Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 323–330 | Cite as

Distribution of ephemeral plants and their significance in dune stabilization in Gurbantunggut Desert

  • Wang Xueqin
  • Jiang Jin
  • Lei Jiaqiang
  • Zhang Weimin
  • Qian Yibing
Eco-environment

Abstract

Based on systematically monitoring plants on dune ridges in the southern part of the Gurbantunggut Desert in 2002, this paper, from the angle of dune stabilization by vegetation, describes the temporal and spatial distribution patterns of ephemeral plants on isolated sand dunes, analyses the natural invasion processes of ephemeral plants on human-disturbed sand surface and expounds the importance of ephemeral plants in stabilizing sand dune surface. A total of 45 plant species were identified in the study area, 29 of which are ephemeral plants. Ephemeral plants sprouted in early April and completed their life-circle within about two months. Just as aeolian sand activities came to the strongest stage from April to June in desert regions of northern Xinjiang, the total coverage of trees, shrubs and herbs of long vegetational period on most dune ridges was less than 10%, while the mean coverage of ephemeral plants reached 13.9% in April, 40.2% in May and 14.1% in June. Therefore ephemeral plants acted as the major contributor to dune surface stabilization in the Gurbantunggut Desert. Investigations of vegetation restoration on engineering-disturbed dune surface show that ephemeral plants first recolonized the disturbed dune surface.

Key words

ephemeral plant temporal and spatial distribution dune surface stabilization Gurbantunggut Desert 

CLC number

Q948 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wang Xueqin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiang Jin
    • 1
  • Lei Jiaqiang
    • 1
  • Zhang Weimin
    • 2
  • Qian Yibing
    • 1
  1. 1.Xinjiang Institute of Ecology & GeographyCASUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Cold and Arid Regions of Environment and Engineering Research InstituteCASLanzhouChina

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