The Yellow River Delta (YRD), located in Yellow River estuary, is characterized by rich ecological system types, and provides habitats or migration stations for wild birds, all of which makes the delta an ecological barrier or ecotone for inland areas. Nevertheless, the abundant natural resources of YRD have brought huge challenges to the area, and frequent human activities and natural disasters have damaged the ecological systems seriously, and certain ecological functions have been threatened. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the status of the ecological environment based on scientific methods, which can provide scientifically robust data for the managers or stakeholders to adopt timely ecological protection measures. The aim of this study was to obtain the spatial distribution of the ecological vulnerability (EV) in YRD based on 21 indicators selected from underwater status, soil condition, land use, landform, vegetation cover, meteorological conditions, ocean influence, and social economy. In addition, the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) method was used to obtain the weights of the selected indicators, and a fuzzy logic model was constructed to obtain the result. The result showed that the spatial distribution of the EV grades was regular, while the fuzzy membership of EV decreased gradually from the coastline to inland area, especially around the river crossing, where it had the lowest EV. Along the coastline, the dikes had an obviously protective effect for the inner area, while the EV was higher in the area where no dikes were built. This result also showed that the soil condition and groundwater status were highly related to the EV spatially, with the correlation coefficients −0.55 and −0.74 respectively, and human activities had exerted considerable pressure on the ecological environment.
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