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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 739; doi:10.3390/su9050739

The Spatiotemporal Variation of Tree Cover in the Loess Plateau of China after the ‘Grain for Green’ Project

1
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
College of Resources Science and Technology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Takuo Nagaike and Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 28 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Abstract

Analyzing spatiotemporal variation of tree cover could enhance understanding of the environment and promote a sustainable resource use of ecosystems. This study investigated the variation in tree cover in the Loess Plateau after an ecological restoration effort called the ‘Grain for Green Project’ (GGP). The results show that the proportion of tree covered area in the Loess Plateau changed from 73% to 88%, with the cumulative tree cover fluctuating from approximately 7% to 11%, and the average annual tree cover increased from 10% in 2000 to 12% in 2014. Based on tree cover values over the course of 15 years, the study area was classified into five regions, which provide much more information for spatial assessment of tree cover change in the Loess Plateau spatially. The increase in tree cover value was mainly in the core part of Loess Plateau, the mountains, and the edge of the mountain areas; whereas the values were stable in 36.21% of the area, and a decrease was noted in 5.63% of the area, primarily located in the low plain areas. Approximately 26.36% of the Loess Plateau will show a sustained increase in tree cover in the future. The results of this study will facilitate us to understand the current conditions and development of the GGP’s effects, and offer a valuable reference for future detection of tree cover change through geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) tools. View Full-Text
Keywords: tree cover; spatiotemporal; Loess Plateau; GGP; sustainability; MODIS vegetation continuous fields (VCF) tree cover; spatiotemporal; Loess Plateau; GGP; sustainability; MODIS vegetation continuous fields (VCF)
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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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Wang, Y.; Kang, M.; Zhao, M.; Xing, K.; Wang, G.; Xue, F. The Spatiotemporal Variation of Tree Cover in the Loess Plateau of China after the ‘Grain for Green’ Project. Sustainability 2017, 9, 739.

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