EGU22-428, updated on 26 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mapping Groundwater-dependent Ecosystems in Arid Central Asia: Implications for Controlling Regional Land Degradation

Hu Liu1,2,3, Chan Liu1,2,3, Yang Yu4, Wenzhi Zhao1,2,3, Zhao Zhange5, Li Guo6, and Omer Yetemen7
Hu Liu et al.
  • 1Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, China (
  • 2Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 4School of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100038, China
  • 5Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
  • 6State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, College of Water Resource and Hydropower, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610000, China
  • 7Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Maslak, Istanbul 34469, Turkey

Groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) exist all over the world, especially in water-limited regions. To achieve better water management, it is necessary to map and identify GDEs. Central Asia (CA) is one of the most arid regions in the mid-latitudes and one of the major regions with shallow groundwater tables. However, the role of groundwater in the impacts of climate change and regional anthropogenic activities on environmental risks, especially regional desertification, is inadequately understood due to the limited available research on GDEs. In the present study, a remote sensing-based method was used for mapping GDEs in regional CA, and three means—overlay analysis, correlation analysis, and the water balance method—were adopted to validate the accuracy of the mapping outcomes. Our results indicated that: 1) GDEs were concentrated around large lakes and in central Kazakhstan (between 46°N and 50°N latitudes), and areas "Very Likely" and "Likely" to be GDEs accounted for 36.89%, and 28.85% of the total natural vegetation areas, respectively; 2) at the watershed scale, the Sarysu Basin had the largest proportion (94.02% of the area) of potential GDEs while the Ysyk-Kol Basin had the lowest proportion (17.84%); 3) all the three validation methods indicated a good performance for our GDE mapping results. We concluded that the remote sensing-based GDE identification method can be considered a potential approach for mapping GDEs regionally. Better recognition of relationships among groundwater availability, ecosystem health and groundwater management policies should be developed by conducting further studies, to protect GDEs and to prevent regional land degradation. 

How to cite: Liu, H., Liu, C., Yu, Y., Zhao, W., Zhange, Z., Guo, L., and Yetemen, O.: Mapping Groundwater-dependent Ecosystems in Arid Central Asia: Implications for Controlling Regional Land Degradation, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-428,, 2022.