Rocky land desertification and its driving forces in the karst areas of rural Guangxi, Southwest China
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With a subtropical climate, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has a typical karst landscape. Rocky desertification has become a serious environmental issue due to its high vulnerability caused by the joint effect of natural settings and human activities, because of which its ecoenvironment has been deteriorated in recent years, and farmland has been disappearing sharply at the same time. This, in turn, has exacerbated the poverty level in the rural areas of the region. In this study, we monitored the spatial distribution of rocky land desertification and its temporal evolution using Landsat TM/ETM images of 1985, 1995, 2000 and 2005. We also analyzed the driving forces of the desertification and its expansion. Through constructing regression models by using all the relevant variables and considering the lagged effects as well as fixed effects, we quantified the exact role of different factors causing rocky land desertification in the study area with some new findings. The new findings in this study are greatly helpful for preserving, restoring and reconstructing the degraded mountain environment in Guangxi and other karst areas in Southwest China, and also for alleviating poverty in the rural areas in the future.
KeywordsRocky land desertification karst mountain area rural poverty driving force Guangxi Southwest China
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