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The grassland ecosystem in the Northern-Tibet Plateau (NTP) of China is very sensitive to weather and climate conditions of the region. In this study, we investigate the spatial and temporal variations of the grassland ecosystem in the NTP using the NOAA/AVHRR ten-day maximum NDVI composite data of 1981-2001. The relationships among Vegetation Peak-Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (VP-NDVI) and climate variables were quantified for six counties within the NTP. The notable and uneven alterations of the grassland in response to variation of climate and human impact in the NTP were revealed. Over the last two decades of the 20th century, the maximum greenness of the grassland has exhibited high increase, slight increase, no-change, slight decrease and high decrease, each occupies 0.27%, 8.71%, 77.27%, 13.06% and 0.69% of the total area of the NTP, respectively. A remarkable increase (decrease) in VP-NDVI occurred in the central-eastern (eastern) NTP whereas little change was observed in the western and northwestern NTP. A strong negative relationship between VP-NDVI and ET 0 was found in sub-frigid, semi-arid and frigid- arid regions of the NTP (i.e., Nakchu, Shantsa, Palgon and Amdo counties), suggesting that the ETo is one limiting factor affecting grassland degradation. In the temperate-humid, sub-frigid and sub-humid regions of the NTP (Chali and Sokshan counties), a significant inverse correlation between VP-NDVI and population indicates that human activities have adversely affected the grassland condition as was previously reported in the literature. Results from this research suggest that the alteration and degradation of the grassland in the lower altitude of the NTP over the last two decades of the 20th century are likely caused by variations of climate and anthropogenic activities. ?? 2007 by MDPI.
Additional Publication Details
Evaluation of grassland dynamics in the northern-tibet plateau of china using remote sensing and climate data