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Assessing the spatial-temporal pattern and evolution of areas sensitive to land desertification in North China

Xu, Duanyang, You, Xiaogang, Xia, Chunlin
Ecological indicators 2019 v.97 pp. 150-158
basins, climate change, desertification, ecology, environmental indicators, grasslands, humans, China
Desertification is a global threat to human beings, and effective desertification control requires an interdisciplinary approach to identify the pattern and evolution of sensitive areas. Based on the ESA (Environmental Sensitive Areas) principles and real desertification conditions in North China, the Land Desertification Sensitivity Index (LDSI) was constructed to identify the pattern of areas sensitive to desertification in 1981–2010 as well as their evolution under different climate change scenarios from 2011 to 2030. The results show that regions with low and medium sensitivity to desertification were dominant in North China, which together accounted for 61.93% of the study region. From 1981 to 2010, the average LDSI of North China experienced a decreasing trend, and sensitive areas were mainly distributed in the east of Horqin grassland, Chaidamu basin, the east of Tarim basin, and Zhungeer basin. For the period of 2011–2030, the average LDSI of the whole research region also deceased under both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios. However, some regions, e.g., Turpan Hami basin and Zhungeer basin, become more sensitive to desertification. Attention should be paid to desertification control and ecology protection measures in these regions.