The grassland ecosystem in the Northern-Tibet Plateau (NTP) of China is verysensitive to weather and climate conditions of the region. In this study, we investigate thespatial and temporal variations of the grassland ecosystem in the NTP using theNOAA/AVHRR ten-day maximum NDVI composite data of 1981-2001. The relationshipsamong Vegetation Peak-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (VP-NDVI) and climatevariables were quantified for six counties within the NTP. The notable and unevenalterations of the grassland in response to variation of climate and human impact in theNTP were revealed. Over the last two decades of the 20th century, the maximum greennessof the grassland has exhibited high increase, slight increase, no-change, slight decrease andhigh decrease, each occupies 0.27%, 8.71%, 77.27%, 13.06% and 0.69% of the total area ofthe NTP, respectively. A remarkable increase (decrease) in VP-NDVI occurred in thecentral-eastern (eastern) NTP whereas little change was observed in the western andnorthwestern NTP. A strong negative relationship between VP-NDVI and ET0 was foundin sub-frigid, semi-arid and frigid- arid regions of the NTP (i.e., Nakchu, Shantsa, Palgonand Amdo counties), suggesting that the ET0 is one limiting factor affecting grasslanddegradation. In the temperate-humid, sub-frigid and sub-humid regions of the NTP (Chaliand Sokshan counties), a significant inverse correlation between VP-NDVI and populationindicates that human activities have adversely affected the grassland condition as waspreviously reported in the literature. Results from this research suggest that the alterationand degradation of the grassland in the lower altitude of the NTP over the last two decades of the 20th century are likely caused by variations of climate and anthropogenic activities.