Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Responses of vegetation cover to the Grain for Green Program and their driving forces in the He-Long region of the middle reaches of the Yellow River


The implementation of the Grain for Green Program is a great breakthrough in the history of China's ecological environment construction, which can control soil erosion effectively, increase land productivity and improve the ecological environment. To investigate the eco-environmental benefits brought by the Grain for Green Program, the spatiotemporal variations of vegetation cover in the growing season from 2000 to 2010 across the Hekou-Longmen (He-Long) region were analyzed by using remote sensing information, meteorological data and land use data. Moreover, the impacts of climate and human activities on vegetation change were evaluated objectively. Annual vegetation cover in the growing season increased very significantly. Increased vegetation cover occurred in 98.7% of the region, of which the area for vegetation cover improved slightly constituted 79.8% of the whole area. Vegetation moderately improved was mainly distributed in the south of the He-Long region, covering 9.6% of the area, and the area for vegetation basically unchanged concentrated in the middle and upper reaches of the Wuding River. Precipitation was found to be an important natural factor influencing vegetation cover change. The area of vegetation cover showing a significantly positive correlation with precipitation occupied 22.14% of the region. As driven by policies from the Grain for Green Program, forestland increased significantly and land use structure became more intensive. Human activities played a positive and effective role in the protection, restoration and improvement of vegetation in the places where vegetation cover was basically unchanged, even though precipitation declined greatly, and vegetation improved moderately with massive increases of forestland and grassland.

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