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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (5): 637-651    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0061-2
Orginal Article     
Monitoring the impact of climate change andhuman activities on grassland vegetation dynamics in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateauof China during 2000-2015
Qinli XIONG1, Yang XIAO2,*(), Waseem A HALMY Marwa3, A DAKHIL Mohammed1,4,5, Pinghan LIANG6, Chenggang LIU7, Lin ZHANG1, PANDEY Bikram1,4, Kaiwen PAN1, B EL KAFRAWAY Sameh8, Jun CHEN4
1CAS Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration Biodiversity Conservation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
2College of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Jishou University, Jishou 416000, China
3Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21511, Egypt
4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
5Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Helwan University, Cairo 11790, Egypt
6School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
7CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, China
8National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, Cairo 11790, Egypt
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Climate change and human activities can influence vegetation net primary productivity (NPP), a key component of natural ecosystems. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China, in spite of its significant natural and cultural values, is one of the most susceptible regions to climate change and human disturbancesin the world. To assess the impact of climate change and human activities on vegetation dynamics in the grassland ecosystems ofthe northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we applied a time-series trend analysis to normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) datasets from 2000 to 2015 and compared these spatiotemporal variations with trends in climatic variables over the same time period. The constrained ordination approach (redundancy analysis) was used to determine which climatic variables or human-related factors mostly in?uenced the variation of NDVI. Furthermore, in order to determine whether current conservation measures and programs are effectivein ecological protection and reconstruction, we divided the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau into two parts: the Three-River Headwater conservation area (TRH zone) in the south and the non-conservation area (NTRH zone) in the north. The results indicatedan overall (73.32%)increasing trend of vegetation NPP in grasslands throughout the study area. During the period 2000-2015, NDVI in the TRH and NTRH zones increased at the rates of 0.0015/aand 0.0020/a, respectively.Specifically, precipitation accounted for 9.2% of the total variation in NDVI, while temperature accounted for 13.4%. In addition, variation in vegetation NPP of grasslands responded not only to long- and short-term changes in climate, as conceptualized in non-equilibrium theory, but also to the impact of human activities and their associated perturbations. The redundancy analysis successfully separated the relative contributions of climate change and human activities, of whichvillage populationand agricultural gross domestic product were the two most important contributors to the NDVI changes, explaining 17.8% and 17.1% of the total variationof NDVI (with the total contribution >30.0%), respectively. The total contributionpercentages of climate change and human activitiesto the NDVI variation were27.5% and 34.9%, respectively, inthe northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Finally, our study shows that the grassland restoration in the study area was enhanced by protection measures and programs in the TRH zone, which explained 7.6% of the total variation in NDVI.

Key wordsclimate change      human activities      NDVI variation      Qinghai-Tibet Plateau      redundancy analysis      vegetation net primary productivity     
Received: 02 August 2018      Published: 10 October 2019
Corresponding Authors: Yang XIAO     E-mail:
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The first and second authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Qinli XIONG, Yang XIAO, Waseem A HALMY Marwa, A DAKHIL Mohammed, Pinghan LIANG, Chenggang LIU, Lin ZHANG, PANDEY Bikram, Kaiwen PAN, B EL KAFRAWAY Sameh, Jun CHEN. Monitoring the impact of climate change andhuman activities on grassland vegetation dynamics in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateauof China during 2000-2015. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(5): 637-651.

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