Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (10): 1622-1631.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201510007

• Rural Settlement and Tourism Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impacts of rural-urban migration on vegetation cover in ecologically fragile areas: Taking Inner Mongolia as a case

Shiji LI1,2(), Xiubin LI1, Minghong TAN1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2015-01-04 Revised:2015-06-01 Online:2015-10-20 Published:2015-11-12
  • Supported by:
    Projects of International Cooperation and Exchanges NSFC, No.41161140352;Major Research Plan of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.91325302;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271119


Improving the quality of environment in ecologically fragile areas had been paid much attention by scholars and government at different levels. Over the past decade, a large number of rural labors had migrated into urban areas. To what extent would the migration affect the changes of vegetation cover in ecologically fragile areas? In this study, we analyzed the spatio-temporal variation of vegetation cover and its relationship with human activities at the county level based on the NDVI data with a resolution of 1 km, meteorological data and economic data from 2000 to 2010 in Inner Mongolia. The major methods included trend line analysis method, significance testing and multi-regression analysis method. The main conclusions were as follows: (1) The vegetation cover of the study area increased by 10.1% during 2000-2010. More than 28% of the vegetation cover increased significantly, and only about 2% decreased evidently during the study period. (2) The area with significant degradation presented a banded distribution in the northern fringe of farming-pastoral ecotone in the central part of Inner Mongolia. It is shown that the ecological environment is still fragile in this area, which should be focused on. The area where vegetation cover significantly improved showed a concentrated distribution in the southeast and west of Inner Mongolia. (3) Effects of agricultural labor on vegetation cover had exceeded those of natural factors such as climate. The emigration of agricultural labor had improved vegetation cover significantly.

Key words: rural-urban migration, agricultural labor, vegetation cover, NDVI, Inner Mongolia