Predicting the Land Cover Change in China
Zhongxin Chen & Bin Xu
Institute of Natural Resources & Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081
Center for Remote Sensing Applications, Ministry of Agricultural, Beijing 100081
Abstract. Anthropogenic activities have brought profound impacts on
the biosphere and atmosphere of planet earth. Showed by enhanced greenhouse
effect, ozone depletion, sea level arise, our planet earth are suffering global
change. It arises great concerns from various sectors, including scientists,
policy-makers, and general public as well. Land cover change is one of the most
important aspects of global change. Land cover change is not only strongly affected
by direct human activities, but also strongly affected by global and regional
climate change. In this paper, we try to clarify the future trend of land cover
change in China under global climate change conditions.
Holdridge’s life zone model was employed to describe the relationship between the vegetation (life zone, land cover) and climate in this study. Holdridge’s life zone model (Holdridge, 1967) is a bio-geographical model for climate-vegetation interaction studies. Because of its simplicity, accuracy and predictability, it has been widely used all over the world, especially in global change studies. In this study, we used the revised version of Holdrdge’s life zone model. Former studies showed that the revised Holdridge’s life zone model can describe the ecosystem distribution of China very well, especially for the Qingzang (Tibetan) Plateau, western China, warm temperate zone and sub-tropical zone. (Zhang et al., 1993). We set up the spatially-explicit Holdridge’s life zone model with GIS software.
We also set up spatially explicit climate database in China. Because China is a very large country with complicated landforms, regional factors and elevation are critical in the construction of spatial-explicit climate database in China. In the construction of this database, we collected the climate data from 1885 meteorological observatories all over China, from 1960s to 1990s. Temperature has satisfactory relationship to elevation, then high-resolution DEM is used in the establishment of the databases for temperature index. The DEM-corrected temperature-related products agree well to the existing regionalization results. The climate parameters in the database include temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotransportation rate. The IPCC GCMs outputs for temperature and precipitation are used to set up the future climate projection database for abovementioned parameters. In this study, the future climate projections were from Hadley Center’s HadCM2.
We used our spatially-explicit revised Holdridge’s life zone model to simulate the life zones’ (land covers’) distribution in China for present, in 2030 and 2056 respectively. The result showed that the life zones (land cover types) in China will change drastically in the future. The glacier, cold desert, tundra and high cold steppe will shrink in acreage. The temperate steppe will expand while desert will expand before 2030 and decrease in area during 2030 to 2056. The boreal forest and tropical/subtropical forest will increase in area while the distribution of temperate forest will shrink.
Keywords: Land Cover Change, Prediction, China, Global Change
Watching Slides: http://www.ami.ac.cn/Sino_UK/workshop/AMI-UK-Chen.ppt