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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1164; doi:10.3390/su9071164

Assessing the Role of Policies on Land-Use/Cover Change from 1965 to 2015 in the Mu Us Sandy Land, Northern China

1,2,* , 1
and
1
1
Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 260 West Donggang Road, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu Province, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Geography and Environmental Sustainability)
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Abstract

Policy has long been considered one of the major driving forces for land-use/cover change. However, research on the interactions between land-use/cover change (LUCC) and relevant policies remains limited. The agropastoral ecotone is a typical area of policy implementation and LUCC. Therefore, this study integrates the use of multisource and multiresolution remote sensing and topographic and field-based datasets for the case of the Mu Us Sandy Land (MUSL) in northern China. The research aim was to quantify LUCC from 1965 to 2015 and describe the relationship between policy changes and land-use types during three stages: the stage of the Great Cultural Revolution, the stage of the modernization of the economy, and the stage of the Great Ecological Project. The results indicated that land use was affected by different national policies because of the national approach to land use during different periods. In the stage of the Great Cultural Revolution, the amount of cultivated land increased, and the environment deteriorated under the influence of leftists. In the stage of the modernization of the economy, vegetation coverage improved after the initial damage, and cultivated and artificial surfaces also increased. In the stage of the Great Ecological Project, cultivated land and unused land decreased, and woodland and sparse vegetation increased with the implementation of the Grain for Green Project (GGP). However, cultivated land increased but wood land and sparse vegetation decreased significantly by the end of the GGP. The coverage of artificial surfaces increased and grasslands decreased due to the encroachment of artificial surfaces into grasslands. View Full-Text
Keywords: policy; land-use/cover change; agropastoral ecotone; Mu Us Sandy Land policy; land-use/cover change; agropastoral ecotone; Mu Us Sandy Land
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Li, S.; Wang, T.; Yan, C. Assessing the Role of Policies on Land-Use/Cover Change from 1965 to 2015 in the Mu Us Sandy Land, Northern China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1164.

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