Table of Content

    30 January 2021, Volume 12 Issue 1 Previous Issue   
    Forest Ecosystem
    Implications of Anthropogenic Disturbances for Species Diversity, Recruitment and Carbon Density in the Mid-hills Forests of Nepal
    Hari Prasad PANDEY
    2021, 12 (1):  1-10.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.001
    Abstract ( 115 )   HTML ( 23 )   PDF (878KB) ( 56 )   Save

    Almost three-fourths of forests are experiencing anthropogenic disturbances globally, and more than two-thirds of the forests in Nepal receive different types of disturbances. In community forests (CFs), local communities are dependent on the ecosystem services provided by the forests for various aspects of their livelihoods, which disturb the forests’ natural conditions and ecosystem functioning in a variety of ways. This study tested the major disturbance factors that had influential roles on plant species diversity, recruitment (seedlings and saplings), biomass, soil organic carbon (SOC) and total carbon density in two community-managed forests in the Mid-hills of Nepal. The stump number, cut-off seedlings and saplings, lopping, dropping, and grazing/trampling were used as measures of the major anthropogenic disturbances. The necessary data were collected from 89 randomly selected sample plots, each with an area of 250 m2. The responses to anthropogenic disturbances were analyzed using Generalized Linear Models (GLM). The results showed that forest lopping was the most significant anthropogenic disturbance for biomass and total carbon density balance. A higher degree of lopping in the forests resulted in a lowering of the forests' carbon stock in the study area. SOC showed no significant response to any of the tested anthropogenic disturbances. Woody species richness and number of saplings increased with an increasing number of stumps, which signifies that intermediate disturbance was beneficial. However, a higher intensity of lopping reduced the sapling density. Grazing/trampling was the most significant disturbance for inhibiting seedling growth. Areas in the forests with a higher intensity of trampling showed lower numbers of seedlings and saplings. These results will be a guide for managing anthropogenic disturbances in multiple-use forests in Nepal, as well as those in similar socio-economic environments worldwide.

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    Community Structure and Diversity Distribution Pattern of Sandy Plants in the Middle and Upper Reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River
    LI Chao, XU Wenli, LI Qingkang, WANG Jingsheng
    2021, 12 (1):  11-21.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.002
    Abstract ( 85 )   HTML ( 19 )   PDF (3587KB) ( 29 )   Save

    The Yarlung Zangbo River Basin is an important populated area in Tibet, and its plant community structure and diversity pattern have attracted the attention of many scholars. In this paper, the distribution pattern of plant diversity and the environmental factors impacting it in the middle and upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River are revealed and discussed through sample surveys and climate and habitat data. The results show that the plant communities in the study area can be divided into seven types according to the dominant species: Artemisia minor + Stipa purpurea, Artemisia wellbyi + Festuca ovina, Potentilla fruticosa + Orinus thoroldii, Trikeraia hookeri + Artemisia frigida, Kobresia pygmaea, Sophora moorcroftiana + Artemisia hedinii, and Sophora moorcroftiana + Pennisetum centrasiaticum. Plant diversity decreases with decreasing longitude, increasing latitude, and increasing altitude; and the diversity distribution pattern in the study area has distinct zonal characteristics. Water and heat are the main factors which affect the distribution of vegetation types. The explanation rates of water and heat for the plant diversity distribution pattern were 19.3% and 5.7%, respectively, while the spatial variation explained by these two factors together was 60.8%. Therefore, the coupling effect is obvious.

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    Animal Ecology
    Nest-site Choice and Breeding Success among Four Sympatric Species of Passerine Birds in a Reedbed-dominated Wetland
    MA Laikun, YANG Canchao, LIANG Wei
    2021, 12 (1):  22-29.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.003
    Abstract ( 86 )   HTML ( 9 )   PDF (4798KB) ( 25 )   Save

    The efficacy of nest-site choice ultimately determines the breeding success of birds. Comparisons of the reproductive strategies of various bird species which inhabit the same habitat may provide insights on the evolution of the diverse life-history strategies in birds. In this study, nest-site choice and breeding success of four species of passerine birds that rely on reeds for reproduction were investigated in a wetland in Hebei, China. The four species were the Oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) (ORW), the blunt-winged warbler (Acrocephalus concinens) (BW), the reed parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei) (RP), and the vinous-throated parrotbill (Sinosuthora webbiana) (VP). Our results showed that breeding nests of the four species were distributed in a mosaic pattern within the same habitat, with similar nest shapes/structures and nest-sites in the reeds. The only characteristics which differed significantly among the species were nest height above the water surface, height of reeds where nests were placed, and density of reeds around the nest site. In addition, the starting time of reproduction clearly differed for the four species. The breeding success rates of the four species were 34.5% (86/249) for ORW, 35.3% (6/17) for BW, 38.5% (15/39) for RP, and 40.9% (9/22) for VP in the two study years. The main factors affecting the breeding success were nest predation and poor weather conditions, like heavy rainstorms and wind, while nest parasitism by the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) represented an important factor for breeding failure only in the Oriental reed warbler. Our study demonstrated that these four sympatric species of passerine birds inhabiting the same wetland exhibit differences in terms of nest-site choice and breeding phenology.

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    Study of Vulture Habitat Suitability and Impact of Climate Change in Central India Using MaxEnt
    Kaushalendra K. JHA, Radhika JHA
    2021, 12 (1):  30-42.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.004
    Abstract ( 62 )   HTML ( 8 )   PDF (2943KB) ( 13 )   Save

    Vultures provide invaluable ecosystem services and play an important role in ecosystem balancing. The number of native vultures in India has declined in the past. Acquiring present knowledge of their habitat spread is essential to manage and prevent such a decline. It is envisaged that ongoing climate crisis may further cause change in habitat suitability and impact the existing population. Therefore, this study in Central India—a vulture stronghold, is aimed at predicting habitat changes in the short and long term and present the data statistically and graphically by using Species Distribution Model. MaxEnt software was chosen for its advantages over other models, like using presence-only data and performing well with incomplete data, small sample sizes and gaps, etc. Global Climate Model ensemble (CCSM4, HadGEM2AO and MIROC5), was used to get better prediction. Fourteen robust models (AUC 0.864-0.892) were developed using data from over 1000 locations of seven vulture species over two seasons together. Selected climatic and other environmental variables were used to predict the current habitat. Future prediction was based on climatic variables only. The most important variables influencing the distribution were precipitation (bio 15, bio 18, bio 19) and temperature (bio 3, bio 5). Forest and water bodies were the major influencers within land use-landcover in the current prediction. At finer scale, while extremely suitable habitat area decreased and highly suitable area increased over time, the total suitable area marginally increased in 2050 but decreased in 2070. For broader consideration, net loss in suitable area was 5% in 2050 and 7.17% in 2070 (RCP4.5). Similarly, in the RCP8.5 this was 6% in 2050 and 7.3% in 2070. The data generated can be used in conservation planning and management and thus protecting the vultures from any future threat.

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    Spatio-temporal Changes in Wildlife Habitat Quality in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River from 1980 to 2100 based on the InVEST Model
    LI Qing, ZHOU Yong, Mary Ann CUNNINGHAM, XU Tao
    2021, 12 (1):  43-55.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.005
    Abstract ( 73 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (1126KB) ( 23 )   Save

    The Yangtze River (YZR) regions have experienced rapid changes after opening up to economic reforms, and human activities have changed the land cover, ecology, and wildlife habitat quality. However, the specific ways in which those influencing factors changed the habitat quality during different periods remain unknown. This study assessed the wildlife habitat quality of the middle and lower YZR in the past (1980-2018) and in future scenarios (2050, 2100). We analyzed the relationships between habitat quality and various topological social-economic factors, and then mapped and evaluated the changes in habitat quality by using the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model. The results show that the slope (R = 0.502, P < 0.01, in 2015), elevation (R = 0.003, P < 0.05, in 2015), population density (R = -0.299, P < 0.01, in 2015), and NDVI (R = 0.366, P < 0.01, in 2015) in the study area were significantly correlated with habitat quality from 2000 to 2015. During the period of 1980-2018, 61.93% of the study area experienced habitat degradation and 38.07% of the study area had improved habitat quality. In the future, the habitat quality of the study area will decline under either the A2 scenario (high level of population density, low environmental technology input, and high traditional energy cost) or the B2 scenario (medium level of population density, medium green technology and lack of cooperation of regional governments). The results also showed that habitat in the lower reaches or north of the YZR had degraded more than in the middle reaches or the south of YZR. Therefore, regional development should put more effort into environmental protection, curb population growth, and encourage green technology innovation. Inter-province cooperation is necessary when dealing with ecological problems. This study can serve as a scientific reference for regional wildlife protection and similar investigations in different areas.

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    Resource Economy
    Temporal and Spatial Characteristics and Evolution of China’s Inbound Tourism Carbon Footprint
    HAN Zhiyong, LI Tao, LIU Ximei
    2021, 12 (1):  56-67.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.006
    Abstract ( 51 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (1171KB) ( 21 )   Save

    Reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy are important propositions for human sustainability. Since it is closely related with high carbon emissions, international travel makes a substantial contribution to the global carbon emissions. To comprehensively explore the influence of international travel on carbon emissions and develop a sustainable development plan, this paper studies the temporal and spatial distribution and evolution of the carbon footprint of inbound tourism in China’s 30 provinces between 2007 and 2017. In this study, comprehensive calculations and spatial models are adopted to reveal the temporal and spatial characteristics. The results show that the carbon footprint of inbound tourism in China has been increasing continuously from 2007 to 2017. While the carbon footprint increased by 1.94-fold, from 5.623 million tons to 10.8809 million tons, it presented obvious fluctuations by initially increasing rapidly and then dropping slightly. From the perspective of the contributions of various tourism components on the carbon footprint, transportation and post and telecommunications account for the largest proportions. In the past ten years, the variations in the carbon footprint of inbound tourism in most provinces and cities in China were not very extreme, but maintained a relatively stable state. In the spatial dimension, the carbon footprint of China’s inbound tourism tends to decrease from the southeast to the northwest. The highest coefficient of variation is in Ningxia and the lowest is in Liaoning. Based on these results, recommendations are put forward for sustainable development plans in some major cities and provinces for the future.

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    Relationship between Industrialization, Urbanization and Industrial Ecology in Western China: A Panel Vector Auto-Regression Model Analysis
    WANG Yajun
    2021, 12 (1):  68-79.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.007
    Abstract ( 55 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (632KB) ( 14 )   Save

    As the foundation of modern economic development, industry is the engine of industrialized and urbanized development. Industrial ecology is a high-level form of industry that is achieved after it has reached a certain stage, which guides the coordinated industrial development balancing mankind and nature. The implementation of industrial ecology is an important method and effective approach to realize the sustainable development of industrialization and urbanization. In this article, based on the inter-provincial panel data of western China during 2003-2018, the spatial development trends of industrialization, urbanization and industrial ecology are analyzed, and an empirical method is employed to conduct a robustness test based on the Panel Vector Auto-Regression (PVAR) model to determine the long-term interactions among these three aspects. The results show that it is difficult to manifest the short-term causal relationships among industrialization, urbanization and industrial ecology. After lagging for three periods, they present the Granger causality, the industrial ecology and industrialization have promoted urbanization, and the coefficient for the influence of industrial ecology on urbanization is 0.4612. However, industrialization and urbanization have negative impacts on industrial ecology, and with a 1% increase in industrialization or urbanization, the industrial ecology will decline by 0.2261% or 0.2850%, respectively. With the continuation of the lagging period, industrial ecology will have better interpretability than industrialization and urbanization, and industrialization and eco-friendly development have strong self-accumulation development mechanisms, while the self-accumulation mechanism of urbanization is not obvious, and it might even have a decline. By fulfilling the role of the regional leading industry, the state of unbalanced internal development can be improved, so as to realize mutual promotion between industrialization and urbanization. By improving the utilization rates of resources and energy, efforts should be made to implement green production, significantly promote industrial ecology, and boost high-quality development of both the regional economy and society.

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    Value and Heterogeneity: Using a Choice Experiment to Evaluate the Coastal Recreational Environment
    WEI Jianhua
    2021, 12 (1):  80-90.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.008
    Abstract ( 41 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (3564KB) ( 13 )   Save

    The management of the coastal park environment is a major ecological and economic development issue. In developing effective policies, relevant information is essential, especially the economic valuation of various recreation-related environmental attributes. This study used Dalian coastal parks as a pilot study area and estimated the willingness to pay (WTP) of tourists using three different discrete choice models. In this study, we analyzed the preference heterogeneity among the respondents regarding a combination of park attributes, and the individual respondent’s WTP values were estimated for each attribute. The results indicate that water quality amelioration and trash reduction had the highest economic values among the given attribute factors. In addition, the estimated tourist WTP varied considerably among different segments, such as among the visitors who preferred different recreational activities. These findings provide valuable information that will allow coastal park managers to develop policies which maintain a balance between tourism development and improvement of the coastal environment.

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    A Study on Spatial Variation of Water Security Risks for the Zhangjiakou Region
    LU Chunxia, DENG Ou, LI Yiqiu
    2021, 12 (1):  91-98.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.009
    Abstract ( 45 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (268KB) ( 18 )   Save

    Zhangjiakou region is situated in an agro-pastoral ecotone with a fragile ecosystem. While it has limited surface water resources available and serious groundwater over-exploitation, the city is located in the water conservation zone for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development area, so its water security is crucial for the entire Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Therefore, it is of vital significance to determine the zoning management of water resources and decision-making according to the magnitude of water resource security risks. This study built an indicator system for water security risk assessment in line with the principles of scientific validity, comparability, operability, and data availability, and this system gives weights to these indicators using the AHP approach. County-level multi-source data for the study area, based on water resource zones, were collected by using mathematical statistics and 3S technology. With normalized data and a weighting method the water security risks were calculated. The results showed large spatial variations of water security risks in Zhangjiakou on the scales of geomorphic and administrative units as well as river basins. High-risk areas are extensive in the Bashang Plateau, and extremely high risk values are found in the Baxia areas. On the watershed scale, high-risk areas are mainly distributed in the inland river basins and the Yongding River basin. The risk values of the Luanhe River, Chaobai River and Daqing River basins in the Zhangjiakou region tend to decrease from north to south. For the northern and western areas of the Bashang Plateau, the factor of “vulnerability of the disaster-prone environment” contributes the most to the water security risk level. Agricultural water use constrains industrial and ecological water use, but in the context of inadequate water resource endowments, the urban population concentration and industrial development are the main causes of water shortages and water pollution so they contribute more to water security risks. This study of the spatial variation of water security risks in Zhangjiakou can provide an important scientific reference for zone-based management and decision-making for reducing the water security risks in the farming-pastoral ecotone.

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    Human Activities and Ecosystem
    Ungulate Mortality due to Fencing and Perceptions of Pasture Fences in Part of the Future Qilianshan National Park
    Sydney M. GREENFIELD, Aliana C. NORRIS, Joseph P. LAMBERT, Wu liji, Se yongjun, ZHAN Jinqi, MA Bing, LI Deng, SHI Kun, Philip RIORDAN
    2021, 12 (1):  99-109.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.010
    Abstract ( 37 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (780KB) ( 15 )   Save

    Fencing is an important part of husbandry for pastoral communities; however, these same fences can have unintended consequences for wildlife populations by restricting movement, reducing connectivity, and causing direct mortality. This paper assesses the current status and effects of fencing present in Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve, soon to be part of the recently proposed Qilianshan National Park. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 70 households to gauge local herders’ perceptions of fences, threats of fencing to native ungulates, and the number of wildlife found entangled in fencing. We found that local communities rely on fencing for livestock management and individuals who had encountered wildlife entangled in fences were more likely to perceive fences as having negative effects. Furthermore, those who perceived fencing as harmful to wildlife were more likely to support the dismantling of fences. On the other hand, families who needed to hire others to tend to their livestock were less likely to support dismantling efforts. However, the best model was only able to account for some of the data variability, suggesting that while perceptions of fences are important, other factors could be influencing support for fence dismantling. Hence, increasing awareness of threats alone may not be enough to generate community support of a fence dismantling program. Therefore, outreach and community collaboration to reduce the impacts of fence alterations upon livestock management will be necessary for a successful fence dismantling program within the new national park. Finally, those surveyed reported finding kiang, argali, and Tibetan gazelle dead in fences, with kiang found more often than the other two. This suggests that these three species may be more vulnerable to fence entanglement and that they are good targets for future studies and dismantling efforts.

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    Policy Assessment and Recommendations for Forestry-based Ecological Poverty Alleviation: An Empirical Study from the Prefectures of Nujiang and Aba, Southwestern China
    WANG Yaming, QIN Fanding, ZHAO Guangshuai, FENG Qinliang, WU Qiong, LI Yang, YI Xutong
    2021, 12 (1):  110-123.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.011
    Abstract ( 56 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (638KB) ( 15 )   Save

    China has adopted a long-term campaign against poverty. In recent decades, there is an increasing understanding that ecological poverty alleviation can meet the dual goals of environmental protection and rural poverty reduction. China is pivoting towards forestry-based poverty reduction in the severely poverty-stricken areas. However, several key factors remain elusive, including the extent to which the poor people benefit from forestry programs, whether they are satisfied with the policies and whether the policies are effective for poverty alleviation. Based on data collected through a questionnaire survey of 79 households in the prefectures of Nujiang and Aba, southwestern China, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) approach was used to examine the effectiveness of the forestry-based poverty alleviation policy. The results showed that four poverty alleviation pathways, including industry, employment, micro-finance and pairing assistance in villages, had obviously increased the incomes of the filing poor households and solved the problem of “Two Worries-free and Three Guarantees”. The poor were satisfied with the forestry-based ecological poverty alleviation policies and these policies had good effects in fighting against poverty. However, there are still some shortcomings, such as a lack of active participation, imperfect targeted identification, lack of funds and limited sources of funds during the policy implementation. Our results highlight the importance of the forestry industry and the public welfare position in the alleviation of poverty in the poverty-stricken areas. Synergies between ecological protection and poverty reduction are possible through sound forestry-based policies. This article recommends five policies to simultaneously realize the potential of poverty alleviation and environment protection through forestry development.

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    Overview of the Measures and Techniques Used to Protect Traffic Lines against Shifting Sands in China
    MA Ning, GUO Qun, LI Yu, LI Shenggong
    2021, 12 (1):  124-135.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2021.01.012
    Abstract ( 33 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (2189KB) ( 12 )   Save

    Shifting sands are one of the main contributors to desertification in China. This paper briefly reviews the measures and techniques which are used to protect traffic lines by stabilizing and fixing sands in the desert and desertification-affected arid and semi-arid areas in north China. We introduce the types and features of these measures and techniques, including mechanical, chemical, and biological measures, and outline how they have been applied in different areas and in different traffic lines over the past six decades, from 1950s to 2010s, taking the Baotou-Lanzhou railway, the Qinghai-Tibet railway, and the Tarim Desert highway as examples Mechanical measures such as erecting sand-retaining wind walls and placing straw checkerboards have proved to be very efficient for stabilizing shifting sands and protecting traffic lines that pass through the desert areas. Chemical measures are not widely used in the current sand fixing systems because of their high cost and potential pollution risks. Biological measures are preferred because they exhibit much better sand fixation performance and longer duration than the former two types of measures despite their relatively high cost. A combination of different measures is usually adopted in some areas to attain better sand-fixing effects. Stabilizing sand dune surfaces with mechanical measures or irrigation from underground water or river if available helps early recruitment of some drought-tolerant plants (xerophytes). We also point out the restrictions for existing sand-fixing measures and techniques and future research orientation. This review has implications for addressing eco-environmental issues associated with infrastructure construction that is part of the Belt and Road Initiative in desert and desertification-affected arid and semi-arid areas in the Mongolian Plateau.

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