GALLERY INDEX

Ecotone Enhancement under Agricultural Oasis Expansion: Balancing Ecological Protection and Economic Development in Qira Oasis

Student: WU Yuewei Yuvi

Supervisor: Natalia Echeverri
Thesis section: The Urban-Rural Imaginaries
Programme: Master of Landscape Architecture
Date: June 2020

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the ecotone protection under agricultural oasis expansion in Qira Oasis, located in the southern Xinjiang, north of Kunlun Mountains. The ecotone around the oasis has experienced a rapid decrease since 1970 mainly due to agricultural oasis expansion and limited water resource. Ecotone can help prevent sand storm from invading farmland, acts as a buffer when there is sudden temperature change in the desert area, and helps to maintain vapor and protect biodiversity. However, because of the loss of the ecotone, the sandstorm situation in Qira Oasis is more and more serious, the biodiversity is also decreasing, the local people are in poverty for a long time, and the living environment is also very bad. Now the government has set up ecotone research station in Qira, hoping to help protect the ecotone, improve the living environment of local people and promote economic development. The Strategies of design basically focus on controlling desertification and restricting agricultural oasis expansion, which has been the two main reasons for the shrinking of ecotone. Based on the basic agricultural, climate and economic situations of Qira, the strategies include plant restoration in ecotone area, water saving in agricultural oasis, improving farmland efficiency and returning farmland to ecotone, trying to balance the ecological protection and economic development.

Keywords: ecotone; oasis; natural disaster; agricultural expansion; biodiversity

Enlarge Photo: The categories explain the meanings of the oasis and the ecotone, and the diagrams show the fast growing economic in Xinjiang and the threats it places on ecotone. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: Efforts made by the government to protect desert ecology was offseted largely by ecotone loss caused by unlimited agricultural oasis expansion. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: Water in Qira oasis mainly comes from ice melting water in summer. The backward irrigation method resulted in large water consumption, leaving little water for ecotone. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: The ecotone acts as a buffer zone between desert and oasis. It is important for preventing sandstorm from invading the oasis. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: Ecotone around the Qira oasis has decreased a lot in the past few decades. The main two reasons for that are desertification and farmland expansion. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: The Strategies of design basically focus on controlling desertification and restricting agricultural oasis expansion, which has been the two main reasons for the shrinking of ecotone. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.Enlarge Photo: By 2040, the ecotone in Qira will be greatly enhanced, and the salinization land in oasis will be more productive. More methods will be taken to balance ecological protection and economic development. By WU Yuewei Yuvi.
UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE