Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2002, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (1): 28-38.doi: 10.11821/xb200201004

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Modelling the Vegetation of China under Changing Climate

Zhao Mao-sheng1, Ronald P. Neilson2, Yan Xiao-dong1, Dong Wen-jie1   

  1. 1. START, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, CAS, Beijing 100029 China
    2. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, Oregon 97331 USA
  • Received:2001-05-10 Revised:2001-11-23 Online:2002-01-25 Published:2002-01-25
  • Supported by:

    The National Key Basic Research Project, No.G1999043400; Key Knowledge Innovation Project of CAS, No. KZCX1-SW-01-11, No. KZCX1-10-07


The Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System (MAPSS) model has been improved for simulating the potential vegetation distribution over China. Unlike North America, the environment in East China is largely controlled by the monsoon system, which affects the vegetation distribution differently than in North America. Furthermore, in MAPSS, the boreal forest is evergreen conifer, whereas in China it is largely deciduous conifer. To make the MAPSS results more suitable over China, we modified the lowest monthly temperature, which determines the northward boundary of temperate deciduous forest from -16o to -28oC. In addition, the minimum monthly rainfall during the growing season, which is used to judge broad-leaved-deciduous from evergreen need-leleaved forest, was changed from 40mm to 20mm. Other parameters related to rainfall patterns were also changed. The results were greatly improved, when compared to the map of Chinese vegetation zonation and more than 12 years of satellite data (NDVI). Using output from the General Circulation Model, HadCM2, for simulating possible future climate changes induced by enriched greenhouse gases (GHG) and sulfate aerosols (SUL), we simulated the possible future (2020s, 2050s) potential vegetation distribution modeled by MAPSS with and without consideration of CO2-induced water-use-efficiency (WUE) changes. The results show that in East China, forest boundaries could shift northward, especially the boreal deciduous conifer forest, which may disappear from China. In the North China, and Liaohe river drainage area, forests and savannas could be replaced by grasslands.

Key words: MAPSS model, monsoon system, climate change, potential vegetation distribution