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Assessing Vegetation Cover Dynamics Induced by Policy-Driven Ecological Restoration and Implication to Soil Erosion in Southern China.

Zhang J, Wang T, Ge J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In the aftermath of the severe droughts and floods at the end of the 20th century, the Chinese government launched several ecological restoration projects, including the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998 and the Grain-for-Green Program in 1999, to promote afforestation and reforestation to reduce surface runoff and consequent soil erosion nationwide.The conversions of croplands on steep slopes to forests resulting from national policies led to significant increases in EVI.Increase in the area of farmland-converted forestlands has reduced soil erosion based upon monitoring sediment yields at hydrologic stations in the Yangtze River.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology & College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, PR China; Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
In the aftermath of the severe droughts and floods at the end of the 20th century, the Chinese government launched several ecological restoration projects, including the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998 and the Grain-for-Green Program in 1999, to promote afforestation and reforestation to reduce surface runoff and consequent soil erosion nationwide. However, it is still unclear how vegetation has changed in southern China since the launch of these programs. In this study, we used the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) to analyze the vegetation cover dynamics in southern China from 2000 to 2009 and evaluate the resulting effects of controlling soil erosion. Our observations indicate that 5.3% of the study area significantly increased and 0.98% significantly decreased in EVI value (p < 0.05). The spring EVI had largest increase in space. The conversions of croplands on steep slopes to forests resulting from national policies led to significant increases in EVI. The increase in EVI was not driven by annual average temperature and annual precipitation. By referencing ecological restoration statistical data and field observations, we showed that ecological restoration programs significantly improved vegetation cover in southern China. Increase in the area of farmland-converted forestlands has reduced soil erosion based upon monitoring sediment yields at hydrologic stations in the Yangtze River. This study displays the spatial patterns of trend in vegetation growth since the beginning of the 21st century in southern China and highlights the important role of China's afforestation program.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The elevation map, locations of meteorology and hydrological stations (above) and slope distribution in southern China (below).
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pone.0131352.g001: The elevation map, locations of meteorology and hydrological stations (above) and slope distribution in southern China (below).

Mentions: The study was performed in southern China. It is located between 18°9′-36°29′N and 78°23′-122°57′E, covering a total area of 362.84×104 km2. This region spans from the Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of 5000 m, to the East China Sea and crosses over 19 provinces in China (Fig 1). The population in this area accounts for approximately 58% of the total population in China (http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/pcsj/). The typical climate of this region is dominated by a subtropical monsoon climate, with mean annual temperatures of 15–20˚C and an average annual rainfall of 1000 mm. The tropical climate in Hainan and the south boundary of Yunnan is characterized by mean annual temperatures of 21–25˚C and an annual rainfall up to 1200 mm. The climate on the Tibetan Plateau is a typical highland climate with a mean annual temperature of 3˚C and annual rainfall of 300 mm. The geomorphology in the study area varies. The Yangtze River is the most important water resource for southern China and crosses the whole region with a number of tributaries. The upper reaches of the Yangtze River are mainly mountainous. In the southwest portion of the study area, karst landforms are dominant, such as in Guangxi and Guizhou. The middle-lower reaches of Yangtze River are a major floodplain and prime land for agricultural activities. The rest of the study area consists of mountainous land and plains.


Assessing Vegetation Cover Dynamics Induced by Policy-Driven Ecological Restoration and Implication to Soil Erosion in Southern China.

Zhang J, Wang T, Ge J - PLoS ONE (2015)

The elevation map, locations of meteorology and hydrological stations (above) and slope distribution in southern China (below).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4482633&req=5

pone.0131352.g001: The elevation map, locations of meteorology and hydrological stations (above) and slope distribution in southern China (below).
Mentions: The study was performed in southern China. It is located between 18°9′-36°29′N and 78°23′-122°57′E, covering a total area of 362.84×104 km2. This region spans from the Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of 5000 m, to the East China Sea and crosses over 19 provinces in China (Fig 1). The population in this area accounts for approximately 58% of the total population in China (http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/pcsj/). The typical climate of this region is dominated by a subtropical monsoon climate, with mean annual temperatures of 15–20˚C and an average annual rainfall of 1000 mm. The tropical climate in Hainan and the south boundary of Yunnan is characterized by mean annual temperatures of 21–25˚C and an annual rainfall up to 1200 mm. The climate on the Tibetan Plateau is a typical highland climate with a mean annual temperature of 3˚C and annual rainfall of 300 mm. The geomorphology in the study area varies. The Yangtze River is the most important water resource for southern China and crosses the whole region with a number of tributaries. The upper reaches of the Yangtze River are mainly mountainous. In the southwest portion of the study area, karst landforms are dominant, such as in Guangxi and Guizhou. The middle-lower reaches of Yangtze River are a major floodplain and prime land for agricultural activities. The rest of the study area consists of mountainous land and plains.

Bottom Line: In the aftermath of the severe droughts and floods at the end of the 20th century, the Chinese government launched several ecological restoration projects, including the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998 and the Grain-for-Green Program in 1999, to promote afforestation and reforestation to reduce surface runoff and consequent soil erosion nationwide.The conversions of croplands on steep slopes to forests resulting from national policies led to significant increases in EVI.Increase in the area of farmland-converted forestlands has reduced soil erosion based upon monitoring sediment yields at hydrologic stations in the Yangtze River.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology & College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, PR China; Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
In the aftermath of the severe droughts and floods at the end of the 20th century, the Chinese government launched several ecological restoration projects, including the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998 and the Grain-for-Green Program in 1999, to promote afforestation and reforestation to reduce surface runoff and consequent soil erosion nationwide. However, it is still unclear how vegetation has changed in southern China since the launch of these programs. In this study, we used the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) to analyze the vegetation cover dynamics in southern China from 2000 to 2009 and evaluate the resulting effects of controlling soil erosion. Our observations indicate that 5.3% of the study area significantly increased and 0.98% significantly decreased in EVI value (p < 0.05). The spring EVI had largest increase in space. The conversions of croplands on steep slopes to forests resulting from national policies led to significant increases in EVI. The increase in EVI was not driven by annual average temperature and annual precipitation. By referencing ecological restoration statistical data and field observations, we showed that ecological restoration programs significantly improved vegetation cover in southern China. Increase in the area of farmland-converted forestlands has reduced soil erosion based upon monitoring sediment yields at hydrologic stations in the Yangtze River. This study displays the spatial patterns of trend in vegetation growth since the beginning of the 21st century in southern China and highlights the important role of China's afforestation program.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus