Environmental Geology

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 1057–1064

Aeolian desertification from the mid-1970s to 2005 in Otindag Sandy Land, Northern China

Original Article


Aeolian desertification in Otindag Sandy Land has expanded dramatically during the past 50 years. This research explored processes and causes of aeolian desertification in the study area. The results showed that aeolian desertification development in Zhenglan Qi of typical region located at the center in the study area can be divided into three stages including rapid occurrence before 1987, parts of rehabilitation and most of deterioration from 1987 to 2000 and little rapid rehabilitation occurrence from 2000 to 2005, according to remote sensing images and field investigations. Gradually declining MI indicated that climate change was not the major cause of aeolian desertification development during the last 40 years, while increasing population should be the underlying cause of local aeolian desertification. Irrational human activities mainly including unsuitable reclamation in the 1960s and lasting over-grazing after 1980 are direct causes contributing to local aeolian desertification, especially over-grazing, while climate change often played a revealer of irrational human activities mainly through drought events. Over-grazing and undesirable climate have different functions during the whole aeolian desertification process. Over-grazing gradually changed grasslands to slight aeolian desertified lands at the initial stage, while climate with windy days or droughts often accelerated formation of serious aeolian desertified lands. Aeolian desertification in the study area both possesses occurrence possibility and great rehabilitative potential. At present, more integrated countermeasures combating local aeolian desertification still are expected.


Aeolian desertification Climate change Human activities Reclamation Over-grazing Otindag Sandy Land 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Institute of Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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