The dry sea floor of the Aral sea is a new terrestrial surface, where plants (including seedbank) and animals have not existed before, and it is actively populated by organisms. The dry sea floor (Aralkum desert) is the largest area worldwide where a primary succession takes place. Unintentionally, mankind has created a huge experiment, an experimental set, a laboratory of nature with thousands of local events. The new knowledge on vegetation dynamics in the Aralkum desert, which is a mosaic of sand and salt desert ecosystems, is very important for the understanding of the ecosystem dynamics in the whole Central Asian area. The succession on the dry sea floor has continued for 40 years. We are able to determine the age of the drying and of the ecosystems. This is important to identify major mechanisms that determine the rate and direction of ecosystem changes on the dry sea floor. The distribution and dynamics of the vegetation and ecosystems were surveyed along some new transects. On the dry sea floor barchan and salt deserts have spread. The present and future development of the drying sea is characterized by the creation of salt desert flats. Along the former coast line the inhabitants of adjacent villages are using the dry sea floor more and more as grazing area and for hay production.
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- Vegetation Dynamics on the Dry Sea Floor of the Aral Sea
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Fallstudie Überschwemmungskarten/© Thaut Images | Fotolia