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Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (4): 511-520    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0177-8
Research Articles     
Responses of vegetation cover to the Grain for Green Program and their driving forces in the He-Long region of the middle reaches of the Yellow River
JianXiang LIU1,2*, ZhiGuang LI3, XiaoPing ZHANG1, Rui LI1, XianChun LIU3, HanYang ZHANG4
1 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Xi'an 712100, China;
2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
3 Soil and Water Conservation Monitoring Centre, the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing 100053, China;
4 Workers Sanatorium of the Yellow River, Xi'an 710600, China
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Abstract  The implementation of the Grain for Green Program is a great breakthrough in the history of China's ecological environment construction, which can control soil erosion effectively, increase land productivity and improve the ecological environment. To investigate the eco-environmental benefits brought by the Grain for Green Program, the spatiotemporal variations of vegetation cover in the growing season from 2000 to 2010 across the Hekou-Longmen (He-Long) region were analyzed by using remote sensing information, meteorological data and land use data. Moreover, the impacts of climate and human activities on vegetation change were evaluated objectively. Annual vegetation cover in the growing season increased very significantly. Increased vegetation cover occurred in 98.7% of the region, of which the area for vegetation cover improved slightly constituted 79.8% of the whole area. Vegetation moderately improved was mainly distributed in the south of the He-Long region, covering 9.6% of the area, and the area for vegetation basically unchanged concentrated in the middle and upper reaches of the Wuding River. Precipitation was found to be an important natural factor influencing vegetation cover change. The area of vegetation cover showing a significantly positive correlation with precipitation occupied 22.14% of the region. As driven by policies from the Grain for Green Program, forestland increased significantly and land use structure became more intensive. Human activities played a positive and effective role in the protection, restoration and improvement of vegetation in the places where vegetation cover was basically unchanged, even though precipitation declined greatly, and vegetation improved moderately with massive increases of forestland and grassland.

Key wordssaline water irrigation      leaf area index (LAI)      leaf potential      yield components     
Received: 23 October 2012      Published: 06 December 2013

The funding from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-XB3-13, KZZD-EW-04-03), the National Science Foundation of China (41230852, 41101265) and China Census for Water.

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JianXiang LIU, ZhiGuang LI, XiaoPing ZHANG, Rui LI, XianChun LIU, HanYang ZHANG. Responses of vegetation cover to the Grain for Green Program and their driving forces in the He-Long region of the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(4): 511-520.

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