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The Impacts of Weather and Conservation Programs on Vegetation Dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau

Listed author(s):
  • Dong Yan


    (Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, The University of Oklahoma, 100 East Boyd St, SEC Suite 510, Norman, OK 73019, USA)

  • Kirsten M. de Beurs


    (Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, The University of Oklahoma, 100 East Boyd St, SEC Suite 510, Norman, OK 73019, USA)

  • Jianrong Fan


    (Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Conservancy, #9 Section 4, South Renmin Road, Chengdu 610041, China)

Registered author(s):

    We present an analysis of the impacts of weather change and large-scale vegetation conservation programs on the vegetation dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau from 2000 through 2009. We employed a multiple lines of evidence approach in which multi-scale data were used. We employed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at 500 m to identify significant vegetation increases in the Loess Plateau since 2000. We found increases in NDVI for 48% of the Loess Plateau between 2000 and 2009. We were able to attribute up to 37.5% of the observed vegetation increases to weather change, vegetation conservation activities and crop yield increases. We demonstrate that the impact of vegetation conservation programs on vegetation change in the Loess Plateau is twofold. On the one hand, vegetation conservation programs target marginal lands. Thus, significant vegetation increases due to cropland conversion and afforestation can be found in these regions. On the other hand, intensified agricultural production can be found in croplands with suitable topography and well-established irrigation systems, which were not enrolled in conservation programs to offset the agricultural production loss caused by vegetation conservation programs elsewhere.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Land.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 1-22

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:2:y:2013:i:4:p:573-594:d:29858
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    1. Emi Uchida & Jintao Xu & Scott Rozelle, 2005. "Grain for Green: Cost-Effectiveness and Sustainability of China’s Conservation Set-Aside Program," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(2).
    2. Hansen, James & Fuller, Frank H. & Hsu, Hsin-Hui, 2003. "Sources of Discontinuity and Uncertainty in Chinese Agricultural Data," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11795, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Gregory Chow, 2006. "Are Chinese Official Statistics Reliable?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(2), pages 396-414, June.
    4. Xu, Zhigang & Xu, Jintao & Deng, Xiangzheng & Huang, Jikun & Uchida, Emi & Rozelle, Scott, 2006. "Grain for Green versus Grain: Conflict between Food Security and Conservation Set-Aside in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 130-148, January.
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