2021年11月，国际期刊 Geophysical Research Letters（SCI 一区TOP）发表了团队最新学术论文 "Mining Can Exacerbate Global Degradation of Dryland"。
Groundwater storage (GS) is the major water resource for vegetation in drylands. Thus, positive relationships between vegetative growth condition (VGC) and GS are expected in drylands. Since mining-induced dewatering tends to deplete GS surrounding mine sites, VGC should become less favorable due to a shortage of accessible water. However, quantitative analysis repealed the opposite. We found that global annual mineral production in drylands increased by 24%, while GS decreased by 22% but the VGC improved by 37% (2002–2010). And negative relationships between VGC and GS were detected in 84.7% of global dryland mine sites. We concluded that irrigation supported by mining-induced dewatering promoted the vegetation growth surrounding mine sites. However, since the GS is limited, irrigation-supported vegetation growth is unsustainable. This study elucidates the reason behind these abnormal negative relationships and highlights the potential risk of vegetation degradation induced by unsustainable groundwater depletion in global dryland mine sites.
Figure 1. Spatiotemporal variations in the GS (NGGRACE), vegetation living and growth conditions (NIEI), and annual mineral production (AMP) in global dryland mining sites on both global and continental scales. (a) Annual variation in the average NGGRACE, NIEI, and AMP among global dryland mining sites. Spatial patterns of growth ratios for the (b) NGGRACE and (c) NIEI at global dryland mining sites. (d) Growth ratios of the average NGGRACE, NIEI, and AMP among dryland mining sites on a continental scale.