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Time Series of Landsat Imagery Shows Vegetation Recovery in Two Fragile Karst Watersheds in Southwest China from 1988 to 2016

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The State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, USA
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The Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
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Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
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Department of sediment research, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100048, China
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Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
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Key Laboratory of Karst Dynamics, Institute of Karst Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Guilin 541004, China
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The International Research Center on Karst, UNESCO, Guilin 541004, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(17), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11172044
Received: 2 July 2019 / Revised: 4 August 2019 / Accepted: 28 August 2019 / Published: 30 August 2019
Since the implementation of China’s afforestation and conservation projects during recent decades, an increasing number of studies have reported greening trends in the karst regions of southwest China using coarse-resolution satellite imagery, but small-scale changes in the heterogenous landscapes remain largely unknown. Focusing on two typical karst regions in the Nandong and Xiaojiang watersheds in Yunnan province, we processed 2,497 Landsat scenes from 1988 to 2016 using the Google Earth Engine cloud platform and analyzed vegetation trends and associated drivers. We found that both watersheds experienced significant increasing trends in annual fractional vegetation cover, at a rate of 0.0027 year−1 and 0.0020 year−1, respectively. Notably, the greening trends have been intensifying during the conservation period (2001–2016) even under unfavorable climate conditions. Human-induced ecological engineering was the primary factor for the increased greenness. Moreover, vegetation change responded differently to variations in topographic gradients and lithological types. Relatively more vegetation recovery was found in regions with moderate slopes and elevation, and pure limestone, limestone and dolomite interbedded layer as well as impure carbonate rocks than non-karst rocks. Partial correlation analysis of vegetation trends and temperature and precipitation trends suggested that climate change played a minor role in vegetation recovery. Our findings contribute to an improved understanding of the mechanisms behind vegetation changes in karst areas and may provide scientific supports for local afforestation and conservation policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation change; Google Earth Engine; afforestation and conservation projects; climate change; karst rocky desertification; southwest China vegetation change; Google Earth Engine; afforestation and conservation projects; climate change; karst rocky desertification; southwest China
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pei, J.; Wang, L.; Wang, X.; Niu, Z.; Kelly, M.; Song, X.-P.; Huang, N.; Geng, J.; Tian, H.; Yu, Y.; Xu, S.; Wang, L.; Ying, Q.; Cao, J. Time Series of Landsat Imagery Shows Vegetation Recovery in Two Fragile Karst Watersheds in Southwest China from 1988 to 2016. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11172044

AMA Style

Pei J, Wang L, Wang X, Niu Z, Kelly M, Song X-P, Huang N, Geng J, Tian H, Yu Y, Xu S, Wang L, Ying Q, Cao J. Time Series of Landsat Imagery Shows Vegetation Recovery in Two Fragile Karst Watersheds in Southwest China from 1988 to 2016. Remote Sensing. 2019; 11(17):2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11172044

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pei, Jie, Li Wang, Xiaoyue Wang, Zheng Niu, Maggi Kelly, Xiao-Peng Song, Ni Huang, Jing Geng, Haifeng Tian, Yang Yu, Shiguang Xu, Lei Wang, Qing Ying, and Jianhua Cao. 2019. "Time Series of Landsat Imagery Shows Vegetation Recovery in Two Fragile Karst Watersheds in Southwest China from 1988 to 2016" Remote Sensing 11, no. 17: 2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11172044

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