Accurately identifying the spatiotemporal variations and driving factors of ecosystem services (ES) in ecological restoration is important for ecosystem management and the sustainability of nature conservation strategies. As the Green for Grain project proceeds, food provision, water regulation and climate regulation services in the Northern Shaanxi Loess Plateau (NSLP) are changing and have caused broad attention. In this study, the dynamic pattern of the normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) and the main drivers of grain production (GP), water yield (WY) and net primary production (NPP) in the NSLP from 2000-2013 are identified by incorporating multiple data and methods, in order to provide a better understanding of how and why ES change during ecological restoration. WY was simulated by hydrological modeling, and NPP was estimated with the Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach (CASA) model. The results show that vegetation restoration continued from 2000-2013, but fluctuated because of the comprehensive influence of climate and human activity. GP and NPP both exhibited significantly increasing trends, while changes in WY occurred in two stages: decline (2000-2006) and growth (2007-2013). Spatially, significantly increasing trends in NPP and WY were detected in 52.73% and 24.76% of the region, respectively, in areas that correspond with the Green for Grain project and high precipitation growth. Correlation and partial correlation analyses show that there were different dominant factors (i.e., natural vs. anthropogenic) driving ES change in the NSLP from 2000-2013. The change in WY was mainly driven by precipitation, while the improvements in GP and NPP can be attributed to investments in natural capital (i.e., chemical fertilizer, agricultural machinery power and afforestation). We also found that vegetation restoration can produce positive effects on NPP, but negative effects on WY by using response analyses of WY or NPP change to NDVI change, demonstrating that additional research on the role of water in vegetation restoration is needed. Our results provide support for ES management and the sustainable development of ecological restoration in the NSLP.
GFG involves the effort to return cultivated land on steep slopes to perennial vegetation and afforest barren hills and wasteland using a government payment scheme, which engages millions of rural households as core agents of project implementation it can be seen that 694 km2 and 556 km2 of croplands in 2000 have been replaced by woodlands (including scrublands) and grasslands, respectively, due to the GFG project. Woodland coverage increased by 10.13%, while cropland coverage decreased by 4.19% during the 11-year period. At the same time, the grasslands increased by only 0.13%, because many grasslands were converted into woodlands.
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Reduced water availability||Negative||Water yield (10^3m^3) - measured over time across the study area WY is the result of the balancing of PPT and ET  and can be calculated as: WY = PPT - ET|
Located in northern Shaanxi Province, China (35 210–39 340 N and 107 410–110 310 E) (Figure 1b), Located in northern Shaanxi Province, China (35°21’–39°34’ N and 107°41’–110°31’ E) (Figure 1b), the NSLP covers an area of approximately 8.03 ⇥ 104 km2 and consists of 25 counties (Figure 1a) the NSLP covers an area of approximately 8.03 × 104 km2 and consists of 25 counties (Figure 1a) belonging to two prefectures, Yan’an and Yulin (Figure 1c). High in the west and becoming lower in the belonging to two prefectures, Yan’an and Yulin (Figure 1c). High in the west and becoming lower in east, the NSLP is a hilly, gullied area of the Loess Plateau [29,30]. The Mu Us desert in the northwest the east, the NSLP is a hilly, gullied area of the Loess Plateau [29,30]. The Mu Us desert in the of Yulin has a primarily psammophyte vegetation type. Huanglong Mountain and Ziwu Mountain northwest of Yulin has a primarily psammophyte vegetation type. Huanglong Mountain and Ziwu in southern Yan’an are the main forest-covered areas in the NSLP, and vegetation coverage there is Mountain in southern Yan’an are the main forest-covered areas in the NSLP, and vegetation coverage relatively high. The eastern section of the NSLP is flat, and land use categories there mainly consist of there is relatively high. The eastern section of the NSLP is flat, and land use categories there mainly cropland and grassland.