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Assessing the effect of EWDP on vegetation restoration by remote sensing in the lower reaches of Tarim River

Bao, Anming, Huang, Yue, Ma, Yonggang, Guo, Hui, Wang, Yongqin
Ecological indicators 2017 v.74 pp. 261-275
basins, ecological restoration, ecosystems, grasslands, hydrology, land use, landscapes, remote sensing, rivers, shrublands, surveys, water management
In this study, effect of ecological water diversion on vegetation restoration in the lower reaches of Tarim River is assessed by coupling remote sensing techniques and a field-based survey. Land use/cover and fractional vegetation coverage (Fvc) maps derived from remote sensing images, ground validation data, and hydrological observation data are adopted to analyze the responses of Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP). The results indicate that, the EWDP has showed a positive effect on vegetation restoration in the lower part of Tarim Basin. During 2001 to 2013, transformation from unused land to nature vegetation (i.e. forest land, grassland and scrubland) was the major process of land use/cover change; the area of natural vegetation showed a 4.7% increase, and the area of unused land reduced by 6.8%. Landscape patch size was decreased, the degree of fragmentation and diversity of landscape was increased, and landscape structure in the study area became more complex. Moreover, vegetation coverage promoted from 2001 to 2013; average Fvc in 2013 was 1.5 times greater than that in 2001. The results can provide not only an accurate assessment for the EWDP, but also a visual insight for the water resources management practices in the study area, such that the sustainability for local ecosystem can be facilitated.