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Contrast Effects of Vegetation Cover Change on Evapotranspiration during a Revegetation Period in the Poyang Lake Basin, China

Wang, Ying, Liu, Yuanbo, Jin, Jiaxin
Forests 2018 v.9 no.4
basins, evapotranspiration, land restoration, spatial data, vegetation cover, watersheds, China
It is known that evapotranspiration (ET) differs before and after vegetation change in watersheds. However, impacts of vegetation change on ET remain incompletely understood. In this paper, we investigated the process-specific, nonclimatic contribution (mainly vegetation coverage changes) to ET at grid, sub-basin, and basin scales using observation and remote sensing data. The Poyang Lake Basin was selected as the study area, which experienced a fast vegetation restoration from 1983 to 2014. Our results showed that vegetation cover change produced contrasting effects on annual ET in magnitude and direction during shifts from a less covered to a more covered stage. At the early stage (1983–1990), with vegetation cover of 30%, vegetation cover change produced negative effects on ET over the basin. At the middle stage (1990–2000), the vegetation coverage increased at a fast pace and the negative effects gradually shifted to positive. At the late stage (2000–2014), the vegetation coverage remained high (over 60%) and maintained a positive relationship with ET. In summary, the vegetation effects are collaboratively influenced by both vegetation coverage and its change rate. Our findings should be helpful for a comprehensive understanding of complicated hydrological responses to anthropogenic revegetation.