Mapping the farming-pastoral ecotones in China
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Conventional methods of delineating farming-pastoral ecotones were not quantitative and could not fully show their spatial distribution. The present paper attempts to develop quantitative methods for mapping farming-pastoral ecotones in China. Nine indicators, related to temperature, precipitation and altitude aspects, were selected to quantify ecological susceptibility of vegetation (crops and forage). Methods of analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and expert score ranking combined with fuzzy set theory were applied to assign the weight for each indicator and to define the membership functions. The geographic information system (GIS) was used to manage the spatial database and conduct the spatial analysis. According to the spatial calculation of evaluation model integrated with GIS, the ecological susceptibility of vegetation (crops and forage) was mapped. Three different zones, pastoral area, farming-pastoral ecotones and farming area, were classified by spatial cluster analysis and the maximum likelihood classification for the numeric map of vegetation ecological susceptibility by GIS. This map was validated by the economic statistical result based on the ratio of the output value from animal husbandry in total output value of agriculture by the National Bureau of Statistics in China, indicating that the mapping of the farming-pastoral ecotones may be accepted.
KeywordsAHP Farming-pastoral ecotone Fuzzy set theory GIS
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