Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 749–760 | Cite as

Vitality variation and population structure of a riparian forest in the lower reaches of the Tarim River, NW China

  • Maierdang Keyimu
  • Ümüt Halik
  • Florian Betz
  • Choimaa Dulamsuren
Original Paper


Since 2000, the Chinese government has implemented emergency water diversion measures to restore the damaged riparian forest ecosystem with dominant tree species Euphrat poplar (Populus euphratica Oliv.) at the lower reaches of the Tarim River. In the present study, comparative analysis of variations in the vitality of P. euphratica trees were made using 2005 and 2010 data to illustrate the revitalization process of riparian forest. Poplar trees within 300 m of the riverbed were positively revitalized, while the vitality of trees farther than 300 m from the river decreased. Population structure was studied to demonstrate the development of poplar community. In the first belt, the class structure for the diameter at breast height (DBH) of P. euphratica fit a logistic model, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th belt curve fittings were close to a Gaussian model; in other plots they were bimodal. Cluster analysis of the composition of the DBH class of poplar trees demonstrated that those within 16–36 cm DBH were the most abundant (58.49% of total) in study area, under 16 cm of DBH were second (31.36%), and trees >40 cm DBH were the least abundant (10.15%). More than 80% of the trees were young and medium-sized, which means that the poplar forest community in the vicinity of the lower Tarim River is at a stable developmental stage. The abundance of juvenile trees of P. euphratica in the first and second measuring belts was 12.13% in 2005 and increased to 25.52% in 2010, which means that the emergency water transfer had a positive impact on the generation of young P. euphratica trees in the vicinity of the river.


Lower Tarim River Riparian forest ecosystem Populus euphratica Vitality Population structure Diameter at breast height 



This research work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos: 31360200, 31270742) and the German Volkswagen Foundation within the framework of EcoCAR project (Az.: 88497). We express our gratitude toward Prof. Dr. Alishir Kurban, Dr. Tayierjiang Aishan, Dr. Abdulla Abliz, Dr. Aliya Baidourela and Ms. Gulpiye Omer from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xinjiang University for their dedication during the fieldwork. In addition, we thank the Tarim River Basin Administration Bureau for providing hydrological data and the Forestry Department of Qarkilik (Ruoqiang) for logistical support during our fieldwork in Arghan. We also thank the editors and anonymous reviewers who helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maierdang Keyimu
    • 1
  • Ümüt Halik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Florian Betz
    • 2
  • Choimaa Dulamsuren
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, College of Resources and Environmental ScienceXinjiang UniversityÜrümqiChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Mathematics and GeographyCatholic University of Eichstätt-IngolstadtEichstättGermany
  3. 3.Department of Plant Ecology and Ecosystems Research, Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant SciencesGeorg August University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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