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Is northern China winning the battle against desertification? Satellite remote sensing as a tool to study biomass trends on the Ordos Plateau in semiarid China

Is northern China winning the battle against desertification? Satellite remote sensing as a tool to study biomass trends on the Ordos Plateau in semiarid China

Ambio 29(8): 468-476, December

Ten-day intervals of satellite data between 1982 and 1993 are used to investigate the status of biological productivity on a rangeland in semiarid China exposed to high grazing pressure. Linear trends for 64 km2 pixels are calculated through annual vegetation peak values, constructed by averaging the 6 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values for August and September each year, and displayed in a GIS exposing the spatial and relative changes of biomass. Biological production, expressed as NDVI, has increased in general over the 12-year period and the correlation between precipitation and NDVI dynamic is tested. High increases are found for irrigated farmland along the Yellow River confirming a trend toward intensified cultivation and increased biomass from planted trees for farmland protection. Production on the rangeland has increased slightly without correspondence in rainfall. Instead, different measures implemented in the area to combat desertification are discussed as being likely explanations for the positive change.

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Accession: 010887188

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DOI: 10.2307/4315078

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