• Utilizing sediment grain size characteristics to assess the effectiveness of clay–sand barriers in reducing aeolian erosion in Minqin desert area, China

    分类: 农、林、牧、渔 >> 土壤学 提交时间: 2024-05-15 合作期刊: 《干旱区科学》

    摘要: The clay–sand barriers in Minqin desert area, China, represent a pioneering windbreak and sand fixation project with a venerable history of 60 a. However, studies on evaluating the long-term effectiveness of clay–sand barriers against aeolian erosion, particularly from the perspective of surface sediment grain size, are limited and thus insufficient to ascertain the protective impact of these barriers on regional aeolian activities. This study focused on the surface sediments (topsoil of 0–3 cm depth) of clay–sand barriers in Minqin desert area to explain their erosion resistance from the perspective of surface sediment grain size. In March 2023, six clay–sand barrier sampling plots with clay–sand barriers of different deployment durations (1, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 60 a) were selected as experimental plots, and one control sampling plot was set in an adjacent mobile sandy area without sand barriers. Surface sediment samples were collected from the topsoil of each sampling plot in the study area in April 2023 and sediment grain size characteristics were analyzed. Results indicated a predominance of fine and medium sands in the surface sediments of the study area. The deployment of clay–sand barriers cultivated a fine quality in grain size composition of the regional surface sediments, increasing the average contents of very fine sand, silt, and clay by 30.82%, 417.38%, and 381.52%, respectively. This trend became markedly pronounced a decade after the deployment of clay–sand barriers. The effectiveness of clay–sand barriers in erosion resistance was manifested through reduced wind velocity, the interception of sand flow, and the promotion of fine surface sediment particles. Coarser particles such as medium, coarse, and very coarse sands predominantly accumulated on the external side of the barriers, while finer particles such as fine and very fine sands concentrated in the upwind (northwest) region of the barriers. By contrast, the contents of finest particles such as silt and clay were higher in the downwind (southeast) region of the sampling plots. For the study area, the deployment of clay–sand barriers remains one of the most cost-effective engineering solutions for aeolian erosion control, with sediment grain size parameters serving as quantitative indicators for the assessment of these barriers in combating desertification. The results of this study provide a theoretical foundation for the construction of windbreak and sand fixation systems and the optimization of artificial sand control projects in arid desert areas.