Research reveals the implication of oasification in combating desertification and land degradation
Oasification is a complex oasis expansion and ecological processes caused by climate changes and human activities under available water supply in arid and semiarid regions. The process can effectively improve soil productivity, vegetation cover, and biomass production in fighting against land degradation. However, the significance of oasification has not yet reached general cognition.
Dongwei Gui, a researcher from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, identified desertification and oasification processes and their perspectives in cognition. The implication of oasification in combating desertification and controlling land degradation is emphasized by the justification between desertification and oasification processes.
Results show that as opposite process of desertification, oasification is an unable evasive process that can provide positive environmental effects in the control of desertification, ecological restoration, and land rehabilitation.
According to the interaction of climatic variations and human activities, oasification process is classified into six main forms: natural oasis evolution process, engineering forest construction, conversion of natural landforms into farmlands, urban encroachment, constructed environments, and coupled ecosystems. These processes gradually modify the productive capacity of soils, increase vegetation cover for restoring degraded lands, and improve the living environment for human settlement and sustainability of an oasis ecosystem.
“Currently, the oasification process and its mechanistic research still remain less concern in the arid and semiarid regions. We proposed a new science framework of the oasification research to effectively deal with ecological and environmental issues in the arid and semiarid regions. We couldn’t always talking about desertification problems without overview of oasification in arid areas,” said Dongwei Gui.
The research results were published on recent issue of Catena, entitled" Oasification: an unable evasive process in fighting against desertification for the sustainable development of arid and semiarid regions of China ".
Contact: LIU Jie, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography