Advertisement

Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1063–1073 | Cite as

Climatic and human drivers of recent lake-level change in East Juyan Lake, China

  • Shengchun Xiao
  • Xiaomei Peng
  • Quanyan Tian
Original Article

Abstract

Drying of an inland river’s terminal lake in arid regions is an important signal of environmental degradation in downstream regions. A long-term, high-resolution understanding of the lake’s retreat and expansion and the driving mechanisms will inform future adaptive water management strategies, ecosystem restoration, and government decision-making in the context of a growing water scarcity in the inland river basin. The shrubs that grow along the shore of a lake often provide evidence of lake retreat or expansion. The chronological results showed that the earliest germination dates of the lakeshore shrubs, tamarisk, were in 1901, 1943, 1966, 2009, and 1990 from the higher terrace to the lower terrace of East Juyan Lake, a terminal lake of China’s Heihe River. Coupled with river and lake hydrological data, six obvious lake’s fluctuations were identified: shrinkage from 1900 to 1940s and during the early 1990s, expansion and retreat in the late 1950s and early 1970s, continued expansion from 2002 to 2008, and stabilization at a water area of around 40 km2 from 2009 to the present. The water elevation in the 1900s was below 905 m a.s.l., resulting in a water area <80 km2, but decreased to 40 km2 after 1960 and dried up completely by the 1990s. By analysing climatic and hydrological records since 1950, tree-ring climate proxy data, river runoff outside the observation period, and water resource consumption in the middle and lower reaches of the Heihe River, we found that the periodic expansion and retreat of East Juyan Lake was influenced by both climate change and human activities, but especially by human activities. The lake’s recent recovery and stability was achieved by government policy designed to provide environmental flows to the lake.

Keywords

Dendrochronology Lake drying Juyan Lake Heihe River Basin Tamarix ramosissima 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91125026; 41471082) and STS Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-EW-STS-00502).

References

  1. Bai J, Chen X, Li JL, Yang L (2011) Changes of inland lake area in arid central Asia during 1975–2007: a remote-sensing analysis. J Lake Sci 23(1):80–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ballesteros-Cánovas JA, Bodoque JM, Lucía A, Martín-Duque JF, Díez-Herrero A, Ruiz-Villanueva V, Rubiales JM, Genova M (2013) Dendrogeomorphology in badlands: methods, case studies and prospects. Catena 106:113–122. doi: 10.1016/j.catena.2012.08.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Begin Y, Filion L (1995) A recent downward expansion of shoreline shrubs at Lake Bienville (subarctic Quebec). Geomorphology 13:271–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Begin Y, Payette S (1988) Dendroecological evidence of lake level changes during the last three centuries in subarctic Quebec. Quaternary Res 30:210–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benson BE, Atwater BF, Yamaguchi DK (2001) Renewal of tidal forests in Washington State after a subduction earthquake in AD. 1700. Quaternary Res 56:139–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bollati I, Seta MD, Pelfini M, Monte MD, Fredi P, Palmieri EL (2012) Dendrochronological and geomorphological investigations to assess water erosion and mass wasting processes in the Apennines of Southern Tuscany (Italy). Catena 90:1–17. doi: 10.1016/j.catena.2011.11.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapin DM, Paige DK (2013) Response of delta vegetation to water level changes in a regulated mountain lake, Washington State, USA. Wetlands 33:431–444. doi: 10.1007/s13157-013-0401-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheng GD (2009) Study on the integrated management of the water–ecology–economy system of Heihe River Basin. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  9. Ding YJ, Liu SY, Ye BS, Zhao L (2006) Climatic implications on variations of lakes in the cold and arid regions of China during the recent 50 years. J Glaciol Geocryol 28(5):623–632Google Scholar
  10. Downs PW, Simon A (2001) Fluvial geomorphological analysis of the recruitment of large woody debris in the Yalobusha River network, Central Mississippi, USA. Geomorphology 37:65–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Engel EC, Abella SR, Chittick KL (2014) Plant colonization and soil properties on newly exposed shoreline during drawdown of Lake Mead, Mojave Desert. Lake Reserv Manag 30:105–114. doi: 10.1080/10402381.2013.878008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feng Q, Endo KN, Cheng GD (2001) Towards sustainable development of the environmentally degraded arid rivers of China—a case study from Tarim River. Environ Geol 41(1):229–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Florentine SK, Westbrooke ME (2005) Invasion of the noxious weed Nicotiana glauca R. Graham after an episodic flooding event in the arid zone of Australia. J Arid Environ 60:531–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gao QZ, Li FX (1991) Case study of rational development and utilization of water resources in the Heihe River Basin. Gansu Science and Technology Press, LanzhouGoogle Scholar
  15. Guo N, Zhang J, Liang Y (2003) Climate change indicated by the recent change of inland lakes in Northwest China. J Glaciol Geocryol 25(2):211–214Google Scholar
  16. Hu R, Jiang F, Wang Y (2005) Study on the lakes in arid areas of central Asia. Arid Zone Res 22(4):424–430Google Scholar
  17. Huang PY, Gao RR (2004) Research on the extension of Tamarix shrubs resulted from development projects in arid area. J For Res 15(1):45–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huang PY, Yao XL (1991) Study on the expansion and renewal of Tamarix in Gurbantunggut Desert. In: Huang PY (ed) Issue of ecological research in Arid Desert. Xinjiang University Press, Wulumuqi, pp 117–125Google Scholar
  19. Jin HL, Xiao HL, Zhang H, Sun Z (2005) Evolution and climate changes of the Juyan Lake revealed from grain size and geochemistry element since 1500 a BP. J Glaciol Geocryol 27(2):233–240Google Scholar
  20. Kang XC, Cheng GD, Kang ES, Zhang QH (2002) Reconstructed the upper reaches flow of Heihe River by the tree ring records in the last 1000 years. Sci China (D) 32:675–685Google Scholar
  21. Liu MT (1995) Comprehensive research and the widespread application of Tamarix. Lanzhou University Press, LanzhouGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu Y, Sun JY, Song HM (2010) Tree-ring hydrologic reconstructions for the Heihe River watershed, western China since AD 1430. Water Res 44:2781–2792. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.02.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water synthesis. World Resources Institute, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  24. Ren J, Xiao HL, Wang Y, Xiao SC (2012) Valuation of ecosystem service values of Juyan Lake wetland. J Desert Res 32(3):852–856Google Scholar
  25. Rozas V (2003) Tree age estimates in Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur: testing previous and improved methods. Plant Ecol 167:193–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schweingruber FH (1996) Tree rings and environment dendroecology. Paul Haupt, BerneGoogle Scholar
  27. Scott ML, Friedman JM, Auble GT (1996) Fluvial process and the establishment of bottomland trees. Geomorphology 14:327–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Scott ML, Auble GT, Dixon MD, Johnson WC, Rabbe LA (2013) Long-term cottonwood forest dynamics along the upper Missouri River, USA. River Res Appl 29:1016–1029. doi: 10.1002/rra.2588 Google Scholar
  29. Sun J, Liu Y (2013) Drought variations in the middle Qilian Mountains, northeast Tibetan Plateau, over the last 450 years as reconstructed from tree rings. Dendrochronologia 31(4):279–285. doi: 10.1016/j.dendro.2012.07.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Walker LR, Barnes PL, Powell EA (2006) Tamarix aphylla: a newly invasive tree in southern Nevada. West N Am Natl 66:191–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wang T, Ta W, Liu L (2007) Dust emission from desertified lands in the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China. Environ Geol 51:1341–1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilcox DA, Nichols SJ (2008) The effects of water-level fluctuations on vegetation in a Lake Huron wetland. Wetlands 28(2):487–501. doi: 10.1672/07-129.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wiles GC, Barclay DJ, Calkin PE (1999) Tree-ring-dated ‘Little Ice Age’ histories of maritime glaciers from western Prince William Sound, Alaska. Holocene 9:163–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Winchester V, Harrison S (2000) Dendrochronology and lichenometry: colonization, growth rates and dating of geomorphological events on the east side of the North Patagonian Icefield, Chile. Geomorphology 34:181–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Xiao SC, Xiao HL (2008) Advances in the study of the water regime process and driving mechanism in the Heihe River Basin. Adv Earth Sci 23(7):748–755Google Scholar
  36. Xiao SC, Xiao HL, Si JH (2005) Lake level changes recorded by tree rings of lakeshore shrubs: a case study at the Lake West-Juyan, Inner Mongolia, China. J Integr Plant Biol 47(11):1303–1314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xiao SC, Xiao HL, Kobayashi O, Liu PX (2007) Dendroclimatological investigations of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) and reconstruction of the equilibrium line altitude of the July First Glacier in the Western Qilian Mountains, northwestern China. Tree-Ring Res 63(1):15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Xiao SC, Xiao HL, Lan YC, Yang YG (2011) Water issues and the integrated water resources management in Heihe River Basin in recent 50 years. J Glaciol Geocryol 31(2):529–535Google Scholar
  39. Xiao SC, Xiao HL, Dong ZB, Peng XM (2012) Dry/wet variation recorded by shrub tree-rings in the central Badain Jaran Desert of northwestern China. J Arid Environ 87:85–94. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.06.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xiao SC, Xiao HL, Peng XM, Tian QY (2014) Daily and seasonal stem radial activity of Populus euphratica and its association with hydroclimatic factors in the lower reaches of China’s Heihe River Basin. Environ Earth Sci 72:609–621. doi: 10.1007/s12665-013-2982-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xu P, Zhu HF, Shao XM (2012) Tree ring-dated fluctuation history of Midui glacier since the Little Ice Age in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau. Sci China (D) 55:521–529. doi: 10.1007/s11430-011-4338-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yang L, Yue L, Li Z (2008) The influence of dry lakebeds, degraded sandy grasslands and abandoned farmland in the arid inlands of northern China on the grain size distribution of East Asian aeolian dust. Environ Geol 53:1767–1775. doi: 10.1007/s00254-007-0782-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang WW, Shi SS (2002) Study on the relation between groundwater dynamics and vegetation degeneration in Ejina Oasis. J Glaciol Geocryol 24(4):421–425Google Scholar
  44. Zhang ZK, Wang SM, Wu RJ, Wu YH, Qu WC (1998) Environmental changes recorded by lake sediments from East-Juyan Lake in Inner Mongolia during the past 2600 years. J Lake Sci 10(2):44–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhang YC, Yu JJ, Wang P, Fu GB (2011) Vegetation responses to integrated water management in the Ejina basin, northwest China. Hydrol Process 25:3448–3461. doi: 10.1002/hyp.8073 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhang QB, Li ZS, Liu PX, Xiao SC (2012) On the vulnerability of oasis forest to changing environmental conditions: perspectives from tree rings. Landsc Ecol 27:343–353. doi: 10.1007/s10980-011-9685-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)LanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations