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20 may 2022 14:27:04

 
IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 6239: Identifying the Impacts of Climate Change and Human Activities on Vegetation Cover Changes: A Case Study of the Yangtze River Basin, China (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
 


The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a useful indicator to characterize vegetation development and land use which can effectively monitor changes in ecological environments. As an important area for ecological balance and safety in China, understanding the dynamic changes in land cover and vegetation of the Yangtze River Basin would be crucial in developing effective policies and strategies to protect its natural environment while promoting sustainable growth. Based on MODIS-NDVI data and meteorological data from 2000 to 2019, the temporal and spatial distribution of vegetation coverage in the Yangtze River Basin during the past 20 years were characterized, and the impacts of human activities and climate change were quantitatively evaluated. We drew the following research conclusions: (1) From 2000 to 2019, the vegetation cover of the Yangtze River Basin presented a fluctuating inter-annual growth trend. Except for the Taihu Lake sub-basin, the vegetation cover in other sub-basins showed an upward trend. (2) The vegetation cover exhibited a spatial distribution pattern of “high in the middle and low in the east and west”, with the multi-year average value of NDVI being 0.5153. (3) Areas with improved vegetation cover were significantly larger than the areas with degraded foliage. The central region has stronger overall trend of change than the east, and the east is stronger than the west. These vegetation cover changes are largely related to anthropogenic activities. (4) Vegetation cover changes due to precipitation and temperature exhibited significant spatial heterogeneity. While both temperature and precipitation influenced vegetation cover, the temperature was the leading climate factor in the area. (5) Anthropogenic and climate factors jointly promoted the change of vegetation cover in the Yangtze River Basin. Human activities contributed 79.29%, while climate change contributed 20.71%. This study could be used in subsequent studies analyzing the influencing factors affecting long-term vegetation cover in large-scale watersheds.


 
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