Next Article in Journal
Time-Spatial Convergence of Air Pollution and Regional Economic Growth in China
Next Article in Special Issue
Status of Underutilised Crops in South Africa: Opportunities for Developing Research Capacity
Previous Article in Journal
Estimating the Contribution of New Seed Cultivars to Increases in Crop Yields: A Case Study for Corn
Previous Article in Special Issue
Mapping the Soil Texture in the Heihe River Basin Based on Fuzzy Logic and Data Fusion
Article Menu
Issue 7 (July) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1283; doi:10.3390/su9071283

Ancient Irrigation Canals Mapped from Corona Imageries and Their Implications in Juyan Oasis along the Silk Road

1,2
,
2,3,* , 4
and
1
1
School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China
2
Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
3
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 23 July 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5297 KB, uploaded 23 July 2017]   |  

Abstract

Historical records and archaeological discoveries have shown that prosperous agricultural activities developed in the ancient Juyan Oasis of northwestern China, an important oasis that once flourished on the ancient Silk Road. However, how the irrigation canals were distributed in historical time was unknown. Here, we identified and mapped the spatial distribution of ancient abandoned irrigation canals that were built using CORONA photographs and field inspections. This work found that ancient irrigation canals are large-scale and distributed throughout the desertified environment, with three hierarchical organization of first-, second-, and third-order irrigation canals (the total length of the first- and second-order-irrigation canals is dramatically more than 392 km). This study further indicates that ancient irrigation methods and modern irrigation systems in arid regions of China share the same basic irrigation design. New visual and fine-scale evidence and spatial distribution of irrigation canals are provided to illustrate the development of the ancient irrigated agriculture that occurred in the Juyan Oasis. This work is useful for readers who are interested in the construction and organization approaches of irrigation canals used in ancient irrigated agriculture in arid regions. It also has implications for how ancient people balance the relationships between human needs and the eco-environment using reasonable water management methods, especially for decision-making in the efficient usage of limited water resources in the arid inland river basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: irrigation canal; agriculture; CORONA; archaeology; remote sensing irrigation canal; agriculture; CORONA; archaeology; remote sensing
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Hu, N.; Li, X.; Luo, L.; Zhang, L. Ancient Irrigation Canals Mapped from Corona Imageries and Their Implications in Juyan Oasis along the Silk Road. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1283.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top