An interplay of soil salinization and groundwater degradation threatening coexistence of oasis-desert ecosystems

Yin, Xinwei and Feng, Qi and Li, Yan ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4694-4926 and Deo, Ravinesh C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2290-6749 and Liu, Wei and Zhu, Meng and Zheng, Xinjun and Liu, Ran (2022) An interplay of soil salinization and groundwater degradation threatening coexistence of oasis-desert ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment, 806 (2):150599. pp. 1-20. ISSN 0048-9697


Abstract

In salt-affected and groundwater-fed oasis-desert systems, water and salt balance is critically important for stable coexistence of oasis-desert ecosystems, especially in the context of anthropogenic-induced over-development and perturbations due to climate variability that affects the sustainability of human-natural systems. Here, an investigation of the spatio-temporal variability of soil salinity and groundwater dynamics across four different hydrological regions in oasis-desert system is performed. An evaluation of the effects of soil salinization and groundwater degradation interplays on the coexistence of oasis-desert ecosystems in northwestern China is undertaken over 1995–2020, utilizing comprehensive measurements and ecohydrological modelling framework. We note that the process of salt migration and accumulation across different landscapes in oasis-desert system is reshaping, with soil salinization accelerating especially in water-saving agricultural irrigated lands. The continuous decline in groundwater tables, dramatic shifts in groundwater flow patterns and significant degradation of groundwater quality are occurring throughout the watershed. Worse so, a clear temporal-spatial relationship between soil salinization and groundwater degradation appearing to exacerbate the regional water-salt imbalance. Also, the eco-environmental flows are reaching to their limit with watershed closures, although these progressions were largely hidden by regional precipitation and streamflow variability. The oasis-desert ecosystems tend to display bistable dynamics with two preferential configurations of bare and vegetated soils, and soil salinization and groundwater degradation interplays are causing catastrophic shift in the oasis-desert ecosystems. The results highlight the importance of regional adaptive water and salt management to maintain the coexistence of oasis-desert ecosystems in arid areas.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2021 05:09
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 05:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: oasis-desert ecosystems; soil salinization; groundwater dynamics; interplay; adaptive water-salt management
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1899 Other environmental management > 189999 Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150599
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/43850

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