Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (2): 247-257.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1007-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Vegetation distribution pattern along altitudinal gradient in subtropical mountainous and hilly river basin,China

QIU Bingwen1, ZENG Canying1, CHEN Chongcheng1, ZHANG Chungui2, ZHONG Ming1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Spatial Data Mining&Information Sharing of Ministry of Education,Spatial Information Research Centre of Fujian Province,Fuzhou University,Fuzhou 350002,China;
    2. Fujian Meteorological Research Institute,Fuzhou 350002,China
  • Received:2012-07-13 Revised:2012-11-30 Online:2013-02-20 Published:2013-02-20


Knowledge of vegetation distribution patterns is very important.Their relationships with topography and climate were explored through a geographically weighted regression (GWR)framework in a subtropical mountainous and hilly region,Minjiang River Basin of Fujian in China.The HJ-1 satellite image acquired on December 9,2010 was utilized and NDVI index was calculated representing the range of vegetation greenness.Proper analysis units were achieved through segregation based on small sub-basins and altitudinal bands.Results indicated that the GWR model was more powerful than ordinary linear least square(OLS) regression in interpreting vegetation-environmental relationship,indicated by higher adjusted R2 and lower Akaike information criterion values.On one side,the OLS analysis revealed dominant positive influence from parameters of elevation and slope on vegetation distribution. On the other side,GWR analysis indicated that spatially,the parameters of topography had a very complex relationship with the vegetation distribution,as results of the various combinations of environmental factors,vegetation composition and also anthropogenic impact.The influences of elevation and slope generally decreased,from strongly positive to nearly zero, with increasing altitude and slope.Specially,most rapid changes of coefficients between NDVI and elevation or slope were observed in relatively flat and low-lying areas.This paper confirmed that the non-stationary analysis through the framework of GWR could lead to a better understanding of vegetation distribution in subtropical mountainous and hilly region.It was hoped that the proposed scale selection method combined with GWR framework would provide some guidelines on dealing with both spatial(horizontal)and altitudinal(vertical) non-stationarity in the dataset,and it could easily be applied in characterizing vegetation distribution patterns in other mountainous and hilly river basins and related research.

Key words: vegetation, altitudinal gradient, GWR, non-stationary, Minjiang River Basin