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SuMaRiO Presentation at the AGU Fall Meeting 2011 in San Francisco

Prof. Markus Disse (Project leader of SuMaRiO) presented on December 9th, 2011, within the Session H54B (Ecosystem Services: Hydrology and Biogeochemestry in a World of Environmental Change) our SuMaRiO project by his talk: "Ecosystem Services and Related Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River in Northwest China" (Control ID 1186883). The pdf-File of his presentation is attached. Co-authors are Bernd Cyffka, Patrick Keilholz, Christian Rumbaur and Niels Thevs.


Abstract of the presentation (see also: http://www.agu.org/meetings/)

Within the Taklimakan Desert of Northwestern China, an area renowned for its extreme climate and vulnerable ecosystems, lies one of the largest inland rivers in the world, the Tarim River. Because the Tarim River is located in a remote area from the oceans, rainfall is extremely rare (less than 50 mm per year) but potential evaporation is high (3000 mm). Thus, the major source of water discharge comes from snowmelt and glacier-melt in the mountains. Though the water discharge into the Tarim River has experienced an increase over the past ten years, global climate change forecasts predict this water supply to decline within the century.

The Tarim River is the major source of water in Northwestern China, and has become the hub of many economic activities related to agriculture and urban life. Over the past 50 years increased activity in the area has led to a severe decline in river flow. Both human and natural ecosystems have been impacted by water diversions. Since rainfall is rare, the majority of vegetation in this area depends solely on groundwater for survival, and plants are experiencing stress caused by decreasing groundwater levels. The “Green Corridor” is a region surrounding the Tarim River in the lower reaches which historically has sheltered roads and cities from windblown sand.   However, recently nearby cities have experienced severe dust storms caused by the shrinking of the vegetative region along the river.

SuMaRiO (Sustainable Management of River Oases) is a bundle project between Germany and China working to contribute to a sustainable land management which explicitly takes into account ecosystem functions (ESF) and ecosystem services (ESS). In a transdisciplinary research process, SuMaRiO will identify realizable management strategies, considering social, economic and ecological criteria. SuMaRiO is developing tools to work with Chinese decision makers to implement sustainable land management strategies. In addition, research is being conducted to estimate climate change impacts, floodplain biodiversity, and water runoff characteristics.

The overarching goal of SuMaRiO is to support oasis management along the Tarim River under conditions of climatic and societal changes. A main deliverable of SuMaRiO will be an indicator-based decision support system (DSS) that allows a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) within regional planning. This SIA will integrate the many specific research results obtained by SuMaRiO in the areas ESS/ESF, water resources and use, and land use including urban, agricultural and natural areas. It will take into account the perspectives of all relevant actors in the problem field of land and water management in the Tarim River Basin, which will be elicited and analyzed by actor modeling. Then, under given scenario assumptions, possible actions and their impacts are estimated in a semi-quantitative way.

The SuMaRiO project (www.sumario.de) started in March 2011. First results of different interrelated work packages are presented. Especially an introduction to the model structure to estimate water demand, water quality and biomass production in the Tarim region is given. Additionally, an evaluation of ecosystem services and ecosystem functions along the Tarim River is shown.

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