Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation in Jungar Banner of China during 2000–2017


It is known that the exploitation of opencast coal mines has seriously damaged the environments in the semi-arid areas. Vegetation status can reliably reflect the ecological degeneration and restoration in the opencast mining areas in the semi-arid areas. Long-time series MODIS NDVI data are widely used to simulate the vegetation cover to reflect the disturbance and restoration of local ecosystems. In this study, both qualitative (linear regression method and coefficient of variation (CoV)) and quantitative (spatial buffer analysis, and change amplitude and the rate of change in the average NDVI) analyses were conducted to analyze the spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation during 2000–2017 in Jungar Banner of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, at the large (Jungar Banner and three mine groups) and small (three types of functional areas: opencast coal mining excavation areas, reclamation areas and natural areas) scales. The results show that the rates of change in the average NDVI in the reclamation areas (20%–60%) and opencast coal mining excavation areas (10%–20%) were considerably higher than that in the natural areas (<7%). The vegetation in the reclamation areas experienced a trend of increase (3–5 a after reclamation)-decrease (the sixth year of reclamation)-stability. The vegetation in Jungar Banner has a spatial heterogeneity under the influences of mining and reclamation activities. The ratio of vegetation improvement area to vegetation degradation area in the west, southwest and east mine groups during 2000–2017 was 8:1, 20:1 and 33:1, respectively. The regions with the high CoV of NDVI above 0.45 were mainly distributed around the opencast coal mining excavation areas, and the regions with the CoV of NDVI above 0.25 were mostly located in areas with low (28.8%) and medium-low (10.2%) vegetation cover. The average disturbance distances of mining activities on vegetation in the three mine groups (west, southwest and east) were 800, 800 and 1000 m, respectively. The greater the scale of mining, the farther the disturbance distances of mining activities on vegetation. We conclude that vegetation reclamation will certainly compensate for the negative impacts of opencast coal mining activities on vegetation. Sufficient attention should be paid to the proportional allocation of plant species (herbs and shrubs) in the reclamation areas, and the restored vegetation in these areas needs to be protected for more than 6 a. Then, as the repair time increased, the vegetation condition of the reclamation areas would exceed that of the natural areas.

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