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Water 2015, 7(10), 5657-5675; doi:10.3390/w7105657

Quantification of Environmental Flow Requirements to Support Ecosystem Services of Oasis Areas: A Case Study in Tarim Basin, Northwest China

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1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, Xinjiang, China
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Cele National Station of Observation and Research for Desert-Grassland Ecosystems, Qira 848300, Xinjiang, China
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Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Zone, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, Xinjiang, China
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University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and the Agri-Environment in Northwest China, Ministry of Agriculture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
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College of Mathematics and System Sciences, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046, Xinjiang, China
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Magaly Koch
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 1 October 2015 / Accepted: 12 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources Assessment and Management in Drylands)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2750 KB, uploaded 19 October 2015]   |  

Abstract

Recently, a wide range of quantitative research on the identification of environmental flow requirements (EFRs) has been conducted. However, little focus is given to EFRs to maintain multiple ecosystem services in oasis areas. The present study quantifies the EFRs in oasis areas of Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, Northwest China on the basis of three ecosystem services: (1) maintenance of riverine ecosystem health, (2) assurance of the stability of oasis–desert ecotone and riparian (Tugai) forests, and (3) restoration of oasis–desert ecotone groundwater. The identified consumptive and non-consumptive water requirements are used to quantify and determine the EFRs in Qira oasis by employing the summation and compatibility rules (maximum principle). Results indicate that the annual maximum, medium, and minimum EFRs are 0.752 × 108, 0.619 × 108, and 0.516 × 108 m3, respectively, which account for 58.75%, 48.36%, and 40.29% of the natural river runoff. The months between April and October are identified as the most important periods to maintain the EFRs. Moreover, the water requirement for groundwater restoration of the oasis–desert ecotone accounts for a large proportion, representing 48.27%, 42.32%, and 37.03% of the total EFRs at maximum, medium, and minimum levels, respectively. Therefore, to allocate the integrated EFRs, focus should be placed on the water demand of the desert vegetation’s groundwater restoration, which is crucial for maintaining desert vegetation to prevent sandstorms and soil erosion. This work provides a reference to quantify the EFRs of oasis areas in arid regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental flow requirements; ecosystem services; Qira oasis; arid areas; Northwest China environmental flow requirements; ecosystem services; Qira oasis; arid areas; Northwest China
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).

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Xue, J.; Gui, D.; Zhao, Y.; Lei, J.; Feng, X.; Zeng, F.; Zhou, J.; Mao, D. Quantification of Environmental Flow Requirements to Support Ecosystem Services of Oasis Areas: A Case Study in Tarim Basin, Northwest China. Water 2015, 7, 5657-5675.

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