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Vegetation Restoration and Its Environmental Effects on the Loess Plateau

Hongfei Zhao (), Hongming He (), Jingjing Wang (), Chunyu Bai () and Chuangjuan Zhang ()
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Hongfei Zhao: School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 210062, China
Hongming He: School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 210062, China
Jingjing Wang: State of Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest University of Agriculture and Forestry, Yangling 712100, China
Chunyu Bai: State of Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest University of Agriculture and Forestry, Yangling 712100, China
Chuangjuan Zhang: State of Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest University of Agriculture and Forestry, Yangling 712100, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 12, 1-17

Abstract: An analysis of land use/cover change (LUCC) on the Loess Plateau over the past 30 years and its environmental effects was performed to provide scientific guidance for a sustainable development policy for the regional ecological environment and social economy. Geostatistical and trend analyses are used to study the LUCC characteristics, driving forces and environmental effects, and the relationship between LUCC and regional sustainable development is explored. The following results were obtained: (1) Overall, the land use structure has not changed, with grassland, farmland, and forest land remaining dominant; however, the vegetation coverage has significantly increased, especially in the central area. (2) LUCC is affected by climate change and human activities, with greater climate change impacts in the northwest than the southeast and greater among which human-induced impacts on the hilly/gully region in the central part. (3) LUCC will produce long-term ecological and environmental processes, such as surface runoff, soil erosion, soil moisture and carbon cycling. Vegetation restoration has both negative and positive effects on the regional ecological environment. Vegetation productivity on the Loess Plateau has approached the water resource carrying capacity threshold. Therefore, improving artificial vegetation stability and promoting the water resources balance have become the main strategies for promoting sustainable development on the Loess Plateau.

Keywords: vegetation restoration; LUCC; Loess Plateau; sustainable development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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