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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-579
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-579
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Nov 2018

Research article | 21 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Ecohydrological effectiveness of litter crusts in sandy ecosystem

Yu Liu1,2, Zeng Cui1, Ze Huang1, Hai-Tao Miao1,2, and Gao-Lin Wu1,2 Yu Liu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanx i 712100, China
  • 2Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resource, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China

Abstract. Litter crusts are integral components of the water budget in terrestrial ecosystems, especially in arid areas. This innovative study is to quantify the ecohydrological effectiveness of litter crusts in desert ecosystems. We focus on the positive effects of litter crusts on soil water holding capacity and water interception capacity compared with biocrusts. Litter crusts significantly increased soil organic matter, which was 2.4 times the content in biocrusts and 3.84 times the content in bare sandy lands. Higher organic matter content resulted in increased soil porosity and decreased soil bulk density. Meanwhile, soil organic matter can help to maintain maximum infiltration rates. Litter crusts significantly increased the water infiltration rate under high water supply. Our results suggested that litter crusts significantly improve soil properties, thereby influencing hydrological processes. Litter crusts play an important role in improving hydrological effectiveness and provide a microhabitat conducive to vegetation restoration in dry sandy ecosystem.

Yu Liu et al.
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Yu Liu et al.
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Short summary
We focus on the positive effects of litter crusts on soil water holding capacity and water interception capacity compared with biocrusts. Litter crusts can significantly improve sandy water content and organic matter. Water-holding capacity increased with development of litter crusts in sandy interface. Water infiltration rate is increased by sandy and litter crusts interface properties. Litter crusts provided a better microhabitat conducive to plant growth in sandy lands.
We focus on the positive effects of litter crusts on soil water holding capacity and water...
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