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Regional Ecological Risk Assessment in the Huai River Watershed during 2010–2015

by Yan Lu 1,2,3,4, Fen Qin 1,3,4,*, Zhongbing Chang 5 and Shuming Bao 6
Laboratory of Geospatial Technology for the Middle and Lower Yellow River Regions, Ministry of Education, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
School of Water Conservancy & Environment, Zhengzhou University, 100 Kexue Avenue, Zhengzhou 450001, China
College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Jinming Avenue, Kaifeng 475004, China
Henan Industrial Technology Academy of Spatio-Temporal Big Data, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
China Data Center of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2231;
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 26 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
Ecosystem deterioration has been and is still a serious threat to human survival and regional economic development. Theoretical and methodological challenges exist in assessing ecological risk of watershed ecosystem that is imposed by natural changes or human activities. To fill this research gap, this research proposes an interdisciplinary and quantitative methodology based on some techniques such as the Procedure for Ecological Tiered Assessment of Risk (PETAR), the Entropy, and the Celluar Automata Markov (CA-Markov). We focused on six vulnerable environmental variables, namely land-use change, water quantity, water quality, gross domestic product (GDP), environmental pollutants, and soil erosion in the Huai River watershed in the Henan Province in order to build multi-dimensional quantitative method. Further, the Coupling Coordination Degree Model is constructed, and the “threshold index” is also addressed to reflect the limitation of ecological risk. Our results show that the spatio-temperal distribution of the eco-environmental quality has greatly varied across this study area during different time spans. Natural eco-environmental quality has moderately degraded in 70% of this study area (mainly agricultural region), at a prefectural level from 2000 to 2010, and has slightly improved over the agricultural region (<170 m above sea level) during 2010–2015. However, when considering negative stressors from human social system on the natural ecosystem, the extent and distribution of the ecological risk varied across the whole area during 2000–2015. The results show that there was almost 90.40% of this region under the ecological risk, with varying extents over the study time, e.g., Kaifeng, Shangqiu, Xuchang, and Xinyang, with a moderate deterioration in the eco-environmental quality, and Zhengzhou with a slight deterioration in the eco-environmental quality. This paper provides a valuable perspective for governments at all levels to manage watershed environment resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: regional ecological risk; watershed ecosystem; Procedure for Ecological Tiered Assessment of Risk (PETAR) model; land-use change regional ecological risk; watershed ecosystem; Procedure for Ecological Tiered Assessment of Risk (PETAR) model; land-use change
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Lu, Y.; Qin, F.; Chang, Z.; Bao, S. Regional Ecological Risk Assessment in the Huai River Watershed during 2010–2015. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2231.

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