019
 Cite this article:   
Zhitao WU,Mingyue WANG,Hong ZHANG, et al. Vegetation and soil wind erosion dynamics of sandstorm control programs in the agro-pastoral transitional zone of northern China[J]. Front. Earth Sci., 2019, 13(2): 430-443.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fesci/EN/10.1007/s11707-018-0715-y
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fesci/EN/Y2019/V13/I2/430
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Zhitao WU
Mingyue WANG
Hong ZHANG
Ziqiang DU
Fig.1  Location of the study area.
Vegetation coverage/% Mean vegetation coverage/% Wind tunnel
wind velocity/(m·s?1)
Meteorological station
wind velocity/(m·s?1)
Uj=1/(m·s?1)
Range Average
0?5 2.5 7.30 8.20 8?9 8.5
5?10 7.5 7.54 8.47 8?9 8.5
10?20 15.0 7.97 8.95 8?9 8.2
20?30 25.0 8.68 9.75 9?10 9.5
30?40 35.0 9.60 9.60 10?11 10.5
40?50 45.0 10.79 10.79 12?13 12.5
50?60 55.0 12.33 12.33 13?14 13.5
60?70 65.0 14.03 14.03 15?16 15.5
Tab.1  Wind velocity leading to soil wind erosion for different vegetation coverage levels
Year Wind/(m·s?1) Cumulative hours of wind
Yanggao Datong Hunyuan Huairen Youyu Pianguan Shuochen Wuzhai Daixian Fanshi
2005 5?6 421 394 244 332 321 130 246 278 315 197
6?7 215 257 142 180 201 62 149 217 142 89
7?8 109 121 91 131 107 5 101 115 76 56
8?9 35 75 47 68 63 1 44 67 37 17
9?10 11 26 27 14 26 0 16 33 19 5
10?11 1 3 3 4 9 0 2 12 9 3
11?12 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 4 2 1
12?13 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
13?14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
14?15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
15?16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 5?6 394 467 468 280 352 161 231 468 286 206
6?7 181 312 240 134 218 53 169 240 127 105
7?8 90 174 100 61 131 15 66 100 61 32
8?9 39 83 60 33 58 5 38 60 36 14
9?10 15 32 26 15 20 3 7 26 18 3
10?11 9 11 12 6 7 0 3 12 10 2
11?12 4 6 5 4 2 0 0 5 1 0
12?13 1 2 3 5 2 0 2 3 3 0
13?14 2 1 2 3 2 0 1 2 1 0
14?15 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
15?16 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
Tab.2  Cumulative hours of wind for meteorological stations at different level from January to December (except July, August, and September) in 2005 and 2010
Fig.2  Spatial patterns of the cumulative time of wind at different levels from January to December (except July, August, and September) in 2005 in the northern Shanxi Province (min).
Level Wind erosion modulus/(t·hm?2·yr?1)
Micro <2
Mild 2?25
Moderate 25?50
Strength 50?80
Strong 80?150
Severe >150
Tab.3  Classification of soil erosion intensity
Fig.3  Interannual variation in seasonal and annual NDVI in the northern Shanxi Province from 2000 to 2014.
Season Mean±SD Trend per year Relative increase/%
Spring 0.20±0.0158 0.0028 21.00
Summer 0.47±0.0501 0.0068 21.70
Autumn 0.32±0.0235 0.0047 22.03
Annual 0.29±0.0208 0.0035 18.10
Tab.4  Mean value, trend, and relative increase rate of annual and seasonal NDVI
Fig.4  Spatial patterns of NDVI trends for each grid cell for (a) spring (Mar.?May), (b) summer (Jun.?Aug.), (c) autumn (Sept.?Nov.), and (d) annually (Jan.?Dec.) over the period 2000?2014 in northern Shanxi Province.
Season Significant increase/% Non-significant increase/% Non-significant decrease/% Significant decrease/%
Spring 66.13 26.42 6.64 0.81
Summer 49.22 43.27 6.09 1.42
Autumn 67.03 25.80 5.93 1.24
Annual 63.59 27.99 6.42 2.00
Tab.5  Percentage of NDVI increase/decrease at 0.95 confidence levels for the year and different seasons in northern Shanxi Province
Fig.5  Interannual variations in soil wind erosion mass and modulus in 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2014.
Fig.6  Spatial distribution of soil wind erosion modulus for 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2014 in the northern Shanxi Province.
Year No wind erosion Micro Mild
2001 3.66 19.88 76.47
2005 3.66 52.48 43.86
2010 5.28 53.13 41.59
2014 5.28 53.48 41.24
Tab.6  Area percentage of soil wind erosion degrees areas for 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2014 in northern Shanxi Province (%)
Fig.7  Spatial distribution of vegetation coverage in 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2014.
Fig.8  (a) Spatial patterns of cumulative wind hour (≥5 m·s?1) and (b) the mean of soil wind erosion modulus over 4 years.
Fig.9  (a) Interannual variations of soil wind erosion mass and cumulative wind hours and (b) the different levels of wind velocity cumulative hours in 4 years.
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