Seasonal differences in climatic controls of vegetation growth in the Beijing–Tianjin Sand Source Region of China
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Launched in 2002, the Beiing–Tianjin Sand Source Control Project (BTSSCP) is an ecological restoration project intended to prevent desertification in China. Evidence from multiple sources has confirmed increases in vegetation growth in the BTSSCP region since the initiation of this project. Precipitation and essential climate variable-soil moisture (ECV-SM) conditions are typically considered to be the main drivers of vegetation growth in this region. Although many studies have investigated the inter-annual variations of vegetation growth, few concerns have been focused on the annual and seasonal variations of vegetation growth and their climatic drivers, which are crucial for understanding the relationships among the climate, vegetation, and human activities at the regional scale. Based on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from MODIS and the corresponding climatic data, we explored the responses of vegetation growth to climatic factors at annual and seasonal scales in the BTSSCP region during the period 2000–2014. Over the study region as a whole, NDVI generally increased from 2000 to 2014, at a rate of 0.002/a. Vegetation growth is stimulated mainly by the elevated temperature in spring, whereas precipitation is the leading driver of summer greening. In autumn, positive effects of both temperature and precipitation on vegetation growth were observed. The warming in spring promotes vegetation growth but reduces ECV-SM. Summer greening has a strong cooling effect on land surface temperature. These results indicate that the ecological and environmental consequences of ecological restoration projects should be comprehensively evaluated.
Keywordsvegetation growth climatic drivers seasonal variation ecological engineering interaction Beiing–Tianjin Sand Source Controlling Project (BTSSCP) NDVI
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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31560135, 41361100), the Discipline Construction Fund Project of Gansu Agricultural University (GAU-XKJS-2018-104, GAU-XKJS-2018-108) and the Gansu Science and Technology Support Program (1604FKCA088). The authors are very grateful to the anonymous reviewers and editors for their critical review and comments which helped to improve and clarify the manuscript.
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