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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (1): 23-35    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0055-7
Research Articles     
Spatial patterns of ecosystem vulnerability changes during 2001–2011 in the three-river source region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China
GUO Bing1,2, ZHOU Yi1*, ZHU Jinfeng1, LIU Wenliang1, WANG Futao1, WANG Litao1, YAN Fuli1, WANG Feng1, YANG Guang1,2, LUO Wei1,2, JIANG Lin1
1 Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract  The three-river source region (TRSR, including Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers), located in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China, is a typical alpine zone with apparent ecosystem vulnerability and sensitivity. In this paper, we introduced many interdisciplinary factors, such as landscape pattern indices (Shannon diversity index and Shannon evenness index) and extreme climate factors (number of extreme high temperature days, number of extreme low temperature days, and number of extreme precipitation days), to establish a new model for evaluating the spatial patterns of ecosystem vulnerability changes in the TRSR. The change intensity (CI) of ecosystem vulnerability was also analyzed. The results showed that the established evaluation model was effective and the ecosystem vulnerability in the whole study area was intensive. During the study period of 2001–2011, there was a slight degradation in the eco-environmental quality. The Yellow River source region had the best eco-environmental quality, while the Yangtze River source region had the worst one. In addition, the zones dominated by deserts were the most severely deteriorated areas and the eco-environmental quality of the zones occupied by evergreen coniferous forests showed a better change. Furthermore, the larger the change rates of the climate factors (accumulative temperature of ≥10°C and annual average precipitation) are, the more intensive the CI of ecosystem vulnerability is. This study would provide a scientific basis for the eco-environmental protection and restoration in the TRSR.

Key wordsAgriophyllum squarrosum      psammophyte      sand burial stress      growth inhibition      physiological response     
Received: 05 March 2015      Published: 10 February 2016

This study was supported by the Foundation of Director of Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y4SY0200CX) and the Special Project on High Resolution of Earth Observation System for Major Function Oriented Zones Planning (00-Y30B14-9001-14/16).

Cite this article:

GUO Bing, ZHOU Yi, ZHU Jinfeng, LIU Wenliang, WANG Futao, WANG Litao, YAN Fuli, WANG Feng, YANG Guang, LUO Wei, JIANG Lin. Spatial patterns of ecosystem vulnerability changes during 2001–2011 in the three-river source region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(1): 23-35.

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