Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2011, Vol. 66 ›› Issue (1): 68-76.doi: 10.11821/xb201101007

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Assessment of the Relative Role of Climate Change and Human Activities in Desertification:A Review

XU Duanyang1,4, LI Chunlei2, ZHUANG Dafang3, PAN Jianjun4   

  1. 1. Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Beijing 100038, China;
    2. College of Geography Science and Tourism, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 830054, China;
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    4. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
  • Received:2010-07-20 Revised:2010-09-26 Online:2011-01-25 Published:2011-03-11
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40901054

Abstract: Desertification is becoming one of the most serious global social-economicenvironmental issues of our time, which threatens human survival and development. Climate change and human activities are the two kinds of driving forces in desertification, and assessing their relative role in desertification has important significance for deeply understanding the driving mechanism of desertification and preventing desertification expansion. This paper systematically reviewed the methods of assessing the relative role of climate change and human activities in desertification from qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative aspects. The authors found that there were some disadvantages in the previous researches. For example, the subjectivity in assessment was obvious, the assessment cannot be easily repeated, and the assessment and its results were always based on administrative regions and less taken and expressed in continuous space. According to the progress of previous researches and the works conducted by the authors recently, we thought that the key point of assessing the relative role of climate change and human activities in desertification was breaking through the bottleneck that restricted the expression of the relative role of two drivers in continuous space. Meanwhile, the authors put forward a quantitative approach to assess the relative role of climate change and human activities in desertification basing on selecting NPP as a common indicator to measure the relative role of climate change and human activities in desertification and identifying the ecological process of "driving force affecting-desertification land dynamically responded" into several scenarios. Besides, validation and scale of assessment should be taken into account when quantitatively assessing the relative role of climate change and human activities in desertification.

Key words: desertification, climate change, human activities