Modelling of Potential Vegetation in Zulihe River Water shed of the West-centr al Loess Plateau

  • 1. Hydrology and Ecology Laboratory of Watershed, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2. National Laboratory of Western China's Environmental System, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    3. Department of Environmental Science, College of Resources and Environment, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China

Received date: 2006-08-19

  Revised date: 2006-12-05

  Online published: 2007-01-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40671067; Key Project of the Ministry of Education, No.10425


There has been an increasing use of predictive spatial distribution of main communities or dominant species at the regional scale for ecological restoration planning, biodiversity conservation planning and regional management decisions on the Loess Plateau. Understanding the spatial distribution of main communities at the regional scale is also essential in assessing the impacts of environmental change or human impacts on vegetation distribution. Based on the investigation of steppe cover that correlates with its habitat, this study focused on the prediction of steppe distribution in the Zulihe River watershed of the west-central Loess Plateau. First, we investigated the cover of steppe of 365 samples. Secondly, important variables (annual mean precipitation and annual mean temperature) that affect vegetation distribution were spatialized as functions of elevation and horizontal coordinates via a GIS. Thirdly, the niche spaces of steppe were determined by incorporating the spatially-distributed main variables with the steppe cover that came from field investigation and remote sensing data (Landsat TM image). The niche spaces defined then were extrapolated over the study area. Comparing the distribution of predicted steppe with its present distribution, we found that the natural vegetation in the region has been destroyed and disturbed by human activities. As a result, soil erosion has been aggravated. The ecological conditions in the study area have been progressively degraded by human-accelerated soil erosion. The object of the study is to provide important baseline for ecological restoration in the Zulihe River watershed.

Cite this article

ZHAO Chuanyan, FENG Zhaodong, NAN Zhongren, LI Shoubo . Modelling of Potential Vegetation in Zulihe River Water shed of the West-centr al Loess Plateau[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2007 , 62(1) : 52 -61 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200701006


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