Research Articles

Spatiotemporal changes in vegetation coverage and its driving factors in the Three-River Headwaters Region during 2000-2011

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. College of Resources Science &|Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    3. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    4. College of Tourism and Environment, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China
Liu Xianfeng (1986-), PhD Candidate, specialized in application of remote sensing and GIS in geography.

Received date: 2013-09-25

  Revised date: 2013-10-22

  Online published: 2014-03-24

Supported by

Major Project of High-resolution Earth Observation System


The Three-River Headwaters Region (TRHR),which is the source area of the Yangtze River,Yellow River,and Lancang River,is of key importance to the ecological security of China. Because of climate changes and human activities,ecological degradation occurred in this region. Therefore,"The nature reserve of Three-River Source Regions" was established,and "The project of ecological protection and construction for the Three-River Headwaters Nature Reserve" was implemented by the Chinese government. This study,based on MODIS-NDVI and climate data,aims to analyze the spatiotemporal changes in vegetation coverage and its driving factors in the TRHR between 2000 and 2011,from three dimensions. Linear regression,Hurst index analysis,and partial correlation analysis were employed. The results showed the following:(1) In the past 12 years (2000-2011),the NDVI of the study area increased,with a linear tendency being 1.2%/10a,of which the Yangtze and Yellow River source regions presented an increasing trend,while the Lancang River source region showed a decreasing trend. (2) Vegetation coverage presented an obvious spatial difference in the TRHR,and the NDVI frequency was featured by a bimodal structure. (3) The area with improved vegetation coverage was larger than the degraded area,being 64.06% and 35.94%,respectively during the study period,and presented an increasing trend in the north and a decreasing trend in the south. (4) The reverse characteristics of vegetation coverage change are significant. In the future,degradation trends will be mainly found in the Yangtze River Basin and to the north of the Yellow River,while areas with improving trends are mainly distributed in the Lancang River Basin. (5) The response of vegetation coverage to precipitation and potential evapotranspiration has a time lag,while there is no such lag in the case of temperature. (6) The increased vegetation coverage is mainly attributed to the warm-wet climate change and the implementation of the ecological protection project.

Cite this article

LIU Xianfeng, ZHANG Jinshui, ZHU Xiufang, PAN Yaozhong, LIU Yanxu, ZHANG Donghai, LIN Zhihui . Spatiotemporal changes in vegetation coverage and its driving factors in the Three-River Headwaters Region during 2000-2011[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2014 , 24(2) : 288 -302 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-014-1088-0


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