The source region of the Yellow River is located in the middle east of the Tibetan Plateau in northwest China. The total area is about 51,700 km2, mainly covered by grassland (79%), unused land (16%) and water (4%). The increasing land utilization in this area has increased the risk of environmental degradation. The land use/cover data (1985 and 2000) provided by the Data Center of Resources and Environment in the Chinese Academy of Sciences were used to analyze the land cover change in the source region of the Yellow River. DEM (1:250,000) data, roads and settlement data were used to analyze the spatial characteristics of grasslands degradation. The ArcGIS 9 software was used to convert data types and do the overlay, reclassification and zonal statistic analysis. Results show that grassland degradation is the most important land cover change in the study area, which occupied 8.24% of the region’s total area. Human activities are the main causes of the grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River: 1) the degradation rate is higher on the sunny slope than on the shady slope; 2) the grassland degradation rate decreases with an increase in the elevation, and it has a correlation coefficient of -0.93; 3) the nearer to the settlements the grassland is, the higher the degradation rate. Especially within a distance range of 12 km to the settlements, the grassland degradation rate is highly related with the distance, with a coefficient of -0.99; and 4) in the range of 4 km, the degradation rate decreases with the increase of distance to the roads, with a correlation coefficient of -0.98. Besides some physical factors, human activities have been the most important driving forces of the grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River since 1985. To resolve the degradation problems, population control is essential, and therefore, it can reduce the social demand of livestock products from the grassland. To achieve sustainable development, it needs to improve the management of grassland ecosystem.
The 26 plots including natural forestland, secondary forestland, shrub-grassland, sloping cropland, artificial forest and abandoned field, were selected to discuss the impact of land cover on the soil characteristics in the three karst districts of Chongqing. The results showed that: (1) After the vegetation turned into secondary vegetation or artificial vegetation, or reclamation, soil physical properties would be degraded. In the surface-layer soil of sloping cropland, the contents of > 2 mm water-stable aggregates decreased obviously with apparent sandification. (2) The contents of soil organic matter and total nitrogen are controlled completely by vegetation type and land use intensity. The increasing trend is rather slow in the early days when over-reclamation is stopped and the land is converted to forest and pasture. (3) Herbaceous species increase and woody plants species decrease with the increase of land use intensity, therefore, the soil seed banks degrade more seriously. (4) The soil degradation index has been set up to describe the relative soil degradation degree under the conditions of different vegetation types. (5) Land cover has a significant effect on karst soil characteristics, land degradation in the karst ecosystem is essentially characterized by the different degradation of soil functions that serve as water banks, nutrient banks and soil seed banks.
Mangrove forests have important ecological functions in protecting the environment. However, the mangrove wetlands have been largely lost because of intensified human activities in the study area. Remote sensing can be conveniently used for the inventory of mangrove forests because field investigation is very difficult. In this study, a knowledge-based system is developed to retrieve spatio-temporal dynamics of mangrove wetlands using multi-temporal remote sensing data. Radar remote sensing data are also used to provide complementary information for the quantitative analysis of mangrove wetlands. Radar remote sensing is able to penetrate mangrove forests and obtain the trunk information about mangrove structures. The integration of radar remote sensing with optical remote sensing can significantly improve the accuracies of classifying mangrove wetland types and estimating wetland biomass.
This study selected vegetation cover as the main evaluation index, calculated the grassland degradation index (GDI) and established the remote sensing monitoring and evaluation system for grassland degradation in Northern Tibet, according to the National Standard (GB19377-2003), based on the remote sensing data such as NDVI data derived from NOAA/AVHRR with a spatial resolution of 8 km of 1981-2000, from SPOT/VGT with a spatial resolution of 1 km of 2001 and from MODIS with a spatial resolution of 0.25 km of 2002-2004 respectively in this area, in combination with the actual condition of grassland degradation. The grassland degradation processes and their responses to climate change during 1981-2004 were discussed and analyzed in this paper. The result indicated that grassland degradation in Northern Tibet is very serious, and the mean value of GDI in recent 20 years is 2.54 which belongs to the serious degradation grade. From 1981 to 2004, the GDI fluctuated distinctly with great interannual variations in the proportion of degradation degree and GDI but the general tendency turned to severe-grade during this period with the grassland degradation grade changed from light degraded to serious degraded in Northern Tibet. The extremely serious degraded and serious degraded grassland occupied 1.7% and 8.0% of the study area, the moderate and light degraded grassland accounted for 13.2% and 27.9% respectively, and un-degraded grassland occupied 49.2% of the total grassland area in 2004. The grassland degradation was serious, especially in the conjunctive area of Naqu, Biru and Jiali counties, the headstream of the Yangtze River lying in the Galadandong snow mountain and glaciers, the area along the Qinghai-Tibet highway and railway, and areas around the Tanggula and Nianqingtanggula snow mountains and glaciers. So the snow mountains and glaciers as well as their adjacent areas in Northern Tibet were sensitive to climate change and the areas along the vital communication line with frequent human activities experienced relatively serious grassland degradation.
This paper firstly derived urban information from Defense Meteorological Satellite Program/Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) data in 1992, 1996 and 1998 with the support of statistical data, and then developed three basic urban models of polygon-urbanization, line-urbanization and point-urbanization in urban agglomerations from viewpoint of spatial analysis. The conclusions are as follows: (1) Urban patch numbers in the Bohai Rim increased from 1659 to 2053 with an annual average increase number of about 66. Meanwhile, the small urban patches accounted for a larger proportion in the region and the patch density increased fast. In addition, the urban barycenter of the region showed a moving trend toward northwest from 1992 to 1998. Urbanization in the Bohai Rim in the 1990s is fast and obvious. (2) Urbanization in the Bohai Rim can be reflected by three basic processes, i.e., the polygon-urbanization around the big cities, the line-urbanization around the transportation lines and the point-urbanization emerging in large areas. Of them, the polygon-urbanization has been in dominance. It is obviously within an effective range of 3-4 km surrounding the urban patches. The line-urbanization and point-urbanization in the region was relatively small, both of which showed an obvious increasing trend.
In this paper we adopt annual land use conditions change data, land sifting data, social, economic and population data and environment information of nine districts and four counties in Xi’an city from 1980 to 2000 to analyze its structural and degree change of land use since the 1980s, and calculate the benefits and transformation of land use type. The results show that the non-agricultural land increased rapidly, especially the urban and rural residential spots and industrial and mining (RIM) land use increased mostly rapidly, an increase of 64%. Meanwhile, the intensity of land exploitation was accelerating, land was transformed to industries with better benefit and areas experiencing faster urbanization process. By analyzing the harmonious degree of land exploitation in economic and environmental aspects, we find out that the land use imbalance mainly existed in the municipal area of Xi’an, and the imbalance index of land use based on GDP and non-agricultural population were respectively 12.37 and 14.67 in 2000, which were far higher than those in other regions. Nevertheless the environmental harmonious degree in the municipal area of Xi’an ranges between 0.6 and 0.8, which was better than that of suburban area. Some proposals addressing to the problems of harmonious level in all scales, resources utilization, projects management and feasibility analysis and intensive urbanization are also put forward.
Rapid land landscape change has taken place in many arid and semi-arid regions such as the vulnerable ecological area over the last decade. In this paper, we quantified land landscape change of Yulin in this area between 1985 and 2000 using remote sensing and GIS. It was found that fallow landscape decreased by 125,148 hm2 while grassland and woodland increased by 107,975 hm2 and 17,157 hm2, respectively. The major factors responsible for these changes are identified as the change in the government policy on preserving the environment, continued growth in mining, and urbanization. The efforts in restoring the deteriorated ecosystem have reaped certain benefits in reducing the spatial extent of sandy land through replacement by non-irrigated farmland, woodland and grassland. On the other hand, continued expansion of mining industry and urbanization has exerted adverse impacts on the land landscape. At present regional economic development conflicts directly with the protection of the natural environment. Such a conflict has caused the destruction to the land resources and fragmentation of the landscape accompanied by land desertification, the case is even serious in some localities.
The Huaihe River basin of Anhui is not only a transitional zone of physical geography, but also a convergent area of many cultures in China. It is one of the sensitive ecotones to global changes and the birthplace of Chinese civilization. Using the field archaeological data and the sporo-pollens and the age data of the drilling cores, we analysed Neolithic cultural development and environmental evolution in the Huaihe River basin of Anhui. According to the combination of some research results in archaeology with environmental evolution research, this paper discusses the relationship between culture and environment in the Huaihe River basin of Anhui. The Neolithic cultural development was strongly impacted by the environmental change. The primitive culture (Shishanzi) was developed in the beginning of the Holocene Megathermal Period with distinct regional feature of the culture. From 6.5 kaBP to 5.5 kaBP, the climate changed warmer and wetter. The frequent occurrence of flood and waterlog due to such a climate regime and high sea level caused the earth’s surface environment deteriorated in the Huaihe River basin of Anhui and the interruption of the Neolithic cultural development, hence a lack of archaeological sites. From 5.5 kaBP to 4.0 kaBP, the climate changed from wet to dry, the natural environment was propitious to human survival. Dawenkou Culture and Longshan Culture flourished in this period. The Neolithic cultural development, the number of the sites and their distribution characteristics of the sites in the study area differed apparently from those in Central China and Shandong Province.
The analysis results of oxygen isotopes, carbon isotopes, geochemistry and the growth belt of reef coral etc. for some profiles of coral reef show that the basic pattern of climatic fluctuation during the Quaternary period can be reflected by coral reef. The trend of climate change was from cooling to warming during the Early Pleistocene with at least four cycles, and from warming to cooling with at least seven cycles during the Middle Pleistocene. The late Pleistocene is a period of the Quaternary which shows the most frequent variation of climate but generally two main cycles of warming–cooling can be seen. During the Holocene the climate went through a process of warming-rise in temperature-drop in temperature. During the historical period there were four cycles of cooling-warming at 1700 a BP. During the last 200 years climate change is characterized by two stages; a positive deviation in the former 100 years, and a negative deviation in the latter 100 years with general warming trend.
The objective of this study is to investigate pollen-vegetation relationship in the Qilian Mountains. The eastern Qilian Mountains are located in the transitional zone of the Tibetan Plateau, the Loess Plateau and the arid region of Northwest China, which is one of the key areas of global environmental change. A total of 13 surface pollen samples from main vegetation have been collected. Pollen percentages were calculated in all samples. In order to reveal the relationship between pollen composition and the vegetation types from which the soil samples have been collected, Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) ordination method was employed on the pollen data. The results show that dominating vegetation types can be recognized by their pollen spectra: Picea crassifolia forest, alpine shrub and alpine meadow as well. Altitude and temperature determine the distribution of the surface pollen and the vegetation. The good agreement between modern vegetation and surface samples across this area provides a measure of the reliability of using pollen data to reconstruct paleoenvironment and paleovegetation patterns in this or other similar regions. However the loss of Betula pollen in forest needs further investigation. Pollen oxidation is the most important factor contributing to the damage of modern pollen in the study area. Pollen concentrations decrease with the increase of pH values of soils, and decrease sharply when the pH exceeds 7.6.
Henan province, located between 110°21’E—116°39’E and 31°23’N—36°22’N, stretches from warm-temperate to subtropical transitional zone. Its special position and resultant varied physical conditions, in its long geologic history, give rise to not only a rich but also complex and prominently transitional flora. Therefore, in-depth study of the floristic areal differentiation is of importance to Chinese florilization and in accurately drawing the boundary of warm-temperate and subtropic zones in China. Based on the recent floristic data, this paper conducts comparison and analysis of the floristic difference and resemblance among the Dabie, Tongbai, Funiu and Taihang Mts. in Henan province. The result shows that the Dabie and the Tongbai Mts. have the similar flora components, the northern and the southern slopes of the Funiu Mts. have identical flora, but the Taihang Mts. stand alone in their floristic character. Therefore these mountainous areas should be grouped into three floral regions in China: the Dabie and the Tongbai Mts. belong to East China Floral Region, the Taihang Mts. to North China Floral Region, and the two slopes of the Funiu Mts. to Central China region.
Complex erosion by wind and water, which is also called aeolian-fluvial interactions, is an important erosion process and landscape in arid and semiarid regions. The effectiveness of links between wind and water process, spatial environmental transitions and temporal environmental change are the three main driving forces determining the geomorphologic significance of aeolian-fluvial interactions. As a complex interrelating and intercoupling system, complex erosion by wind and water has spatial- temporal variation features. The process of complex erosion by wind and water can be divided into palaeoenvironmental process and contemporary process. Early work in drylands has often been attributed to one of two schools advocating either an ‘aeolianist’ or a ‘fluvialist’ perspective, so it was not until the 1930s that the research on complex erosion by wind and water had been conducted. There are two obstacles restricting the research of complex erosion by wind and water. Firstly, how to transform in different temporal and spatial scales is still unsettled; and secondly, the research methodology is still immature. In the future, the mechanism and control of erosion, the complex soil erodibility in wind and water erosion will be the focus of research on complex erosion by wind and water.
Under the assumptions of triangular cross section channel and uniform stable flow, an analytical solution of the minimum ecological in-stream flow requirement (MEIFR) is deduced. Based on the analytical solution, the uncertainty of the wetted perimeter method is analyzed by comparing the two techniques for the determination of the critical point on the relationship curve between wetted perimeter, P and discharge, Q. It is clearly shown that the results of MEIFR based on curvature technique (corresponding to the maximum curvature) and slope technique (slope being 1) are significantly different. On the P-Q curve, the slope of the critical point with the maximum curvature is 0.39 and the MEIFR varied prominently with the change of the slope threshold. This indicates that if a certain value of the slope threshold is not available for slope technique, curvature technique may be a better choice. By applying the analytical solution of MEIFR in the losing rivers of the Western Route South-to-North Water Transfer Project in China, the MEIFR value via curvature technique is 2.5%-23.7% of the multi-year average annual discharge, while that for slope technique is 11%-105.7%. General conclusions would rely on the more detailed research for all kinds of cross-sections.
Using the theory and method of the ecological footprint, and combining the changes of regional land use, resource environment, population, society and economy, this paper calculated the ecological footprint, ecological carrying capacity and ecological surplus/loss in 1986-2002 on the Loess Plateau in northern Shaanxi Province. What is more, this paper has put forward the concept of ecological pressure index, set up ecological pressure index models, and ecological security grading systems, and the prediction models of different ecological footprints, ecological carrying capacity, ecological surplus and ecological safety change, and also has assessed the ecological footprint demands of 10,000 yuan GDP. The results of this study are as follows: (1) the ecological carrying capacity in northern Shaanxi shows a decreasing trend, the difference of reducing range is the fastest; (2) the ecological footprint appears an increasing trend; (3) ecological pressure index rose to 0.91 from 0.44 during 1986-2002 on the Loess Plateau of northern Shaanxi with an increase of 47%; and (4) the ecological security in the study area is in a critical state, and the ecological pressure index has been increasing rapidly.