Spatiotemporal Patterns of Desertification Dynamics and Desertification Effects on Ecosystem Services in the Mu Us Desert in China (2018)

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Degradation of semi-arid and arid ecosystems due to desertification is arguably one of the main obstacles for sustainability in those regions. In recent decades, the Mu Us Desert in China has experienced such ecological degradation making quantification of spatial patterns of desertification in this area an important research topic. We analyzed desertification dynamics for seven periods from 1986 to 2015 and focused on five ecosystem services including soil conservation, water retention, net primary productivity (NPP), crop productivity, and livestock productivity, all assessed for 2015. Furthermore, we examined how ecosystem services relate to each other and are impacted by desertification. Three major conclusions are drawn from the study. First, the eastern part of the study area experienced overall improvement while desertification in the west first increased and then reversed its trend during those periods between 1986 and 2015. Second, significant synergistic relationships are observed for three regulating services (soil conservation, water retention, NPP) and two provisioning services (crop productivity and livestock productivity). Strong relationships across different types of ecosystem services were found only between crop productivity and NPP. Third, in response to increasing desertification, the three regulating services exhibit a monotonically decreasing trend, while the two provisioning services follow a hump-shaped response.
Year: 2018
Language: English
In: Sustainability, 10 (3): 589-589 p.

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 Record created 2018-09-21, last modified 2018-09-21