Climate and Environmental Change

Land cover change along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Railway from 1981 to 2001

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    2. Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, Beijing 100085, China|
    3. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100039, China

Received date: 2006-02-16

  Revised date: 2006-05-18

  Online published: 2006-12-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China; No.90202012; National Basic Research Program of China, No.2005CB422006; No. 2002CB412507


Based on the NOAA AVHRR-NDVI monthly data from 1981 to 2001, the spatial distribution and dynamic change of land cover along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Railway were studied. The results of the analytical data indicate that the NDVI values in July, August and September are rather high during a year, and a linear trend by calculating NDVI of each pixel computed based on the average values of NDVI in July, August and September were obtained. The results are as follows: 1) Land cover of the study area by NDVI displays high at two sides of the area and low in the center, and agriculture area > alpine meadow > alpine grassland > desert grassland. 2) In the study area, the amount of pixels with high increase, slight increase, no change, slight decrease and high decrease account for 0.29%, 14.86%, 67.61%, 16.7% and 0.57% of the whole area, respectively. The increase of land cover pixels is mainly in the agriculture and alpine meadow and the decrease pixels mainly in the alpine grassland, desert grassland and hungriness. Grassland and hungriness contribute to the decrease mostly and artificial land and meadow contribute to the increase mostly. 3) In the area where human beings live, the changing trend is obvious, such as the valleys of Lhasa River and Huangshui River and area along the Yellow River; in the high altitude area with fewer people living, the changing trend is relatively low, like the area of Hoh Xil. 4) Human being’s behaviors are a key factor followed by the climate changes affecting land cover.

Cite this article

DING Mingjun, ZHANG Yili, SHEN Zhenxi, LIU Linshan, ZHANG Wei, WANG Zhaofeng, BAI Wanqi, ZHENG Du . Land cover change along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Railway from 1981 to 2001[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2006 , 16(4) : 387 -395 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-006-0401-y