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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8335-8353; doi:10.3390/su7078335

Ecosystem Services Evaluation and Its Spatial Characteristics in Central Asia’s Arid Regions: A Case Study in Altay Prefecture, China

College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
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Abstract

Ecosystem services are important foundations to realize the sustainable development of economy and society. The question of how to quantitatively evaluate ecosystem services in a scientific way is a hot topic among international researchers. Studying the spatial characteristics of ecosystem services in arid regions can provide the theoretical and practical basis for coordinating a sustainable man-land relationship. Altay Prefecture of China, a typical arid region in Central Asia, was taken as the study area. It is on the Silk Road economic belt, which is a key region in the program of developing Western China. Three ecosystem services: water yield, soil conservation, and net primary productivity were quantitatively evaluated. The results show that (1) the spatial distribution pattern has a distinct characteristic of zonality; (2) mountain zone and mountain-oasis ecotone are the hotspots of ecosystem services; and (3) the correlation between water yield and net primary productivity shows a gradual increasing trend as altitude decreases. Objective analysis from the aspect of mechanism is given by discussing the causes of this particular pattern. It is found that altitude and slope have great influence on spatial distributions of ecosystem services, zones with the most amount of services are distributed in 1.5–2 km-altitude and 15–25°-slope. Different human activities in different regions and spatial distance decay of ecosystem services also contribute to the formation of spatial pattern. Thus, overgrazing, logging and mining are prohibited in mountain zones and mountain-oasis ecotones. Scholars are encouraged to focus on desert-ecosystem services in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem services; sustainability; mountain-basin system; spatial pattern; Central Asia’s arid regions ecosystem services; sustainability; mountain-basin system; spatial pattern; Central Asia’s arid regions
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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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Fu, Q.; Li, B.; Yang, L.; Wu, Z.; Zhang, X. Ecosystem Services Evaluation and Its Spatial Characteristics in Central Asia’s Arid Regions: A Case Study in Altay Prefecture, China. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8335-8353.

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