Skip to main content

Driving mechanisms of desertification process in the Horqin Sandy Land—a case study in Zhalute Banner, Inner Mongolia of China

Abstract

Both natural and human factors contributing to desertification were examined to understand the driving mechanisms of the desertification process in Zhalute Banner, Inner Mongolia of China. The coefficient of variation (CV) and climate departure index (Z) were calculated to examine the fluctuations and trends of interannual variations of temperature and precipitation; TM remote sensing data was extracted to obtain the sandy land area; linear regression analysis was used to analyze climate changes and the socio-economic evolution over the years, and it was also used to standardize the variables, which included annual temperature, annual precipitation, human population, and livestock number, in order to measure the difference in the rate of change between climate and anthropogenic factors. The results showed that there was a rise of about 1.6°C in temperature but no significant change in precipitation from 1961 to 2000, which indicated a short-term climatic trend toward aridity in this area, a condition necessary for desertification. The fraction of precipitation in spring tended to increase whilst the fraction in autumn and winter decreased. Both the human population and livestock population had tripled and the cultivated area had doubled from 1961 to 2000, suggesting that socio-economic factors might have contributed more significantly to the desertification. Between 1988 and 1997, the sandy land area increased by 12.5%, nearly 2.4 times in the farming section. It could be concluded that the driving mechanisms of the desertification processes in Zhalute banner are mainly the policy of cropland expansion and the rising populations of humans and their livestock, which has affected the land use pattern in the past decades.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Zhu Z, Wu Z, Liu S. General Introduction to China′s Deserts. Beijing: Science Press, 1980 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Zhu Z, Chen G. Sandy Desertification in China. Beijing: Science Press, 1994 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Ren G Y. Influence of human activities on the Late Holocene vegetation changes at Maili, Northeast China. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 1999, 19: 42–48 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Man Z M, Ge Q S, Zhang P Y. Case studies on the impact of climatic changes on the farming-pastoral transitional zone in historical period. Geographical Research, 2000, 19: 141–147 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Wulan T. Land reclamation and land-use changes during last 50 years in Ke′erqin deserts, Inner Mongolia. Progress in Geography, 2000, 19: 273–278 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Wulan T, Lei J, Yu S. An advance on studies of formation and environmental evolution of Horqin desert. Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment, 2002, 16: 28–31 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Bureau of Statistics, People′s Republic of China. Inner Mongolia Statistical Yearbook 2001. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2001 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Kang M Y, Liu X C, Dong S K, Xiong H B, Liu S. Impacts of land use change and intensity on the grassland in Zhalute Banner, Inner Mongolia. Advance in Earth Sciences, 2002, 17: 229–234 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Sutherland R A, Bryan R B, Wijendes D O. Analysis of the monthly and annual rainfall climate in a semi-arid environment, Kenya. Journal of Arid Environments, 1991, 20: 257–275

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Zhu Z. Concept, cause and control of desertification in China. Quaternary Sciences, 1998, (2): 145–55 (in Chinese)

  11. 11.

    Wu B, Ci L. Landscape change and desertification development in theMu Us Sandland, Northern China. Journal of Arid Environments, 2002, 50: 429–444

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Le Houe’rou H N, Popov G F, See L. Agrobioclimatic classification of Africa. Agrometeorology Series Working Paper No. 6. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Le Houe’rou H N. Climate change, drought and desertification. Journal of Arid. Environments, 1996, 34(2): 133–185

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Nicholson S E, Tucker C J, Ba M B. Desertification, drought, and surface vegetation: An example from the west African Sahel. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 1998, 79: 815–829

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Luk S H. Recent trends of desertification in the Maowusu Desert, China. Environmental Conservation, 1983, 10: 213–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Du W S. Records of Zhalute Banner. Beijing: Chorography Press, 2001 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Aoren Q. Changes and innovations of the property right system of grassland. Inner Mongolia Social Sciences, 2003, 24: 116–120 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Enkhee J, Erden B. A summary of the China-Japan symposium on grassland desertification in Inner Mongolia and its countermeasures. Journal of Inner Mongolia University (Humanities and Social Sciences), 2002, 34: 113–116 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Wang T, Wu W, Xue X, Sun Q W, Zhang W M, Han Z W. Spatial-temporal changes of sandy desertified land during last 5 decades in northern China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2004, 59: 203–212 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Wu W. Dynamic monitor to evolvement of sandy desertified land in Horqin region for the last 5 decades. China Journal of Desert Research, 2003, 23: 646–651 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Haiping Tang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tang, H., Chen, Y. & Li, X. Driving mechanisms of desertification process in the Horqin Sandy Land—a case study in Zhalute Banner, Inner Mongolia of China. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng. China 2, 487 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-008-0061-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • climatic change
  • potential evapo-transpiration (PE)
  • human activities
  • land use change