Xingang Fan


Afforestation/Reforestation and Regional Climate


    Zhuguo Ma (PI), Institute of Atmospheric Physics

Environmental threats and problems from deforestation and desertification have been widely noticed around the globe, including the Amazon rainforests and in China during the Great Leap Forward movement in 1950s. Chinese government has implemented a series of nation-wide projects including the Grain for Green Project, in an attempt to reverse the advert impact from deforestation. Afforestation and reforestation efforts have been proven to be a success; however, will these efforts lead to a better environment? Collaborative studies with Chinese colleagues have been carrying out.

Remotely-sensed land use land cover data from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), LAI (leaf area index), and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) revealed increase in greeness and vegetation cover, including grassland and forests in the last decade (2000s) compared to the previous decade (1990s). This change agrees to the government census data, and is found to be the result of implementation of Grain for Green Project and other afforestation efforts.


Observed data show that the change of forest coverage has little relationship with changes in precipitation and temperature, rather reflects the human-induce increases in forest coverage.

Change in the LAI (or NDVI) between the two decades suggests the impact from climate. Increased LAI implies vigorous growth of vegetation.

However, so far it is not possible to distinguish climate- and human-induced changes from only the observations. Modeling will provide the possibility in answering this question.



 Copyrightę2008-2013       Updated 2013-01-10