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Land Use/Cover Change in the Middle Reaches of the Heihe River Basin over 2000-2011 and Its Implications for Sustainable Water Resource Management.

Hu X, Lu L, Li X, Wang J, Guo M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: From the 1960s to the 1990s, the downstream flow in the HRB declined as a result of large, artificial changes in the distribution of water and land and a lack of effective water resource management.The results show that the most significant land use/cover change in the middle reaches of the HRB was the continuous expansion of farmland for economic interests.The results of this study can also serve as a reference for the sustainable management of water resources in other arid inland river basins.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Donggang West Road, Lanzhou, 730000, China.

ABSTRACT
The Heihe River Basin (HRB) is a typical arid inland river basin in northwestern China. From the 1960s to the 1990s, the downstream flow in the HRB declined as a result of large, artificial changes in the distribution of water and land and a lack of effective water resource management. Consequently, the ecosystems of the lower reaches of the basin substantially deteriorated. To restore these degraded ecosystems, the Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP) was initiated by the Chinese government in 2000. The project led to agricultural and ecological changes in the middle reaches of the basin. In this study, we present three datasets of land use/cover in the middle reaches of the HRB derived from Landsat TM/ETM+ images in 2000, 2007 and 2011. We used these data to investigate changes in land use/cover between 2000 and 2011 and the implications for sustainable water resource management. The results show that the most significant land use/cover change in the middle reaches of the HRB was the continuous expansion of farmland for economic interests. From 2000 to 2011, the farmland area increased by 12.01%. The farmland expansion increased the water resource stress; thus, groundwater was over-extracted and the ecosystem was degraded in particular areas. Both consequences are negative and potentially threaten the sustainability of the middle reaches of the HRB and the entire river basin. Local governments should therefore improve the management of water resources, particularly groundwater management, and should strictly control farmland reclamation. Then, water resources could be ecologically and socioeconomically sustained, and the balance between upstream and downstream water demands could be ensured. The results of this study can also serve as a reference for the sustainable management of water resources in other arid inland river basins.

No MeSH data available.


GDP change during 2000–2011.
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pone.0128960.g006: GDP change during 2000–2011.

Mentions: The above analysis and the results of the field survey indicate that the implementation of nation policy only affected the evolution of patterns of land use/cover in particular areas of the middle reaches. Outweighing national policy, the strong willingness to pursue economic interests significantly affected the land use/cover change. The expansion of farmland was particularly driven by this factor. After 2000, socioeconomic development proceeded very rapidly in the middle reaches of the HRB. In 2000, the GDP was 42.32 billion CNY. In 2011, the GDP reached 178.71 billion CNY. The average annual growth rate of the GDP between 2000 and 2011 was approximately 13.99%. The average annual growth rates of primary, secondary and tertiary industries over the same period were 10.62%, 16.67% and 15.13%, respectively (Fig 6). The use of expanded farmland to grow crops with high economic returns, such as seed corn, significantly increased income. In 2011, the income of the corn seed industry reached 24 billion CNY. The per capita income of a farmer from seed corn was 1800 CNY, which accounted for 32% of the average farmer’s per capita income [53]. In the middle reaches, farmland increased by 256.14 km2 between 2000 and 2011, primarily because of seed corn, which has a high economic return. The pursuit of economic interests was therefore a significant factor in the farmland expansion in the middle reaches of the basin. This finding was similar to the research results of land use/cover change in the other arid areas of northwestern China, such as Gansu [54], Qinghai [55] and Xinjiang [56].


Land Use/Cover Change in the Middle Reaches of the Heihe River Basin over 2000-2011 and Its Implications for Sustainable Water Resource Management.

Hu X, Lu L, Li X, Wang J, Guo M - PLoS ONE (2015)

GDP change during 2000–2011.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4482701&req=5

pone.0128960.g006: GDP change during 2000–2011.
Mentions: The above analysis and the results of the field survey indicate that the implementation of nation policy only affected the evolution of patterns of land use/cover in particular areas of the middle reaches. Outweighing national policy, the strong willingness to pursue economic interests significantly affected the land use/cover change. The expansion of farmland was particularly driven by this factor. After 2000, socioeconomic development proceeded very rapidly in the middle reaches of the HRB. In 2000, the GDP was 42.32 billion CNY. In 2011, the GDP reached 178.71 billion CNY. The average annual growth rate of the GDP between 2000 and 2011 was approximately 13.99%. The average annual growth rates of primary, secondary and tertiary industries over the same period were 10.62%, 16.67% and 15.13%, respectively (Fig 6). The use of expanded farmland to grow crops with high economic returns, such as seed corn, significantly increased income. In 2011, the income of the corn seed industry reached 24 billion CNY. The per capita income of a farmer from seed corn was 1800 CNY, which accounted for 32% of the average farmer’s per capita income [53]. In the middle reaches, farmland increased by 256.14 km2 between 2000 and 2011, primarily because of seed corn, which has a high economic return. The pursuit of economic interests was therefore a significant factor in the farmland expansion in the middle reaches of the basin. This finding was similar to the research results of land use/cover change in the other arid areas of northwestern China, such as Gansu [54], Qinghai [55] and Xinjiang [56].

Bottom Line: From the 1960s to the 1990s, the downstream flow in the HRB declined as a result of large, artificial changes in the distribution of water and land and a lack of effective water resource management.The results show that the most significant land use/cover change in the middle reaches of the HRB was the continuous expansion of farmland for economic interests.The results of this study can also serve as a reference for the sustainable management of water resources in other arid inland river basins.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Donggang West Road, Lanzhou, 730000, China.

ABSTRACT
The Heihe River Basin (HRB) is a typical arid inland river basin in northwestern China. From the 1960s to the 1990s, the downstream flow in the HRB declined as a result of large, artificial changes in the distribution of water and land and a lack of effective water resource management. Consequently, the ecosystems of the lower reaches of the basin substantially deteriorated. To restore these degraded ecosystems, the Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP) was initiated by the Chinese government in 2000. The project led to agricultural and ecological changes in the middle reaches of the basin. In this study, we present three datasets of land use/cover in the middle reaches of the HRB derived from Landsat TM/ETM+ images in 2000, 2007 and 2011. We used these data to investigate changes in land use/cover between 2000 and 2011 and the implications for sustainable water resource management. The results show that the most significant land use/cover change in the middle reaches of the HRB was the continuous expansion of farmland for economic interests. From 2000 to 2011, the farmland area increased by 12.01%. The farmland expansion increased the water resource stress; thus, groundwater was over-extracted and the ecosystem was degraded in particular areas. Both consequences are negative and potentially threaten the sustainability of the middle reaches of the HRB and the entire river basin. Local governments should therefore improve the management of water resources, particularly groundwater management, and should strictly control farmland reclamation. Then, water resources could be ecologically and socioeconomically sustained, and the balance between upstream and downstream water demands could be ensured. The results of this study can also serve as a reference for the sustainable management of water resources in other arid inland river basins.

No MeSH data available.