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Title: Ecological engineering projects increased vegetation cover, production, and biomass in semiarid and subhumid Northern China

Abstract

Multiple ecological engineering projects have been implemented in semiarid and subhumid Northern China since 1978 with the purpose to combat desertification, control dust storms, and improve vegetation cover. Although a plethora of local studies exist, the effectiveness of these projects has not been studied in a systematic and comprehensive way. Here, we used multiple satellite-based time-series data as well as breakpoint analysis to assess shifts in leaf area index (a proxy for green vegetation cover), gross primary production, and aboveground biomass in Northern China. We documented increased vegetation growth in northwest and southeastern parts of the region, despite drought anomalies as documented by the standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index during 1982–2016. Significant breakpoints in leaf area index were observed for over 72.5% of the southeastern and northwestern regions, and 70.6% of these breakpoints were detected after 1999, which correspond well to the areas with the highest ecological engineering efforts. Areas with negative trends were mainly located in the Inner Mongolian Plateau, Hulun Biur, Horqin Sand Land, and urban areas. The Loess Plateau had the largest increase in vegetation growth, followed by the north parts of Northern China where biomass increased more in the provinces of Shanxi, Liaoning, Shannxi, Hebei, and Beijing thanmore » Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tianjin, and Qinghai. Our results show that multiple ecological engineering projects in the region have increased vegetation cover, production, and aboveground biomass that have led to improved environmental conditions in the study area.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [5];  [4];  [4]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [6];  [6];  [8]; ORCiD logo [8];  [9];  [9];  [5]
  1. Lanzhou Univ. (China); Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States); Emergency Mapping Engineering Reseach Center, Gansu Province, Lanzhou (China)
  2. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States); Fudan Univ., Shanghai (China). Ministry of Education Key Lab. for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Inst. of Biodiversity Science
  3. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States); Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
  4. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States)
  5. Lanzhou Univ. (China)
  6. Univ. of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  7. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Changsha (China). Key Lab. for Agro‐ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Inst. of Subtropical Agriculture
  8. Boston Univ., MA (United States)
  9. Southwest Forestry Univ., Kunming (China)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation of China
OSTI Identifier:
1580908
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC02-05CH11231; 41461084; 31860181]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Land Degradation and Development
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 30; Journal Issue: 13]; Journal ID: ISSN 1085-3278
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; breakpoint; effectiveness; remote sensing; trend; vegetation regrowth

Citation Formats

Niu, Quanfu, Xiao, Xiangming, Zhang, Yao, Qin, Yuanwei, Dang, Xinghai, Wang, Jie, Zou, Zhenhua, Doughty, Russell B., Brandt, Martin, Tong, Xiaowei, Horion, Stephanie, Fensholt, Rasmus, Chen, Chi, Myneni, Ranga B., Xu, Weiheng, Di, Guangzhi, and Zhou, Xiaoming. Ecological engineering projects increased vegetation cover, production, and biomass in semiarid and subhumid Northern China. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1002/ldr.3351.
Niu, Quanfu, Xiao, Xiangming, Zhang, Yao, Qin, Yuanwei, Dang, Xinghai, Wang, Jie, Zou, Zhenhua, Doughty, Russell B., Brandt, Martin, Tong, Xiaowei, Horion, Stephanie, Fensholt, Rasmus, Chen, Chi, Myneni, Ranga B., Xu, Weiheng, Di, Guangzhi, & Zhou, Xiaoming. Ecological engineering projects increased vegetation cover, production, and biomass in semiarid and subhumid Northern China. United States. doi:10.1002/ldr.3351.
Niu, Quanfu, Xiao, Xiangming, Zhang, Yao, Qin, Yuanwei, Dang, Xinghai, Wang, Jie, Zou, Zhenhua, Doughty, Russell B., Brandt, Martin, Tong, Xiaowei, Horion, Stephanie, Fensholt, Rasmus, Chen, Chi, Myneni, Ranga B., Xu, Weiheng, Di, Guangzhi, and Zhou, Xiaoming. Mon . "Ecological engineering projects increased vegetation cover, production, and biomass in semiarid and subhumid Northern China". United States. doi:10.1002/ldr.3351.
@article{osti_1580908,
title = {Ecological engineering projects increased vegetation cover, production, and biomass in semiarid and subhumid Northern China},
author = {Niu, Quanfu and Xiao, Xiangming and Zhang, Yao and Qin, Yuanwei and Dang, Xinghai and Wang, Jie and Zou, Zhenhua and Doughty, Russell B. and Brandt, Martin and Tong, Xiaowei and Horion, Stephanie and Fensholt, Rasmus and Chen, Chi and Myneni, Ranga B. and Xu, Weiheng and Di, Guangzhi and Zhou, Xiaoming},
abstractNote = {Multiple ecological engineering projects have been implemented in semiarid and subhumid Northern China since 1978 with the purpose to combat desertification, control dust storms, and improve vegetation cover. Although a plethora of local studies exist, the effectiveness of these projects has not been studied in a systematic and comprehensive way. Here, we used multiple satellite-based time-series data as well as breakpoint analysis to assess shifts in leaf area index (a proxy for green vegetation cover), gross primary production, and aboveground biomass in Northern China. We documented increased vegetation growth in northwest and southeastern parts of the region, despite drought anomalies as documented by the standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index during 1982–2016. Significant breakpoints in leaf area index were observed for over 72.5% of the southeastern and northwestern regions, and 70.6% of these breakpoints were detected after 1999, which correspond well to the areas with the highest ecological engineering efforts. Areas with negative trends were mainly located in the Inner Mongolian Plateau, Hulun Biur, Horqin Sand Land, and urban areas. The Loess Plateau had the largest increase in vegetation growth, followed by the north parts of Northern China where biomass increased more in the provinces of Shanxi, Liaoning, Shannxi, Hebei, and Beijing than Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tianjin, and Qinghai. Our results show that multiple ecological engineering projects in the region have increased vegetation cover, production, and aboveground biomass that have led to improved environmental conditions in the study area.},
doi = {10.1002/ldr.3351},
journal = {Land Degradation and Development},
number = [13],
volume = [30],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {6}
}

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    journal, January 2006

    • Chen, Yaning; Takeuchi, Kuniyoshi; Xu, Changchun
    • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 20, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6200

    Land cover and landscape changes in Shaanxi Province during China’s Grain for Green Program (2000–2010)
    journal, September 2015

    • Chen, Hai; Marter-Kenyon, Jessica; López-Carr, David
    • Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 187, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1007/s10661-015-4881-z

    An overview of the “Three-North” Shelterbelt project in China
    journal, February 2012


    China's ecological rehabilitation: Unprecedented efforts, dramatic impacts, and requisite policies
    journal, June 2006


    Complexity of ecological restoration in China
    journal, March 2013


    Multiple afforestation programs accelerate the greenness in the ‘Three North’ region of China from 1982 to 2013
    journal, February 2016


    Forest cover maps of China in 2010 from multiple approaches and data sources: PALSAR, Landsat, MODIS, FRA, and NFI
    journal, November 2015


    Assessing the Three-North Shelter Forest Program in China by a novel framework for characterizing vegetation changes
    journal, November 2017


    Long-term vegetation monitoring with NDVI in a diverse semi-arid setting, central New Mexico, USA
    journal, July 2004


    Has the Three Norths Forest Shelterbelt Program solved the desertification and dust storm problems in arid and semiarid China?
    journal, January 2010


    Trend analysis of MODIS NDVI time series for detecting land degradation and regeneration in Mongolia
    journal, February 2015


    Potential water yield reduction due to forestation across China
    journal, September 2006


    The evolution of Greenways in China
    journal, April 2006


    Wavelet analysis of MODIS time series to detect expansion and intensification of row-crop agriculture in Brazil
    journal, February 2008

    • Galford, Gillian L.; Mustard, John F.; Melillo, Jerry
    • Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 112, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2007.05.017

    North American vegetation dynamics observed with multi-resolution satellite data
    journal, April 2008


    Detecting trend and seasonal changes in satellite image time series
    journal, January 2010

    • Verbesselt, Jan; Hyndman, Rob; Newnham, Glenn
    • Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 114, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2009.08.014

    Phenological change detection while accounting for abrupt and gradual trends in satellite image time series
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    • Verbesselt, Jan; Hyndman, Rob; Zeileis, Achim
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    • DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2010.08.003

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    • de Jong, Rogier; de Bruin, Sytze; de Wit, Allard
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    Changes in vegetation photosynthetic activity trends across the Asia–Pacific region over the last three decades
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    journal, March 2008

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    Drought Offset Ecological Restoration Program-Induced Increase in Vegetation Activity in the Beijing-Tianjin Sand Source Region, China
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    • DOI: 10.1038/465031d

    Greening of the Earth and its drivers
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    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 8
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    Evidence for a weakening relationship between interannual temperature variability and northern vegetation activity
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    • Piao, Shilong; Nan, Huijuan; Huntingford, Chris
    • Nature Communications, Vol. 5, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6018

    Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands
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    • Nature Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 2, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0530-6

    Increased vegetation growth and carbon stock in China karst via ecological engineering
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    A global moderate resolution dataset of gross primary production of vegetation for 2000–2016
    journal, October 2017


    Earlier vegetation green-up has reduced spring dust storms
    journal, October 2014

    • Fan, Bihang; Guo, Li; Li, Ning
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 4, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep06749

    China's Grain for Green Program has reduced soil erosion in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the middle reaches of the Yellow River
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    • Zhou, Z. C.; Gan, Z. T.; Shangguan, Z. P.
    • International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, Vol. 16, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1080/13504500903007931

    Grassland ecosystems in China: review of current knowledge and research advancement
    journal, February 2007

    • Kang, Le; Han, Xingguo; Zhang, Zhibin
    • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 362, Issue 1482
    • DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2029

    Detection and attribution of vegetation greening trend in China over the last 30 years
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    • Piao, Shilong; Yin, Guodong; Tan, Jianguang
    • Global Change Biology, Vol. 21, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12795

    Ground- and satellite-based evidence of the biophysical mechanisms behind the greening Sahel
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    • Brandt, Martin; Mbow, Cheikh; Diouf, Abdoul A.
    • Global Change Biology, Vol. 21, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12807

    Chinese forest policy reforms after 1998: the case of the Natural Forest Protection Program and the Slope Land Conversion Program
    journal, September 2013


    Modeling Gross Primary Production of an Evergreen Needleleaf Forest Using Modis and Climate data
    journal, June 2005

    • Xiao, Xiangming; Zhang, Qingyuan; Hollinger, David
    • Ecological Applications, Vol. 15, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1890/04-0470

    A High Resolution Dataset of Drought Indices for Spain
    journal, June 2017

    • Vicente-Serrano, Sergio M.; Tomas-Burguera, Miquel; Beguería, Santiago
    • Data, Vol. 2, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.3390/data2030022

    Shifts in Global Vegetation Activity Trends
    journal, March 2013

    • de Jong, Rogier; Verbesselt, Jan; Zeileis, Achim
    • Remote Sensing, Vol. 5, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.3390/rs5031117

    Three-North Shelter Forest Program contribution to long-term increasing trends of biogenic isoprene emissions in northern China
    journal, January 2016

    • Zhang, Xiaodong; Huang, Tao; Zhang, Leiming
    • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 16, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-6949-2016

    Landsat-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+ based accuracy assessment of leaf area index products for Canada derived from SPOT-4 VEGETATION data
    journal, January 2003

    • Fernandes, Richard; Butson, Chris; Leblanc, Sylvain
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    • DOI: 10.5589/m02-092