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Water 2017, 9(8), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080588

Trade-Offs and Synergies in Ecosystem Service within the Three-Rivers Headwater Region, China

1
School of Engineering and Technology, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
2
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4
State Key Lab of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management within Inland River Watershed)
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Abstract

The Three-Rivers Headwaters region (TRHR) is an ecological shelter located in the northeast of the Tibetan Plateau, China, that provides environmental protection and regional sustainable development. This region also provides ecosystem services including water supply and soil conservation and exerts major impacts on both its surroundings, as well as the whole of China. A number of ecological restoration projects have been initiated within the TRHR since 2000, including the creation of a natural reserve. Analyses of trends in land use/land cover (LULC), net primary productivity (NPP), water yield and soil conservation within the TRHR are presented based on regional climate and land use datasets and utilizing the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model in tandem with the double mass curve (DMC) approach. The results of this study reveal a series of correlations between ecosystem services and lead to four distinct conclusions. First, the amount of variation between 2000 and 2012 in each LULC type within the TRHR was small. In particular, grassland substitution occurred in high-altitude areas and increased in central areas. Second, NPP, water yield, soil conservation amount and the volume of exported phosphorus (P) decreased along an east-west gradient with values of 64.44%, 38.81%, 7.37% and −49.98% recorded, respectively, between 2000 and 2012. The ecosystem services of the Yellow River basin to the east of the TRHR generally improved over the study period, while those of the Yangtze River and Lancang River basins where enhanced to a lesser extent, and obvious degradation was observed in some local areas. Third, the ecosystem services provided by forested land were highest, followed by grassland and cultivated land, respectively. Fourth, synergistic relationships were observed within the TRHR between NPP, water yield and soil conservation amount, indicating that increasing NPP simultaneously increased the values for these related factors. Synergistic relationships were also recorded between water yield and the amount of exported P, suggesting that increases in the former cause a reduction in water purity. View Full-Text
Keywords: water yield; soil conservation; NPP; synergy; ecosystem service; Three-Rivers Headwater region; Tibetan Plateau; China water yield; soil conservation; NPP; synergy; ecosystem service; Three-Rivers Headwater region; Tibetan Plateau; China
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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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Han, Z.; Song, W.; Deng, X.; Xu, X. Trade-Offs and Synergies in Ecosystem Service within the Three-Rivers Headwater Region, China. Water 2017, 9, 588.

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