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Research Revealed Vegetation Changes and Causes in the Tianshan Mountain


Vegetation is an essential component of terrestrial ecosystems and serves as a link between the atmosphere, water and soil. The strong signal of vegetation increases since the 1980s is considered as reliable evidence of anthropogenic climate change. However, some studies have alerted us to the recent stalling or even reversal of vegetation greening.

To determine whether vegetation browning exists on Tianshan Mountain, Chen Yaning's team at the State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used GIMMS3g NDVI data to investigate vegetation change in the Tianshan region and quantify the impact of VPD and SM in vegetation change.

The results showed that the NDVI showed a significant increase before 1998 but a reversal after 1998, when vegetation browning began to appear. The strong correlation between the interannual variability of vegetation and growing season temperature only existed in wet years, indicating that vegetation on Tianshan Mountain is extremely vulnerable and sensitive to water deficits. Our results also suggest that relative to high vapor pressure deficit, soil moisture deficit played a greater role in the recent browning of vegetation on Tianshan Mountain.

Results of the study were published on Ecological Indicators, entitled “Recent vegetation browning and its drivers on Tianshan Mountain, Central Asia”.

Article link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X2100577X 

Fig.1 Spatial and temporal variation in NDVI in vegetation areas of Tianshan Mountain 

Fig.2 Schematic diagram of the control of vegetation change by SM and VPD 


Contact: LIU Jie, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography 

E-mail: liujie@ms.xjb.ac.cn