Measuring the impact of livestock grazing on grassland above-ground net primary production (ANPP) is essential for grass yield estimation and pasture management. However, since there is a lack of accurate and repeatable techniques to obtain the details of grazing locations and stocking rates at the regional scale, it is an extremely challenging task to study the influence of regional grazing on the grassland ANPP. Taking Zoige County as a case, this paper proposes an approach to quantify the spatial and temporal variation of grazing intensity and grazing period through time-series remote sensing data, simulated grassland ANPP through the denitrification and decomposition (DNDC) model, and then explores the impact of grazing on grassland ANPP. The result showed that the model-estimated ANPP while considering grazing had a significant relationship with the field-observed ANPP, with the coefficient of determination (R2
) of 0.75, root mean square error (RMSE) of 122.86 kgC/ha, and average relative error (RE) of 8.77%. On the contrary, if grazing activity was not considered in simulation, a large uncertainty was found when the model-estimated ANPP was compared with the field observation, showing R2
of 0.4, RMSE of 211.51 kgC/ha, and average RE of 32.5%. For the whole area of Zoige County in 2012, the statistics of the estimation showed that the total regional ANPP was up to 3.815 × 105
tC, while the total regional ANPP, without considering grazing, would be overestimated by 44.4%, up to 5.51 × 105
tC. This indicates that the grazing parameters derived in this study could effectively improve the accuracy of ANPP simulation results. Therefore, it is feasible to combine time-series remote sensing data with the process model to simulate the grazing effects on grassland ANPP. However, some issues, such as selecting proper remote sensing data, improving the quality of model input parameters, collecting more field data, and exploring the data assimilation approaches, still should be considered in the future work.
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