Ecological restoration and soil improvement performance of the seabuckthorn flexible dam in the Pisha Sandstone area of Northwestern China
F. S. Yang1,2, M. M. Cao1, H. E. Li2, X. H. Wang2, and C. F. Bi31School of Urban and Environment Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an, China 2Key Laboratory of Northwest Water Resources and Environment Ecology of Ministry of Education, Xi'an University of Technology, Xi'an, China 3Bureau of Upper and Middle Reaches of Yellow River, Xi'an, China
Received: 20 Aug 2014 – Accepted for review: 11 Sep 2014 – Discussion started: 24 Sep 2014
Abstract. Soil erosion of the Pisha Sandstone area of Loess Plateau is extremely severe in China. The Pisha Sandstone is very hard when it is dry, while it is very frail when wet. The seabuckthorn flexible dam (SFD), a type of ecological engineering, was proposed to control soil erosion and meliorate soil within the Pisha Sandstone area. To assess its effectiveness and the ecological restoration and soil improvement performance, a field experiment was conducted in this area. We found the strong sediment retention capacity of the SFD is the basis of using it to restore the ecosystem. We compared some certain ecological factors and soil quality between a gully with the SFD and a gully without the SFD, including soil moisture, soil organic matter (SOM), soil nutrients (including Ammonia Nitrogen, available phosphorus and Potassium), vegetation coverage and biodiversity. The results showed that the SFD exhibits excellent performance for ecological restoration and soil improvement of this area. The results are as follows: (i) by the sediment retention action, the deposition commonly occurred in the SFD gully, and the deposition patterns are obviously different from upper to lower gully, (ii) more surprisingly, unlike trees or other shrubs, the seabuckthorn has good horizontal extending capacity by its root system, (iii) soil moisture, SOM, soil nutrients, vegetation coverage and biodiversity in the vegetated gully with the SFD are all markedly increased. The results showed the SFD is both effective and novel biological measure for ecological restoration and soil improvement within the Pisha Sandstone area.
Yang, F. S., Cao, M. M., Li, H. E., Wang, X. H., and Bi, C. F.: Ecological restoration and soil improvement performance of the seabuckthorn flexible dam in the Pisha Sandstone area of Northwestern China, Solid Earth Discuss., 6, 2803-2842, doi:10.5194/sed-6-2803-2014, 2014.