Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (5): 949-960.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202005005

• Land Cover Change and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effects of vegetation coverage changes on ecosystem service and their threshold in the Loess Plateau

ZHANG Kun1, LYU Yihe2,3(), FU Bojie2,4, YIN Lichang2,5, YU Dandan1   

  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Environment Sciences, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Nanjing 210042, China
    2.Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100085, China
    3.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100085, China
    5.College of Earth Sciences and Resources, Chang'an University, Xi'an 710054, China
  • Received:2019-03-22 Revised:2020-02-07 Online:2020-05-25 Published:2020-07-25
  • Contact: LYU Yihe
  • Supported by:
    National Key R&D Program of China(2016YFC0501601);Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23070201)


The Loess Plateau is the core region of the "Green to Grain" Program, which makes it become the most successful example of ecological restoration in China. It is the common demand of both academic research and management practice to analyze the effects of vegetation restoration on ecosystem service and identify the threshold effects of vegetation restoration. However, there still is a research gap in related studies, especially for the thresholds of vegetation in the ecosystem service change at regional scale. In this study, we chose the fractional vegetation cover (FVC) as an index to indicate the vegetation coverage change in the Loess Plateau in 2000-2015, and took soil conservation service, water yield service and carbon sequestration service as indexes to exhibit the ecosystem service changes. The spatiotemporal changes of vegetation coverage and ecosystem services and their interaction were quantitatively analyzed. On such a basis, we further assessed the effects of vegetation coverage change on ecosystem services and quantitatively identified their thresholds. The results indicated that: (1) The vegetation coverage significantly improved in 2000-2015. Meanwhile, the differences of ecosystem service changes were prominent, with the carbon sequestration service getting significant enhancement, soil conservation service getting certain improvements and the water yield service maintaining steady. (2) There are differences among the correlations between vegetation restoration and changes of ecosystem service. The correlation of vegetation coverage-carbon sequestration service was the strongest, followed by that of vegetation coverage-soil conservation service. (3) The vegetation restoration could promote the improvement of the overall level of regional ecosystem service. Furthermore, we revealed the threshold effect in the promotion. The threshold occurrence resulted in the decrease of promotion efficiency of vegetation restoration, with vegetation coverage reaching 44%, 32%, 34% and 34% in forest zone, forest-grass zone, grass zone and grass-desert zone, respectively.

Key words: vegetation coverage, ecosystem service, ecological restoration, threshold, bioclimatic zone, Loess Plateau