The Science of the total environment | 12 Aug 2017
X Wu, W Dong, X Lin, Y Liang, Y Meng and W Xie
There is wide concern about the evolution of wetlands, an important component of the global ecosystem. The Honghe National Nature Reserve (HNNR) is an internationally important marsh wetland in China that is at risk of degradation. To gain an improved understanding of how the HNNR wetland developed from 1975 to 2014, typical years, including 1975, 1988, 1996, 2002 and 2014, were selected based on precipitation date. And land cover types of the different years were classified using TM images. The results showed that the wetland evolution mainly reflects transformations between the meadow and wetland land cover types. The landscape index suggests the wetland is degrading. The main drivers of wetland evolution were a warmer and drier climate, the establishment of an irrigation system, and a decrease in the groundwater level. These factors resulted in changes in the quantity of water in the HNNR. We can therefore say that the evolution was driven by changes in the water quantity. Because there have been very few hydrogeological studies in the HNNR, we examined the relationships among precipitation, surface water, and groundwater, all of which significantly influence water quantity. We found that precipitation was the only source of surface water and, while there was certain amount of surface water recharge into the shallow groundwater, the recharge range was limited, which increased the vulnerability of the wetlands. Thus, it is difficult to recharge surface water but easy to lose surface water from the HNNR, which suggests that efforts need to be directed at maintaining the surface water at the optimal level to prevent degradation of the wetland.
* Data courtesy of Altmetric.com