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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-80
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-80
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Apr 2020

20 Apr 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Assessing ecosystem services under water stress in the largest inland river basin in China based on hydro-ecological modeling

Yang Yu1,2, Markus Disse3, Philipp Huttner3, Xi Chen4, Andreas Brieden5, Marie Hinnenthal5, Haiyan Zhang1, Jiaqiang Lei1, Fanjiang Zeng2, Lingxiao Sun6, Yuting Gao6, and Ruide Yu1,7 Yang Yu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
  • 2Cele National Station of Observation and Research for Desert-Grassland Ecosystem, Cele 848300, China
  • 3Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management, Technical University of Munich, Munich 80333, Germany
  • 4Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, Xinjiang, China
  • 5Chair of Statistics and Risk Management, Universitaet der Bundeswehr Muenchen, Neubiberg D-85577, Germany
  • 6University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 7School of Environment and Material Science, Yantai University, Yan Tai 264005, China

Abstract. Ecological changes in arid lands are often determined by the available water resources. For ecological protection, it is important to consider both hydrological and ecological processes. This paper presents a modeling approach to assess environmental changes and ecosystem services (ESS) in the largest inland river basin in China. Current water cycle and ecosystem protection measures were simulated, and future land use change scenarios were proposed accordingly. China is on the frontline of ecosystem protection and afforestation, but according to the simulation results, the available water resources cannot support more vegetation in its largest inland river basin. Without an additional water supply, 25.9 % of the existing area of natural vegetation will be degraded by 2050. A reduction in the area of cotton plantation did not substantially reduce farming incomes in the simulation. Drip irrigation and ecological flooding was effective for improving ESS, especially agricultural provisioning and riparian forest provisioning services, as well as regulating and supporting services. The assessment of ESS can achieve socio-economic and ecological benefits in a sustainable way, and also enable the impact of the complex environmental factors to be understood. The results can be used to evaluate current situations and develop creative solutions.

Yang Yu et al.

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Yang Yu et al.

Yang Yu et al.

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Short summary
The afforestation actions in China have attracted widely attention in recent years. This paper presents a hydro-ecological modeling approach to assess environmental changes and ecosystem services in the largest inland river basin in China. Our result indicates China's tree-planting in the Tarim River Basin is strictly strained by water stress and 25.9 % of the existing area of natural vegetation will be degraded by 2050. It is a warning for decision-makers and stakeholders.
The afforestation actions in China have attracted widely attention in recent years. This paper...
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