Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (5): 768-780.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201605006

• Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The using of composite indicators to assess the conservational effectiveness of ecosystem services in China

Liwei ZHANG1(), Bojie FU2, Yihe LÜ2, Zhibao DONG1,3, Yingjie LI1, Yuan ZENG4, Bingfang WU4   

  1. 1. Department of Geography, Tourism and Environment College of Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710119, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100085, China
    3. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
    4. Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 100094, China
  • Received:2015-10-14 Revised:2015-12-30 Online:2016-05-25 Published:2016-05-25
  • Supported by:
    The Commonwealth Project of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, No;201409055, No.201209027-4;The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Shaanxi Normal University, No.GK201603078]


Ecosystem services (ES) are the important links between natural ecosystems and human well-being, which draw the attention from many countries and organizations around the world. Traditionally conservationists have focused on conserving biodiversity, mainly through habitat protection, evaluation of endemic or endangered species distribution, and assessment of threats to survival. Recently, conservationists have focused not only on the conservation of biodiversity, but also on the sustainable provision of ES. In this study, a series of composite indicators were used to analyze the spatial-temporal patterns of four types of ES in China from 2000 to 2010. These types of ES include carbon-capture services of vegetation, water provision and purification, soil conservation and habitat protection services of ecosystems. The driving factors and conservation efficiency of the four ES types in the seven conservation and restoration regions of China were assessed based on the results of ES mapping. Finally, the priority levels of ES in China were identified in the study. The main results were as follows: (1) From 2000 to 2010, the spatial scope of four types of ES increased from the northwest to southeast of China. The significantly increased areas of the total ES are mainly distributed on the Loess Plateau while the decreased areas are mainly located in northeastern and northern China ecological regions. The main reasons for the decrease of total ES in northern China are due to the increase of artificial land and loss of cropland. The decreases of total ES in northeastern China are caused by the degradation of forest land and the conversion of forest to cropland or grassland. However, in the Loess Plateau the increases of total ES are caused by the conversion of cropland to grassland or forestland, which led to the significant increase of ES. (2) In the seven conservation and restoration regions of China, all the significant increased area of four ES types is larger than the decreased area from 2000 to 2010. The area proportions of the significantly increased regions of total ES in the Three-North Shelterbelt Project areas are greater than other regions, and the smallest region is the key ecological function area, while the most significantly decreased area is the important ecological function regions, and the smallest significant decreased regions are the Three-North Shelterbelt Project regions. (3) The final scenario of the priority levels of the ES conservational area accounted for 26.18% of China's territory, which protected 64.19% of the total ES values of China and the conservational efficiency is 2.47 times the average level of China.

Key words: ecosystem services, ecosystem services conservation, ecological redline, composite indicators, China