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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 233; doi:10.3390/su10010233

A System Analysis on Steppe Sustainability and Its Driving Forces—A Case Study in China

1,2,* , 1
3,4,* , 5,6
Shandong Province “3S” Engineering Research Center, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qianwangang Road, Qingdao 266590, China
State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Beijing 100049, China
Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
School of Geographical Sciences and Planning, Guangxi Teachers Education University, Nanning 530001, China
Education Ministry Key Laboratory of Environment Evolution and Resources Utilization in Beibu Bay, Guangxi Teachers Education University, Nanning 530001, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degradation and Sustainable Management of Land)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4234 KB, uploaded 18 January 2018]   |  


Steppe is an indispensable component for terrestrial ecosystems and it is of great significance to systematically analyze steppe sustainability and its driving forces. In this study, we propose a steppe dynamics ranking method based on Pauta criterion and a steppe sustainability assessment method with an effect matrix. The natural driving forces on steppe sustainability were systematically analyzed using the copula model, and the anthropogenic driving factors, including land use, were analyzed by using spatial overlay and statistical analysis methods. The results showed the following: (1) in general, steppe sustainability showed a trend of improvement from 2001 to 2010 in China. However, there were still some degraded areas scattered within the study area; (2) the consistent effect of steppe dynamics on steppe sustainability was significant on the whole, although there was a diverse effect on it; (3) among the natural factors, precipitation was the strongest positive driving force, followed by temperature average, while sunshine duration had strong negative driving force. The impact caused by land use factors was controlled during that decade, and the steppe land that evolved from urban and built-up land, cropland, and forest was vulnerable and resulted in steppe sustainability degradation. View Full-Text
Keywords: steppe sustainability; steppe dynamics; copula; Pauta criterion; effect matrix steppe sustainability; steppe dynamics; copula; Pauta criterion; effect matrix

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhao, X.; Gao, Q.; Yue, Y.; Duan, L.; Pan, S. A System Analysis on Steppe Sustainability and Its Driving Forces—A Case Study in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 233.

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