Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (1): 45-58.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1253-8

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Vegetation dynamics in Qinling-Daba Mountains in relation to climate factors between 2000 and 2014

Xianfeng LIU1,2(), Xiufang ZHU1,2, Yaozhong *PAN1,2(), Shuangshuang LI1,3, Yuqi MA2, Juan Nie4   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    4. National Disaster Reduction Center of China, Beijing 100124, China
  • Received:2015-08-03 Accepted:2015-08-30 Online:2016-01-25 Published:2016-01-25
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Xianfeng (1986-), PhD Candidate, specialized in resource and environmental remote sensing and disaster remote sensing. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Pan Yaozhong (1965-), PhD and Professor, specialized in statistics and disaster remote sensing research. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Major Project of High-resolution Earth Observation System;Beijing Natural Science Foundation, No.8144052


Using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer-normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) dataset, we investigated the patterns of spatiotemporal variation in vegetation coverage and its associated driving forces in the Qinling-Daba (Qinba) Mountains in 2000-2014. The Sen and Mann-Kendall models and partial correlation analysis were used to analyze the data, followed by calculation of the Hurst index to analyze future trends in vegetation coverage. The results of the study showed that (1) NDVI of the study area exhibited a significant increase in 2000-2014 (linear tendency, 2.8%/10a). During this period, a stable increase was detected before 2010 (linear tendency, 4.32%/10a), followed by a sharp decline after 2010 (linear tendency, -6.59%/10a). (2) Spatially, vegetation cover showed a “high in the middle and a low in the surroundings” pattern. High values of vegetation coverage were mainly found in the Qinba Mountains of Shaanxi Province. (3) The area with improved vegetation coverage was larger than the degraded area, being 81.32% and 18.68%, respectively, during the study period. Piecewise analysis revealed that 71.61% of the total study area showed a decreasing trend in vegetation coverage in 2010-2014. (4) Reverse characteristics of vegetation coverage change were stronger than the same characteristics on the Qinba Mountains. About 46.89% of the entire study area is predicted to decrease in the future, while 34.44% of the total area will follow a continuously increasing trend. (5) The change of vegetation coverage was mainly attributed to the deficit in precipitation. Moreover, vegetation coverage during La Nina years was higher than that during El Nino years. (6) Human activities can induce ambiguous effects on vegetation coverage: both positive effects (through implementation of ecological restoration projects) and negative effects (through urbanization) were observed.

Key words: vegetation coverage, spatiotemporal variation, attribution analysis, ENSO, Qinling-Daba (Qinba) Mountains