Effects of Land Use and Climate Change on Ecosystem Services in Central Asia’s Arid Regions: A Case Study in Altay

Authors and Affiliations: 

Qi Fu, Bo Li
College of Resources Science & Technology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China

Corresponding author: 
Qi Fu

Understanding the effects of land use and climate change on ecosystem services (ES) can provide more scientific and targeted guidance for the sustainable use of ES in arid regions. Altay Prefecture is representative of the mountain-basin system (MBS), and this study focused on changes in ES under land use and climate change in this area from 1990-2010. Firstly, we divided the system into three landscape zones: mountain, oasis and desert. We then assessed water yield, soil conservation, crop production and sand fixation in the years 1990, 2000, and 2010 based on widely used biophysical models. Finally, we analyzed the effects of different land use and climate change situations on ES. The results showed that soil conservation in the mountain zone, water yield in the oasis zone, and sand fixation in the desert zone all decreased under the influence of land use change alone, which indicated that land use change increased the risk of soil salinization in the oasis zone and reduced the protection of the oasis zone provided by the mountain and desert zones. The total provision of ES showed an increasing trend under the influence of climate change alone, but spatial differences in climate change created significant challenges for the improvement of productivity in the oasis zone and ecological conservation in the desert zone. We provided a methodology to quantify the influences of land use and climate change on ES, and to identify the location of the influences. This study demonstrated the necessity of improving the ecosystem management strategy for the MBS, and we put forward some targeted suggestions for the sustainable use of ES. Although uncertainties remain, the results of this study can provide valuable reference information for regions with the same MBS structure.


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