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Assessment of river basin habitat quality and its relationship with disturbance factors: A case study of the Tarim River Basin in Northwest China

Abstract

The status of regional biodiversity is determined by habitat quality. The effective assessment of habitat quality can help balance the relationship between economic development and biodiversity conservation. Therefore, this study used the InVEST model to conduct a dynamic evaluation of the spatial and temporal changes in habitat quality of the Tarim River Basin in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China by calculating the degradation degree levels for habitat types that were caused by threat factors from 1990 to 2018 (represented by four periods of 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). Specifically, we used spatial autocorrelation analysis and Getis-Ord G *i analysis to divide the study area into three heterogeneous units in terms of habitat quality: cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. Hemeroby index, population density, gross domestic product (GDP), altitude and distance from water source (DWS) were then chosen as the main disturbance factors. Linear correlation and spatial regression models were subsequently used to analyze the influences of disturbance factors on habitat quality. The results demonstrated that the overall level of habitat quality in the TRB was poor, showing a continuous degradation state. The intensity of the negative correlation between habitat quality and Hemeroby index was proven to be strongest in cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. The spatial lag model (SLM) was better suited to spatial regression analysis due to the spatial dependence of habitat quality and disturbance factors in heterogeneous units. By analyzing the model, Hemeroby index was found to have the greatest impact on habitat quality in the studied four periods (1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). The research results have potential guiding significance for the formulation of reasonable management policies in the TRB as well as other river basins in arid areas.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Joint Funds of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U2003204). The authors thank the editors and reviewers for their comments.

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Correspondence to Jianxia Chang or Aijun Guo.

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He, B., Chang, J., Guo, A. et al. Assessment of river basin habitat quality and its relationship with disturbance factors: A case study of the Tarim River Basin in Northwest China. J. Arid Land 14, 167–185 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0058-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0058-0

Keywords

  • habitat quality
  • biodiversity
  • InVEST model
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • spatial lag model
  • human activities
  • Tarim River Basin