Human activity vs. climate change: Distinguishing dominant drivers on LAI dynamics in karst region of southwest China

Jian Peng, Hong Jiang, Qinghua Liu, Sophie M Green, Timothy A Quine, Hongyan Liu, Sijing Qiu, Yanxu Liu, Jeroen Meersmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the impacts of climate change and human activities on vegetation is of great significance to the sustainable development of terrestrial ecosystems. However, most studies focused on the overall impact over a period and rarely examined the time-lag effect of vegetation's response to climatic factors when exploring the driving mechanisms of vegetation dynamics. In this study, we identified key areas driven by either positive or negative human activities and climate change. Taking the three karst provinces of southwest China as the case study area, a Leaf Area Index (LAI)-climate model was constructed by quantifying the time-lag effect. Then the associated residual threshold was calculated to identify the vegetation change areas dominated by human activities and climate change. The results showed that, during the implementation period of ecological restoration projects from 1999 to 2015, positive impact areas of human activities were mainly distributed among the implementation areas of ecological restoration projects, accounting for 5.61% of the total area. For another, the negative impact areas were mainly distributed across the mountainous area of Yunnan Province, accounting for 1.30% of the total area. Karst landform had the greatest influence on the areas dominated by positive human activities, whereas both topography and karst landform significantly affected the areas dominated by negative human activities. Urban development level had the greatest impact on the areas dominated by climate change. The outcomes of this study provided scientific supports for the sustainable development of ecological restoration projects in China's karst region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144297
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Human activity vs. climate change: Distinguishing dominant drivers on LAI dynamics in karst region of southwest China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this