Annual report from the Karst Project

At the Annual UK – China CZO programme meeting in Guiyang the SPECTRA project presented an update of how work was going with in each work package to that point in time, 18 months into the project. The bullet points below summaries this presentation.

The Transmissive Critical Zone: Understanding the Karst Hydrology-biogeochemical Interface for Sustainable Management – Prof Susan Waldron and Prof Xi Chen

  • Over the last 1.5 years a Critical Zone Observatory at the Houzhai catchment has been developed.
  • The Karst Critical Zone architecture is being refined with the additional added value collaboration with Lancaster University.
  • Work Package 1 and Work Package 2 – Hydrological cycle of hillslope – water quantity and quality.
    • Hillslope flow contributes water to depression.
    • Ground water sensors show depression water composition.
    • Novel isotope tracing shows new and old water flow mixture.
    • 14C is also an important tracer and there is very little 14C data for China so this is a highly novel data set.
    • Monthly grab samples of N and P show [NO3 – N] are below WHO guidelines but is P now an emerging issue?
    • [NO3 – N] is responsive to hydrological conditions and land management at timescales monthly grab sampling would miss.
    • Moving on to event focused work to allow to disentangle sources and processes to inform integrated modelling.
  • Work Package 3 – Karst desertification: how much water does vegetation need?
    • A 9 month transpiration time series has been determined using chambers and TDR.
    • The measured transpiration can be modelled.
    • A full eco-hydrological year of data collection to refine modelling will be completed in the next 6 months.
  • Faecal indicator organisms are also part of water quality. Faecal pollution are affected by event flow.
  • Work Package 4 upscaling now coming into consideration.
  • Work Package 5 have been gathering information to inform science effectiveness: Knowledge Exchange.
    • Spoken to 15 county leaders, 8 town leaders and 24 village leaders along with 321 farmers in total (20 to 57 surveys carried out in each village).
    • Future work is to identify knowledge that can be shared with the stakeholders and have “advisory board” meeting (UK and China external delegates).