Effects of anthropogenic revegetation on the water and carbon cycles of a desert steppe ecosystem

Lingtong Du*, Yijian Zeng, L. Ma, C. Qiao, H. Wu, Z. Su, G. Bao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The anthropogenic revegetation for combating desertification in China has been a long-term strategy that has induced shrub encroachment in desert steppe and regionally notable greening. Although the benefits of reversing desertification, preventing erosion, and providing biomass have been recognized, the effects of anthropogenic revegetation on water and carbon cycles, the critical process of terrestrial ecosystem, are still poorly understood. This study evaluates the effects of anthropogenic revegetation on water and carbon cycles in a typical desert steppe located in Yanchi County, Ningxia Province, Northwest China, by simulating two scenarios of grassland and shrub with the Biome-BGC model. Continuous CO2 and H2O flux measurements from 2016 to 2019 were used to validate the performance of Biome-BGC. Results showed that the anthropogenic revegetation significantly intensified the carbon cycle and increased carbon storages in the ecosystem and transformed the desert steppe ecosystem from a weak carbon source into a strong carbon sink. At the same time, the anthropogenic revegetation critically increased the water consumption of the ecosystem and decreased the soil water storage. The extreme consequence would be that the water resource will exceed the sustainable limit of ecosystems in the context of precipitation as the only water supply. Such undesired outcomes should be given more attention in state and local ecological restoration programs. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108339
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAgricultural and forest meteorology
Volume300
Early online date29 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • anthropogenic revegetation
  • desert steppe, Biome-BGC
  • terrestrial ecosystems
  • water and carbon cycles
  • carbon cycle
  • desertification
  • grassland
  • precipitation (climatology)
  • restoration ecology
  • shrub
  • soil water
  • steppe
  • terrestrial ecosystem
  • water resource
  • China
  • Ningxia Huizu
  • Yanchi
  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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