Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2006, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (1): 57-68.doi: 10.1007/s11442-006-0106-2

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effects of land-use types and conversions on desertification in Mu Us Sandy Land of China

HAO Chengyuan1,2, WU Shaohong1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2005-06-07 Revised:2005-09-26 Online:2006-03-25 Published:2006-03-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40171040; Knowledge Innovation Project of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, No.CXIOG-A02-03


Based on multi-temporal remotely sensed materials of both 1985 and 2000, we analyzed the effects of land-use types and their conversions on desertification in Mu Us Sandy Land in the agro-pastoral transitional zone of north central China. In this study, the desertified land was classified into five degrees: potential, light, medium, severe and extreme. The results indicate that the extent of desertification expands slightly, while desertification degree is enhanced significantly. About 22.35% of the total land area in the study area is in the desertification course, and the expanded area of both severely and extremely desertified land accounts for 3.67% of the total area of Mu Us Sandy Land. About 9053 km2 of area witnessed changes in land-use types between 1985 and 2000, which accounted for 10.75% of the total. More importantly, the area of conversions among cultivated land, forestland and rangeland added up to 971.6 km2. This research reveals that both improper land-use types and conversions could accelerate the desertification process. Both cultivated land and forestland have more effects on the desertification development than rangeland. Some land-use type conversions, such as rangeland to cultivated land, rangeland to forestland and forestland to cultivated land, are attributed to the acceleration of the desertification development while the opposite can control the desertification development.

Key words: land-use type, desertification, Mu Us Sandy Land, agricultural land, agro-pastoral transitional zone