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Migration of Rural Residents to Urban Areas Drives Grassland Vegetation Increase in China’s Loess Plateau

1
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, No. 222, South Tianshui Road, Lanzhou 730000, China
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State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University, Xining 810016, China
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Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecosystem Protection and Restoration, School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei 230601, China
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PLECO (Plants and Ecosystems), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
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Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6764; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236764
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 24 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 28 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
Human activities are critical factors influencing ecosystem sustainability. However, knowledge on regarding the mechanisms underlying the response of vegetation dynamics to human activities remains limited. To detect the driving factors and their individual contribution to the grassland vegetation dynamics in China’s Loess Plateau, a structural equation model (SEM) and a principal component regression model were built. The SEM showed that population change and urbanization, temperature and humidity, and agriculture and economy accounted for 62.5%, 31.2%, and 7.7%, respectively, of the overall impact directly affecting grassland vegetation dynamics. Furthermore, the principal component regression model demonstrated that the effects of the urbanization rate on the grassland above-ground biomass exceeded those of the other factors. The agriculture population had the maximum negative effect on grassland area. The higher the urbanization rate means the higher the number of residents migrates from rural to urban areas. Following this argument, the disturbances of human activities to grassland vegetation were expected to gradually decrease in rural areas, where the vast majority of the Loess Plateau is located. The migration of rural residents to urban areas promoted the increase in biomass and areas of grassland vegetation. Our findings suggest that the effect of urbanization should be considered when assessing vegetation change. View Full-Text
Keywords: grassland vegetation dynamics; urbanization; structural equation model; Loess Plateau; human activity; climate change grassland vegetation dynamics; urbanization; structural equation model; Loess Plateau; human activity; climate change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, J.-Z.; Zheng, K.; Zhang, F.; Fang, C.; Zhou, Y.-Y.; Li, X.-C.; Li, F.-M.; Ye, J.-S. Migration of Rural Residents to Urban Areas Drives Grassland Vegetation Increase in China’s Loess Plateau. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6764. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236764

AMA Style

Wei J-Z, Zheng K, Zhang F, Fang C, Zhou Y-Y, Li X-C, Li F-M, Ye J-S. Migration of Rural Residents to Urban Areas Drives Grassland Vegetation Increase in China’s Loess Plateau. Sustainability. 2019; 11(23):6764. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236764

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Jian-Zhou; Zheng, Kai; Zhang, Feng; Fang, Chao; Zhou, Yu-Yu; Li, Xue-Cao; Li, Feng-Min; Ye, Jian-Sheng. 2019. "Migration of Rural Residents to Urban Areas Drives Grassland Vegetation Increase in China’s Loess Plateau" Sustainability 11, no. 23: 6764. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236764

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