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Estimating Relations of Vegetation, Climate Change, and Human Activity: A Case Study in the 400 mm Annual Precipitation Fluctuation Zone, China

1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,* and 1,2,3
1
College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
2
Key Laboratory of Geospatial Technology for Middle and Lower Yellow River Region, Kaifeng 475004, China
3
Collaborative Innovation Center of Urban-Rural Coordinated Development, Zhengzhou 450046, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(10), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11101159
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

The 400 mm annual precipitation fluctuation zone (75°55′–127°6′E and 26°55′–53°6′N) is located in central and western China, which is a transition area from traditional agricultural to animal husbandry. It is extremely sensitive to climatic changes. The corresponding changes of the ecosystem, represented by vegetation, under the dual influences of climate change and human activities are important issues in the study of the regional ecological environment. Based on the Savitzky–Golay (S–G) filtering method, the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset (NDVI3g) was reconstructed in this paper. Sen’s slope estimation, Mann–Kendall (M–K), multiple regression residual analysis, and the Hurst index were used to quantify the impacts of climate change and human activities on vegetation; in addition, the future persistence characteristics of the vegetation changes trend were analyzed. Vegetation changes in the study area had an obvious spatio-temporal heterogeneity. On an annual scale, the vegetation increased considerably, with a growth rate of 0.50%/10a. The multi-year mean value of NDVI and growth rate of cultivated land were the highest, followed by the forest land and grassland. On a seasonal scale, the vegetation cover increased most significantly in autumn, followed by spring and summer. In the southeastern and central parts of the study area, the vegetation cover increased significantly (P < 0.05), while it decreased significantly in the northeastern and southwestern parts. In summer, the NDVI value of all vegetation types (cultivated land, forest land and grassland) reached the maximum. The change rate of NDVI value for cultivated land reached the highest in autumn (1.57%/10a), forest land reached the highest in spring (1.15%/10a), and grassland reached the highest in autumn (0.49%/10a). The NDVI of cultivated land increased in all seasons, while forest land (−0.31%/10a) and grassland (−0.009%/10a) decreased in winter. Partial correlation analysis between vegetation and precipitation, temperature found that the areas with positive correlation accounted for 66.29% and 55.05% of the total area, respectively. Under the influence of climate change alone, 62.79% of the study area showed an increasing tendency, among which 46.79% showed a significant upward trend (P < 0.05). The NDVI decreased in 37.21% of the regions and decreased significantly in 14.88% of the regions (P < 0.05). Under the influence of human activities alone, the vegetation in the study area showed an upward trend in 59.61%, with a significant increase in 41.35% (P < 0.05), a downward trend in 40.39%, and a significant downward trend in 7.95% (P < 0.05). Vegetation growth is highly unstable and prone to drastic changes, depending on the environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation; climate change; human activity; GIMMS NDVI3g; 400-mm annual precipitation fluctuation zone vegetation; climate change; human activity; GIMMS NDVI3g; 400-mm annual precipitation fluctuation zone
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Li, Y.; Xie, Z.; Qin, Y.; Zheng, Z. Estimating Relations of Vegetation, Climate Change, and Human Activity: A Case Study in the 400 mm Annual Precipitation Fluctuation Zone, China. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1159.

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