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Greifswald, Germany

Thevs N.,World Agroforestry Center | Thevs N.,University of Greifswald | Schmidt S.,Michael Succow Foundation | Nurtazin S.,Al-Farabi Kazakh National University | Salmurzauli R.,Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Journal of Great Lakes Research | Year: 2015

Following the desiccation of the Aral Sea, Lake Balkhash has become the largest lake of Central Asia with an area of 17,000km2. 70%-80% of the annual inflow into Lake Balkhash is delivered by the Ile River. The Ile Delta, 8000km2 large, is the largest natural delta and wetland complex of Central Asia and therefore is of crucial significance for the biodiversity of that region. In this paper, we reviewed the literature available with regard to vegetation, fauna, and biodiversity of the Ile River Delta and South Lake Balkhash Ramsar Site, in order to identify threats and research gaps. Threats are reduced runoff of the Ile River due to increasing water consumption upstream, overfishing, fires ignited by local people, logging for fuel wood collection, over-grazing, and water pollution from upstream. Major research gaps to be addressed are: 1) impact of reduced discharges of the Ile River on the wetland ecosystems and associated changes in livestock grazing, 2) impact of reduced discharges on spawning grounds for fish, 3) upper harvest limits for the fishery, and 4) regrowth of riparian woodlands. © 2015 International Association for Great Lakes Research. Source

Thevs N.,University of Greifswald | Wucherer W.,Michael Succow Foundation | Buras A.,University of Greifswald
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

Carbon stocks and carbon accumulation in the earth's drylands have gained increasing attention. The winter-cold deserts of Middle Asia, i.e. in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, cover an area of 2.5 million km2. Within these deserts, the two Saxaul species White Saxaul (Haloxylon persicum Bunge ex Boiss. & Buhse) and Black Saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum (Minkw.) Iljin) are dominant woody species with a potential distribution area of about 500,000 km2. From the 1950s until today, the Saxaul vegetation has been degraded through logging and over-grazing. In this paper, we estimate the current and potential living above ground and below ground biomass of the Saxaul vegetation and its carbon stock. The living above ground biomass ranges between 1.5 t/ha and 3 t/ha. The potential carbon stocks above ground and below ground amount to 29.4-52.1 million t and 22-81.4 million t, respectively. Today, only 11%-28% of the potential biomass and carbon stock have remained. The carbon stock of the Saxaul vegetation is low compared to other ecosystems of the earth, but restoration and conservation of Saxaul vegetation is one way to sequester carbon through vegetation for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which do not have much other woody vegetation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Thiele A.,University of Greifswald | Liascynskaya N.,Laboratory of Bioressources | Broska T.,National Academy of Sciences of Belarus | Barisch S.,Michael Succow Foundation | And 6 more authors.
Phytocoenologia | Year: 2015

Belarus with its cold temperate climate and humid conditions is a country with substantial territories covered by peatlands (14.2% or 29,390 km2 before complex melioration), of which 30% are still in near natural conditions. Climate, geological and abiotic conditions favor the development of mainly bogs in the north, transitional and fen peatlands in central regions and vast base rich fen peatlands in the southern region. This data base covers 750 nested plots (0.64 m2 and 25 m2) with Braun-Blanquet cover scale, water level measurement (12-36 months on 255 plots), soil pH (on all plots), C/N ratio (on 300 plots) on a range from natural, near natural, degraded and rewetted fen, transitional and bog peatlands from 28 investigation sites spread all over the country. © 2015 Gebrüder Borntraeger, 70176 Stuttgart, Germany. Source

Buras A.,University of Greifswald | Wucherer W.,Michael Succow Foundation | Zerbe S.,Free University of Bozen Bolzano | Noviskiy Z.,21 Katartal | And 6 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2012

The Haloxylon vegetation in Central Asia has undergone vast changes throughout the last century, which has lead to a strong degradation and desertification of the desert ecosystems in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. In terms of combating desertification and restoration of ecosystems, two pilot-projects recently are aiming at the reforestation of Haloxylon ecosystems. Hereby, two of the internationally discussed climate change mitigation activities may be of higher relevance: (I) to sequester CO 2 through afforestation and reforestation and (II) to substitute fossil fuels by sustainable utilization of regenerative bio-fuels. With particular focus on Central Asian desert ecosystems, the questions arose: (I) to which extent Haloxylon species - the dominant shrub species - sequester CO 2, (II) what the recent carbon pool related to Haloxylon ecosystems is, and (III) in which magnitude the existing and/or reforested ecosystems could be utilized for bio-fuels sustainably. Therefore, this study aims at the derivation of allometric models including carbon contents for the two Haloxylon species in Central Asian desert ecosystems. A first application to measured transect data across Central Asia is carried out to reflect the recent biomass variability of the two study species. We found, that above- and below-ground biomass for both species is best modeled when taking growth height, basal area, and canopy area of shrubs into account (0.87 Source

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