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Sand transport features on two types of grassland in the middle Inner Mongolian Plateau, China

Shulin Liu 1 ,2, Tao Wang1 ,2, Wenping Kang1 ,2
1Cold and Arid Regions Environmental & Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China, 2Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China

Desertification issues and dust storm events are very serious during the recent decades in the middle Inner Mongolia Plateau, China. In this paper, sand transport features were investigated in the field under common heavy wind weathers on two types of grassland in the middle Inner Mongolian Plateau in spring with wind erosion, including flat sand-gravel covered grassland and sandy grassland. In the field experiments, the combining analysis method of the multiple wind instruments and passive ladder sand trappers was adopted. The results showed that Aeolian processes were dominated by soil wind erosion in this region in general. However, there are huge differences of sand transport rates, sand flow structures on two types of grassland. Moreover, sand flow structure indicated more obvious unsaturated sand transport on sand-gravel covered grassland during study period, due to limited sand supply. At the same time, smaller differences of sand transport rates on the same grassland type were mainly related to different vegetation characteristics which usually affected by grazing activities. Because the two types of grassland distributed widely and were mostly used for grazing activities in the study area, our research results can provide important basic information for combating desertification and improving grazing management.