Vegetation is one of the most important components of the terrestrial ecosystem and, thus, monitoring the spatial and temporal dynamics of vegetation has become the key to exploring the basic process of the terrestrial ecosystem. Vegetation change studies have focused on the relationship between climatic factors and vegetation dynamics. However, correlations among the climatic factors always disturb the results. In addition, the impact of anthropogenic activities on vegetation dynamics was indeterminate. Here, vegetation dynamics in 14 provinces in Eastern China over a 10-year period was quantified to determine the driving mechanisms relating to climate and anthropogenic factors using partial correlation analysis. The results showed that from 1999 to 2008, the vegetation density increased in the whole, with spatial variations. The vegetation improvement was concentrated in the Yangtze River Delta, with the vegetation degradation concentrated in the other developed areas, such as Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region and the Pearl River Delta. The annual NDVI changes were mainly driven by temperature in Northeast China and the Pearl River Delta, and by precipitation in the Bohai Rim; while in the Yangtze River Delta, the driving forces of temperature and precipitation almost equaled each other. Furthermore, the impact of anthropogenic activities on vegetation dynamics had accumulative effects in the time series, and had a phase effect on the vegetation change trend.
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