|Land use/cover change (LUCC) is becoming more and more frequent and extensive as a result of human activities, and is expected to have a major impact on human welfare by altering ecosystem service value (ESV). In this study, we utilized remote sensing images and statistical data to explore the spatial-temporal changes of land use/cover types and ESV in the northern slope economic belt of the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China from 1975 to 2018. During the study period, LUCC in the study region varied significantly. Except grassland and unused land, all the other land use/cover types (cultivated land, forestland, waterbody, and construction land) increased in areas. From 1975 to 2018, the spatial-temporal variations in ESV were also pronounced. The total ESV decreased by 4.00×108 CNY, which was primarily due to the reductions in the areas of grassland and unused land. Waterbody had a much higher ESV than the other land use/cover types. Ultimately, understanding the impact of LUCC on ESV and the interactions among ESV of different land use/cover types will help improve existing land use policies and provide scientific basis for developing new conservation strategies for ecologically fragile areas.|
|Central Asia is located in the hinterland of Eurasia, comprising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan; over 93.00% of the total area is dryland. Temperature rise and human activities have severe impacts on the fragile ecosystems. Since the 1970s, nearly half the great lakes in Central Asia have shrunk and rivers are drying rapidly owing to climate changes and human activities. Water shortage and ecological crisis have attracted extensive international attention. In general, ecosystem services in Central Asia are declining, particularly with respect to biodiversity, water, and soil conservation. Furthermore, the annual average temperature and annual precipitation in Central Asia increased by 0.30°C/decade and 6.9 mm/decade in recent decades, respectively. Temperature rise significantly affected glacier retreat in the Tianshan Mountains and Pamir Mountains, which may intensify water shortage in the 21st century. The increase in precipitation cannot counterbalance the aggravation of water shortage caused by the temperature rise and human activities in Central Asia. The population of Central Asia is growing gradually, and its economy is increasing steadily. Moreover, the agricultural land has not been expended in the last two decades. Thus, water and ecological crises, such as the Aral Sea shrinkage in the 21st century, cannot be attributed to agriculture extension any longer. Unbalanced regional development and water interception/transfer have led to the irrational exploitation of water resources in some watersheds, inducing downstream water shortage and ecological degradation. In addition, accelerated industrialization and urbanization have intensified this process. Therefore, all Central Asian countries must urgently reach a consensus and adopt common measures for water and ecological protection.|
|Savanna woodlands in Sudan host great biodiversity, provide a plethora of ecosystem goods and services to local communities, and sustain numerous ecological functions. Although the importance of the Acacia trees in these areas is well known, up-to-date information about these woodlands' diversity is limited and changes in their woody vegetation composition, density, diversity and relative frequency are not monitored over time. This study explored tree diversity and stand stage structure in Nuara Reserved Forest, a typical savanna woodland ecosystem in southeastern Sudan. A total of 638 circular sample plots (1000 m2 for each) were established using a systematic sampling grid method. The distance between plots was 200 m. In each plot, all living trees with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥5.00 cm were identified and counted, and their DBH values were recorded. From these data, tree composition, diversity, density and stage structure were assessed. There were 12,259 individual trees representing four species (Acacia seyal, Balanites aegyptiaca, Acacia Senegal and Acacia mellifera) that belong to two families. The dominant species was Acacia seyal. Average tree density was 191 trees/hm2 and the Shannon-Weiner index for trees diversity was 0.204. Overall, young trees comprised 86.30% of the forest. The state of tree richness and density in the study area was low compared to other similar environments in the region and around the world. We recommended adoption of a proper management system that includes monitoring of woody vegetation diversity in this forest, and management actions to enhance tree diversity and sustain ecosystem services to local communities. In addition to care for the dominant Acacia seyal stands, more attention and conservation should be devoted to reestablishing Acacia senegal and Acacia mellifera trees because of their high ecological and economic values for local communities.|
|Hydrological models are often linked with other models in cognate sciences to understand the interactions among climate, earth, water, ecosystem, and human society. This paper presents the development and implementation of a decision support system (DSS) that links the outputs of hydrological models with real-time decision making on social-economic assessments and land use management. Discharge and glacier geometry changes were simulated with hydrological model, water availability in semi-arid environments. Irrigation and ecological water were simulated by a new commercial software MIKE HYDRO. Groundwater was simulated by MODFLOW. All the outputs of theses hydrological models were taken as inputs into the DSS in three types of links: regression equations, stationary data inputs, or dynamic data inputs as the models running parallel in the simulation periods. The DSS integrates the hydrological data, geographic data, social and economic statistical data, and establishes the relationships with equations, conditional statements and fuzzy logics. The programming is realized in C++. The DSS has four remarkable features: (1) editable land use maps to assist decision-making; (2) conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources; (3) interactions among water, earth, ecosystem, and humans; and (4) links with hydrological models. The overall goal of the DSS is to combine the outputs of scientific models, knowledge of experts, and perspectives of stakeholders, into a computer-based system, which allows sustainability impact assessment within regional planning; and to understand ecosystem services and integrate them into land and water management.|
The effect of a transition from grassland to second-generation (2G) bioenergy on soil carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) balance is uncertain, with limited empirical data on which to validate landscape-scale models, sustainability criteria and energy policies. Here, we quantified soil carbon, soil GHG emissions and whole ecosystem carbon balance for short rotation coppice (SRC) bioenergy willow and a paired grassland site, both planted at commercial scale. We quantified the carbon balance for a 2-year period and captured the effects of a commercial harvest in the SRC willow at the end of the first cycle. Soil fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) did not contribute significantly to the GHG balance of these land uses. Soil respiration was lower in SRC willow (912 ± 42 g C m−2 yr−1) than in grassland (1522 ± 39 g C m−2 yr−1). Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) reflected this with the grassland a net source of carbon with mean NEE of 119 ± 10 g C m−2 yr−1 and SRC willow a net sink, −620 ± 18 g C m−2 yr−1. When carbon removed from the ecosystem in harvested products was considered (Net Biome Productivity), SRC willow remained a net sink (221 ± 66 g C m−2 yr−1). Despite the SRC willow site being a net sink for carbon, soil carbon stocks (0–30 cm) were higher under the grassland. There was a larger NEE and increase in ecosystem respiration in the SRC willow after harvest; however, the site still remained a carbon sink. Our results indicate that once established, significant carbon savings are likely in SRC willow compared with the minimally managed grassland at this site. Although these observed impacts may be site and management dependent, they provide evidence that land-use transition to 2G bioenergy has potential to provide a significant improvement on the ecosystem service of climate regulation relative to grassland systems.