Grassland Degradation in the Source Region of the Yellow River

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China;
    3. College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China;
    4. College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Received date: 2005-10-16

  Revised date: 2005-12-01

  Online published: 2006-01-25

Supported by

National Basic Research Program of China, No.2005CB422006; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 90202012 and 40471009; Knowledge Innovation Project, No.KZCX3-SW-339


The source region of the Yellow River located in the middle east of Tibetan Plateau. The total area is about 52 000 km2, mainly covered by grassland (79%), unused land (16%) and water (4%). The increasing utilization of the land in this area have been keeping increasing the risk of environmental degradation. The land use/cover data (1985 and 2000) provided by the Data Center for Resources and Environmental Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences, have been used to analyze the land cover change of the Yellow River. DEM (1:250 000) data,roads, residents data (1:100 000) and the collecting field data were used to analyze grassland degradation distribution character. The Arcgis 9 software was use to convert data types and do the overlay, reclass, zonal statistic analysis. Results show that grassland degradation is the most important land cover change in the research region, which occupied 8.24% of the whole region. And human activities are the main reasons of the grassland degradation in the source region of Yellow River: a) the degradation rate is higher in the sunny slope and lower in the northern slope; b) The grassland degradation rate goes down while the elevation rise up with the correlation coefficient of -0.93; c) The nearer to the residents the higher degradation rate, especially in the range of 11km, of which the correlation coefficient of the distance and degradation rate is -0.99; d) In the range of 4km, the degradation rate goes down with the distance to the roads with the correlation coefficient of -0.98. Though there are some physical reasons, human activities are the most important driven forces of the grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River since 1985. The ultimate way to resolve the degradation problems is to decrease the population who depends on the livestock production and to lessen the society demand of the GDP incoming from the grassland. To keep the sustainable development, the management and dynamic process of the grassland ecosystem are in dire need of enhanced.

Cite this article

ZHANG Yili, LIU Linshan, BAI Wanqi, SHEN Zhenxi, YAN Jianzhong,DING Mingjun, LI Shuangcheng, ZHENG Du . Grassland Degradation in the Source Region of the Yellow River[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006 , 61(1) : 3 -14 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200601001


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