Soil salinity development in the Yellow River Delta in relation to groundwater dynamics

Fan Xiaomei, B. Pedroli, Liu Gaohuan, Liu Qingsheng, Liu Hongguang, Shu Longcang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Yellow River Delta occupies an important position in the global ecosystem because of its valuable wetland habitat resources for migratory birds on the Eastern Pacific migration route. However, it has suffered from severe land degradation because of soil salinization. This paper assesses the distribution maps of saline soils during the past two decades, using field observations at three points in time using remote sensing images for the same periods, in combination with spatial models. Soil salinization appears to have expanded from the coastline to inland areas of the Yelow River Delta at a surprising speed during that period. The spatio-temporal dynamics of the groundwater table and total dissolved solids (TDS) during the last 20 years were analyzed using maps based on Kriging interpolation. Kriging helped substantially to improve the accurateness of the predicted values of soil salt content, using a random subsample of the observation points as validation basis. Correlation analysis of the spatial data revealed that the distribution and evolution of saline soils are closely related to the dynamics of groundwater: the aggravation of soil salinization is associated with a rising groundwater table and increasing TDS. Insufficient recharge of the groundwater with fresh surface water due to reduced Yellow River discharge and subsequent seawater intrusion are therefore serious environmental problems in the Yellow River Delta ecosystem
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-189
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • remote-sensing data
  • salt-affected soils
  • salinization
  • indicators
  • vegetation
  • wetland
  • land

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