Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 283–292 | Cite as

The impact of multiple seashore reclamation activities on vegetation cover in the Yellow River Delta, China: implications based on structural equation modeling

  • Wei Yang
  • Xiaoxiao Li
  • Yuwan Jin
  • Tao Sun


Vegetation cover is an important indicator of the hydrology, habitat suitability, and carbon storage of wetlands. The effective management of wetland vegetation requires a good understanding of how human activities affect vegetation cover. In this study, using China’s Yellow River Delta as a case study, we examined the factors that have influenced the delta’s vegetation cover since 1980. Based on structural equation modeling, we tested the impacts of seashore reclamation activities, including tidal embankment construction, port construction, and land reclamation, on vegetation cover. Other potentially important factors, such as population, road construction, precipitation, and rising sea levels, were incorporated into the analyses. Our results showed that seashore reclamation activities have had increasingly negative effects on vegetation cover over time. In contrast, ecological restoration projects and the development of ecotourism in the wetlands have improved vegetation cover. The impact of natural conditions in the delta (temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise) showed no consistent trend, but overall, seem to have had a positive effect. These findings have significant implications for conservation and the management of reclamation activities in the Yellow River Delta.


Seashore reclamation activities Vegetation cover Structural equation model Yellow River Delta 



We thank the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, No. 2013CB430402), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51279008 and 51579012), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2012CXQT02) for their financial support. We also thank Geoffrey Hart for providing language help during the writing of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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