The Loess Plateau experiences the most serious soil erosion problems in China and possibly even globally. Many measures have been taken to increase the vegetation cover and to control soil erosion. Of these measures, the Grain for Green Project, launched in 1999, has been the most effective, changing the ecological and socio-economic situation of the Plateau significantly. Using time series normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from 1981 to 2013, this study analysed spatial patterns of changes in vegetation cover, detected spatial patterns of the abrupt-change time of NDVI trends, and investigated factors that may contribute to these changes. The results showed that (a) vegetation restoration was obvious over the last decades, especially in the 2000s, and the increase in NDVI during 2000-2013 was more than 3-times that during 1990-2000. Approximately 54.99% of the Plateau during 2000-2013 had a statistically significant increase, mainly distributing in loess hilly and gully region and loess gully region. (b) Vegetation restoration was comprehensively affected by climate change and human activities (e.g., the Grain for Green Project, urbanization and policies), and the effects of each factor varied for different regions. (c) Vegetation in most of the Plateau began to increase around 2007-2010, and 4 discrete areas with different timings of such break points were detected. The difference in the timing of break points in NDVI may be related with precipitation, reproducing tree species, management measures, and survival rate. These results imply that integrating natural and human factors is important when making effective and suitable measures and policies.
Afforestation from the Grain for green; “the GGP was the largest and most effective ecological construction project in China (Y. P. Chen et al., 2015; Lü et al., 2012; S. Wang, Fu, et al., 2015). A pilot project was initiated in Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Gansu in 1999. The nationwide implementation occurred in two phases after 2002.”
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Biomass cover loss||Positive||NDVI|
The Loess Plateau region; This region covers an area of some 650,000 km2 in the upper and middle reaches of China's Yellow River, accounting for 6.76% of China's land area, and includes 341 counties in seven provinces (all of Shanxi and Ningxia; almost all of Shaanxi; and parts of Henan, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Qinghai)