Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (9): 1059-1071.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1421-5

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Development of quantitative methods for detecting climate contributions to boundary shifts in farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China

Wenjiao SHI1,2,3(), Yiting LIU1,3, Xiaoli SHI4,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Environmental Evolvement and Ecological Construction of Hebei Province, College of Resources and Environment Sciences, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
  • Received:2017-03-12 Accepted:2017-04-15 Online:2017-09-10 Published:2017-09-05
  • Contact: Xiaoli SHI;
  • About author:

    Author: Shi Wenjiao, PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in global change and agriculture.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401113, No.41371002;Foundation of Excellent Young Talents of IGSNRR, CAS, No.2016RC201;The Open Fund of State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, No.OFSLRSS201622;The Key Project of Physical Geography of Hebei Province;China Scholarship Council


The quantitative effect of climate change on fragile regions has been a hot topic in the field of responses to climate change. Previous studies have qualitatively documented the impacts of climate change on boundary shifts in the farming-pastoral ecotone (FPE); however, the quantitative methods for detecting climate contributions remain relatively limited. Based on long-term data of meteorological stations and interpretations of land use since 1970, climate and land use boundaries of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were delineated. To detect climate contributions to the FPE boundary shifts, we developed two quantitative methods to explore the spatial-temporal pattern of climate and land use boundary at the east-west (or south-north) (FishNet method) and transect directions (Digital Shoreline Analysis System, DSAS method). The results indicated that significant differences were exhibited in climate boundaries, land use boundaries, as well as climate contributions in different regions during different periods. The northwest FPE had smaller variations, while the northeast FPE had greater shifts. In the northwest part of the southeast fringe of the Greater Hinggan Mountains and the Inner Mongolian Plateau, the shifts of climate boundaries were significantly related to the land use boundaries. The climate contributions at an east-west direction ranged from 10.7% to 44.4%, and those at a south-north direction varied from 4.7% to 55.9%. The majority of the results from the DSAS were consistent with those from the FishNet. The DSAS method is more accurate and suitable for precise detection at a small scale, whereas the FishNet method is simple to conduct statistical analysis rapidly and directly at a large scale. Our research will be helpful to adapt to climate change, to develop the productive potential, as well as to protect the environment of the FPE in northern China.

Key words: farming-pastoral ecotone (FPE) in northern China, climate change, land use, contribution, quantitative detection