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Ecological restoration under rural restructuring: A case study of Yan’an in China’s loess plateau

Wang, Jieyong, Liu, Yanjiao, Li, Yuri
Land use policy 2019 v.87 pp. 104087
case studies, cropland, ecological restoration, ecotourism, normalized difference vegetation index, rural areas, rural development, urbanization, China
The contemporary ecological projects paid more attention to the coordination between ecological restoration and rural development. China have launched the world’s largest Grain for Green Program and made significant achievements in this respect in south-west and north-west regions. This paper uses Yan’an as its case study location to bring the detailed spatiotemporal process of vegetation restoration to light and interpret the role of socioeconomic restructuring in rural areas as a mechanism for driving forward ecological restoration. The results showed that vegetation restoration in Yan’an has emerged as a continuous process and holistic pattern with 91.6% area NDVI index increasing from 2000 to 2015, but returned slope cropland directly account for only 15.68% of NDVI growth. The NDVI growth is closely related to change of rural resident population, proportion of agricultural output and regional urbanization level which signifying rural restructuring. Rural economic restructuring, social community reshaping and rural space readjustment have reduced the dependence of these areas on resources and environment, improved the man-land relationship, and spurred sustained, stable and holistic ecological restoration. In addition to supporting eco-compensation and ecotourism industries, more active and comprehensive measures should be adopted to promote rural restructuring and make ecological restoration more stable and sustainable.