Desertification research in arid and semi-arid regions has always been actively pursued. In China, the problem of desertification in Xinjiang has also received extensive attention. Due to its unique geography, many scholars have conducted corresponding research on the desertification status of Xinjiang. In this paper, we comprehensively reviewed desertification in Xinjiang, and compared the underlying mechanisms of desertification and the status of desertification conditions after the implementation of ecological control projects. On a larger scale, desertification in Xinjiang can be divided into soil salinization inside oases and sandy desertification on the edges of oases. Human activities are considered the main cause of desertification, but natural factors also contribute to varying degrees. Research on the mechanisms of desertification has effectively curbed the development of desertification, but unreasonable use of land resources accelerates the risk of desertification. For desertification control, there are several key points. First, desertification monitoring and the early warning of desertification expansion should be strengthened. Second, monitoring and reversing soil salinization also play an important role in the interruption of desertification process. It is very effective to control soil salinization through biological and chemical methods. Third, the management of water resources is also essential, because unreasonable utilization of water resources is one of the main reasons for the expansion of desertification in Xinjiang. Due to the unreasonable utilization of water resources, the lower reaches of the Tarim River are cut off, which leads to a series of vicious cycles, such as the deterioration of ecological environment on both sides of the river and the worsening of desertification. However, in recent years, various desertification control projects implemented in Xinjiang according to the conditions of different regions have achieved remarkable results. For future studies, research on the stability of desert-oasis transition zone is also significantly essential, because such investigations can help to assess the risk of degradation and control desertification on a relatively large scale.
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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41971017, 41861144020) and the Double Track Implementation Mechanism for Combating Desertification in China and the Experiences-Sharing in the Affected Countries along the Belt and Road Region (ANSO-SBA-2021-06).
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Yu, X., Lei, J. & Gao, X. An over review of desertification in Xinjiang, Northwest China. J. Arid Land 14, 1181–1195 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0077-x
- soil salinization
- sandy desertification
- desertification control
- soil wind erosion
- human activities
- Tarim Basin