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Ecosystem Health Assessment of World Natural Heritage Sites Based on Remote Sensing and Field Sampling Verification: Bayanbulak as Case Study

by Zhi Wang 1,2, Zhaoping Yang 1,*, Hui Shi 1, Fang Han 1, Qin Liu 1,2, Jianwei Qi 1,2 and Yayan Lu 1,2
1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2610; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072610 (registering DOI)
Received: 4 March 2020 / Revised: 22 March 2020 / Accepted: 23 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
Monitoring the ecosystem health for world natural heritage sites is essential for protecting them and benefits the formulation of more targeted protection policies. This study used Bayanbulak world natural heritage site as a case, established a framework for assessing the ecosystem health through remote sensing based on the parameters of ecosystem vigour, organization, resilience, and services. Then, we verified the obtained results through field sampling. The results show that the ecosystem health in the overall study area had declined over time, however, the health within the property zone remained at high levels and stable. The area proportion of low health was low and primarily distributed in the buffer zone. Thus, in general, the ecosystem in the study area was healthy. Besides, the ecosystem health exhibited distinct spatial agglomeration characteristics, and the degree of agglomeration enhanced over time. In addition, the field vegetation samplings were consistent with the changes in the ecosystem health levels, therefore, the result of RS monitoring of ecosystem health were credible. Thus, this study provides a scientific basis for heritage managers to formulate suitable ecological protection policies and should aid further research on the ecological monitoring of heritage sites. View Full-Text
Keywords: world natural heritage conservation; heritage monitoring; spatial autocorrelation; field vegetation verification; VORS model world natural heritage conservation; heritage monitoring; spatial autocorrelation; field vegetation verification; VORS model
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Wang, Z.; Yang, Z.; Shi, H.; Han, F.; Liu, Q.; Qi, J.; Lu, Y. Ecosystem Health Assessment of World Natural Heritage Sites Based on Remote Sensing and Field Sampling Verification: Bayanbulak as Case Study. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2610.

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