Based on county-level crop statistics and other ancillary information, spatial distribution of maize in the major maize-growing areas (latitudes 39°-48°N) was modelled for the period 1980-2010 by using a cross-entropy-based spatial allocation model. Maize extended as far north as the northern part of the Lesser Khingan Mountains during the period, and the area sown to maize increased by about 5 million ha. More than half of the increase occurred before 2000, and more than 80% of it in the climate transitional zone, where the annual accumulated temperature (AAT) was 2800-3400 °C·d. Regions with AAT of 3800-4000 °C·d became more important, accounting for more than 25% of the increase after 2000. The expansion of maize was thus closely related to warming, although some variation in the distribution was noticed across zones in relation to the warming, indicating that maize in northeast China may have adapted successfully to the warming by adjusting its spatial distribution to match the changed climate.
Comprehensive information on geographic patterns of leaf morphological traits in Chinese forests is still scarce. To explore the spatial patterns of leaf traits, we investigated leaf area (LA), leaf thickness (LT), specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf dry matter content (LDMC) across 847 species from nine typical forests along the North-South Transect of Eastern China (NSTEC) between July and August 2013, and also calculated the community weighted means (CWM) of leaf traits by determining the relative dominance of each species. Our results showed that, for all species, the means (± SE) of LA, LT, SLA, and LDMC were 2860.01 ± 135.37 mm2, 0.17 ± 0.003 mm, 20.15 ± 0.43 m2 kg-1, and 316.73 ± 3.81 mg g-1, respectively. Furthermore, latitudinal variation in leaf traits differed at the species and community levels. Generally, at the species level, SLA increased and LDMC decreased as latitude increased, whereas no clear latitudinal trends among LA or LT were found, which could be the result of shifts in plant functional types. When scaling up to the community level, more significant spatial patterns of leaf traits were observed (R2 = 0.46-0.71), driven by climate and soil N content. These results provided synthetic data compilation and analyses to better parameterize complex ecological models in the future, and emphasized the importance of scaling-up when studying the biogeographic patterns of plant traits.
Twenty-one typical coupled large samples were chosen from areas within and surrounding nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau using the large sample comparison method (LSCM). To evaluate the effectiveness of the nature reserves in protecting the ecological environment, the alpine grassland net primary production (NPP) of these coupled samples were compared and the differences between them before and after their establishment as protected areas were analyzed. The results showed that: (1) With respect to the alpine grassland NPP, the ecological and environmental conditions of most nature reserves were more fragile than those of the surrounding areas and also lower than the average values for the Tibetan Plateau. (2) Of the 11 typical nature reserves selected, the positive trend in the NPP for Manzetang was the most significant, whereas there was no obvious trend in Taxkorgan. With the exception of Selincuo, the annual NPP growth rate in the nature reserves covered by alpine meadow and wetland was higher than that in nature reserves consisting of alpine steppe and alpine desert. (3) There were notable findings in 21 typical coupled samples: (a) After the establishment of the nature reserves, the annual rate of increase in the NPP in 76% of samples inside nature reserves and 82% of samples inside national nature reserves was higher than that of the corresponding samples outside nature reserves. (b) The effectiveness of ecological protection of the Mid-Kunlun, Changshagongma, Zoige and Selincuo (Selin Co) nature reserves was significant; the effectiveness of protection was relatively significant in most parts of the Sanjiangyuan and Qiangtang nature reserves, whereas in south-east Manzetang and north Taxkorgan the protection effectiveness was not obvious. (c) The ecological protection effectiveness was significant in nature reserves consisting of alpine meadow, but was weak in nature reserves covered by alpine steppe. This study also shows that the advantage of large sample comparison method in evaluating regional ecology change. Careful design of the samples used, to ensure comparability between the samples, is crucial to the success of this LSCM.
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.
Based on a 0.5°×0.5° daily gridded precipitation dataset and observations in meteorological stations released by the National Meteorological Information Center, the interannual variation of areal precipitation in the Qilian Mountains during 1961-2012 is investigated using principal component analysis (PCA) and regression analysis, and the relationship between areal precipitation and drought accumulation intensity is also analyzed. The results indicate that the spatial distribution of precipitation in the Qilian Mountains can be well reflected by the gridded dataset. The gridded data-based precipitation in mountainous region is generally larger than that in plain region, and the eastern section of the mountain range usually has more precipitation than the western section. The annual mean areal precipitation in the Qilian Mountains is 724.9×108 m3, and the seasonal means in spring, summer, autumn and winter are 118.9×108 m3, 469.4×108 m3, 122.5×108 m3 and 14.1×108 m3, respectively. Summer is a season with the largest areal precipitation among the four seasons, and the proportion in summer is approximately 64.76%. The areal precipitation in summer, autumn and winter shows increasing trends, but a decreasing trend is seen in spring. Among the four seasons, summer have the largest trend magnitude of 1.7×108 m3×a-1. The correlation between areal precipitation in the mountainous region and dry-wet conditions in the mountains and the surroundings can be well exhibited. There is a negative correlation between drought accumulation intensity and the larger areal precipitation is consistent with the weaker drought intensity for this region.
Lake ice phenology, i.e. the timing of freeze-up and break-up and the duration of the ice cover, is regarded as an important indicator of changes in regional climate. Based on the boundary data of lakes, some moderate-high resolution remote sensing datasets including MODIS and Landsat TM/ETM+ images and the meteorological data, the spatial-temporal variations of lake ice phenology in the Hoh Xil region during the period 2000-2011 were analyzed by using RS and GIS technology. And the factors affecting the lake ice phenology were also identified. Some conclusions can be drawn as follows. (1) The time of freeze-up start (FUS) and freeze-up end (FUE) of lake ice appeared in the late October-early November, mid-November - early December, respectively. The duration of lake ice freeze-up was about half a month. The time of break-up start (BUS) and break-up end (BUE) of lake ice were relatively dispersed, and appeared in the early February - early June, early May - early June, respectively. The average ice duration (ID) and the complete ice duration (CID) of lakes were 196 days and 181 days, respectively. (2) The phenology of lake ice in the Hoh Xil region changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Specifically, the FUS and FUE time of lake ice showed an increasingly delaying trend. In contrast, the BUS and BUE time of lake ice presented an advance. This led to the reduction of the ID and CID of lake. The average rates of ID and CID were -2.21 d/a and -1.91 d/a, respectively. (3) The variations of phenology and evolution of lake ice were a result of local and climatic factors. The temperature, lake area, salinity and shape of the shoreline were the main factors affecting the phenology of lake ice. However, the other factors such as the thermal capacity and the geological structure of lake should not be ignored as well. (4) The spatial process of lake ice freeze-up was contrary to its break-up process. The type of lake ice extending from one side of lakeshore to the opposite side was the most in the Hoh Xil region.
The paper presents the analysis of tendencies in water level changes in 32 lakes in Poland during 1976-2010. Series of monthly, seasonal, and annual precipitation and air temperature for 9 meteorological stations were also studied. The trend analysis for all of the studied series of water levels in lakes showed high spatial and temporal variability. Series of annual water levels in the case of 6 lakes showed statistically significant increasing tendencies, and in 7 lakes, significant decreasing trends. Series of annual amplitudes in the majority of lakes (22) showed a decreasing trend, but they were statistically significant only in three cases. The tendencies for air temperature fluctuations are more statistically significant than precipitation. The key role in determining water level changes is played by local factors, particularly including human economic activity, obscuring the effect of natural factors on water level changes. The paper describes cases of changes in water levels in lakes under anthropopressure related to among others: agricultural irrigations, hydropower infrastructure, water transfers, navigation, or mining.
Detailed knowledge about the estimates and spatial patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) stocks is fundamental for sustainable land management and climate change mitigation. This study aimed at: (1) mapping the spatial patterns, and (2) quantifying SOC and TN stocks to 30 cm depth in the Eastern Mau Forest Reserve using field, remote sensing, geographical information systems (GIS), and statistical modelling approaches. This is a critical ecosystem offering essential services, but its sustainability is threatened by deforestation and degradation. Results revealed that elevation, silt content, TN concentration, and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager band 11 explained 72% of the variability in SOC stocks, while the same factors (except silt content) explained 71% of the variability in TN stocks. The results further showed that soil properties, particularly TN and SOC concentrations, were more important than that other environmental factors in controlling the observed patterns of SOC and TN stocks, respectively. Forests stored the highest amounts of SOC and TN (3.78 Tg C and 0.38 Tg N) followed by croplands (2.46 Tg C and 0.25 Tg N) and grasslands (0.57 Tg C and 0.06 Tg N). Overall, the Eastern Mau Forest Reserve stored approximately 6.81 Tg C and 0.69 Tg N. The highest estimates of SOC and TN stocks (hotspots) occurred on the western and northwestern parts where forests dominated, while the lowest estimates (coldspots) occurred on the eastern side where croplands had been established. Therefore, the hotspots need policies that promote conservation, while the coldspots need those that support accumulation of SOC and TN stocks.