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A System Analysis on Steppe Sustainability and Its Driving Forces—A Case Study in China

Xiangwei Zhao (), Qian Gao (), Yaojie Yue (), Lian Duan () and Shun Pan ()
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Xiangwei Zhao: Shandong Province “3S” Engineering Research Center, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qianwangang Road, Qingdao 266590, China
Qian Gao: Shandong Province “3S” Engineering Research Center, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qianwangang Road, Qingdao 266590, China
Yaojie Yue: Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Lian Duan: School of Geographical Sciences and Planning, Guangxi Teachers Education University, Nanning 530001, China
Shun Pan: Shandong Province “3S” Engineering Research Center, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qianwangang Road, Qingdao 266590, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 1, 1-19

Abstract: Steppe is an indispensable component for terrestrial ecosystems and it is of great significance to systematically analyze steppe sustainability and its driving forces. In this study, we propose a steppe dynamics ranking method based on Pauta criterion and a steppe sustainability assessment method with an effect matrix. The natural driving forces on steppe sustainability were systematically analyzed using the copula model, and the anthropogenic driving factors, including land use, were analyzed by using spatial overlay and statistical analysis methods. The results showed the following: (1) in general, steppe sustainability showed a trend of improvement from 2001 to 2010 in China. However, there were still some degraded areas scattered within the study area; (2) the consistent effect of steppe dynamics on steppe sustainability was significant on the whole, although there was a diverse effect on it; (3) among the natural factors, precipitation was the strongest positive driving force, followed by temperature average, while sunshine duration had strong negative driving force. The impact caused by land use factors was controlled during that decade, and the steppe land that evolved from urban and built-up land, cropland, and forest was vulnerable and resulted in steppe sustainability degradation.

Keywords: steppe sustainability; steppe dynamics; copula; Pauta criterion; effect matrix (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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