Assess river embankment impact on hydrologic alterations and floodplain vegetation

Xianfeng Huang, Jiao Liu, Zhenxing Zhang, Guohua Fang, Yinqing Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

For watersheds in arid regions, floodplain vegetation is critically important to maintain the ecosystem health and integrity of the watersheds. Hydrological conditions control the development and evolution of floodplain vegetation and ecosystems in these watersheds. River embankment will alter hydrology of the watersheds and result in floodplain vegetation and ecosystem changes. The present study proposes an approach combining onsite hydrologic monitoring, normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) remote sensing imagery and GIS buffer analysis to assess river embankment impact on hydrologic alterations and floodplain vegetation. The approach is applied to the Tarim River watershed in China where a recently constructed embankment along both banks of the river provides an ideal study site for assess the impact of river embankment. The changes of shallow groundwater level, NDVI, and land use before and after constructing the embankment are analyzed. The results demonstrate the shallow groundwater levels decrease and groundwater salinity has been greatly increased. With reduced flood risk, more arable land has been established in the floodplain. Thus, natural vegetation generally decreases within 20 km from the embankment, impacted by both human activities and hydrologic alterations. A comprehensive study of floodplain ecosystem composition and structure change will improve our understanding of the impact of the embankment and hydrologic alterations and is warranted in the future. 2018 Elsevier Ltd
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-379
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume97
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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embankment
floodplains
floodplain
vegetation
rivers
watershed
river
water table
vegetation index
ecosystems
groundwater
ecosystem
watershed hydrology
arable soils
ecosystem health
arid zones
arable land
remote sensing
Vegetation
arid region

Keywords

  • ISWS

Cite this

Assess river embankment impact on hydrologic alterations and floodplain vegetation. / Huang, Xianfeng; Liu, Jiao; Zhang, Zhenxing; Fang, Guohua; Chen, Yinqing.

In: Ecological Indicators, Vol. 97, 2019, p. 372-379.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Huang, Xianfeng ; Liu, Jiao ; Zhang, Zhenxing ; Fang, Guohua ; Chen, Yinqing. / Assess river embankment impact on hydrologic alterations and floodplain vegetation. In: Ecological Indicators. 2019 ; Vol. 97. pp. 372-379.
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AU - Fang, Guohua

AU - Chen, Yinqing

PY - 2019

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AB - For watersheds in arid regions, floodplain vegetation is critically important to maintain the ecosystem health and integrity of the watersheds. Hydrological conditions control the development and evolution of floodplain vegetation and ecosystems in these watersheds. River embankment will alter hydrology of the watersheds and result in floodplain vegetation and ecosystem changes. The present study proposes an approach combining onsite hydrologic monitoring, normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) remote sensing imagery and GIS buffer analysis to assess river embankment impact on hydrologic alterations and floodplain vegetation. The approach is applied to the Tarim River watershed in China where a recently constructed embankment along both banks of the river provides an ideal study site for assess the impact of river embankment. The changes of shallow groundwater level, NDVI, and land use before and after constructing the embankment are analyzed. The results demonstrate the shallow groundwater levels decrease and groundwater salinity has been greatly increased. With reduced flood risk, more arable land has been established in the floodplain. Thus, natural vegetation generally decreases within 20 km from the embankment, impacted by both human activities and hydrologic alterations. A comprehensive study of floodplain ecosystem composition and structure change will improve our understanding of the impact of the embankment and hydrologic alterations and is warranted in the future. 2018 Elsevier Ltd

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