Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1254–1267 | Cite as

Ecological risk assessment of the Gannan Plateau, northeastern Tibetan Plateau

  • Dong-xia Yue
  • Jian-jun Zeng
  • Chao Yang
  • Ming-liang Zou
  • Kai Li
  • Guan-guang Chen
  • Jian-jun Guo
  • Xiao-feng Xu
  • Xing-min Meng


Desertification, soil salinization and grassland degradation are the major environmental hazards faced by the Gannan Plateau, northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Ecological risk assessment plays an important role in formulating environmental management strategies yet little attention to this region. In this study, we established an ecological risk assessment index system based on 30 evaluation indices in the categories of hydrometeorology, ecological environment, ground surface disturbance, and society and economy for the Gannan Plateau. An entropy method was used to calculate an index weight, and subsequently the matter-element method was used together with extension theory to establish a matter-element extension model of ecological risk. We assessed the ecological risk in this region by calculating the degree of association between index layer, system layer and target layer, and the cumulative ecological risk index. The degrees of ecological risk for the counties of the region were determined by using ArcGIS which would represent a spatial heterogeneity of the risk grade in production. Our results showed that the areas of high ecological risk were in Zhouqu County and Zhuoni County, and others were of low risk (Hezuo City, Diebu County, Xiahe County and Lintan County) or intermediate risk (Maqu County). The results of the assessment were in accord with the actual observed situation. Thus, our ecological risk assessment index system is appropriate for this region and suggests that high risk counties need a priori ecological protection. Such research could provide a technological support which would potentially prevent or reduce disasters by establishing an ecological barrier to promote the sustainable development of Gannan Plateau.


Matter-element Extension theory Ecological risk assessment Ecosystem Gannan Plateau 


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This research was supported by the Soft Science Project of Gansu province (1504ZKCA090-1), the National Natural Science Foundation of china (grant nos. 41671516, 41701623, 51369003), the Foundation for Excellent Youth Scholars of NIEER, CAS, National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41661144046), a project supported by the Special Foundation for Gansu Province International Scientific Cooperation (1604WKCA002), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (lzujbky-2015-K10, lzujbky-2016-862516, lzujbky-2017-it90).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  3. 3.School of ManagementLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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