The Evolution of a Karst Rocky Desertification Land Ecosystem and Its Driving Forces in the Houzhaihe Area, China


Understanding the evolution of karst rocky desertification (KRD) quantitatively is essential to obtain objective knowledge about the concept of KRD and the form reason of KRD, and is useful to restore KRD land. Houzhaihe area located in central plateau in Guizhou Province was studied here as a representative assemblage landform and its KRD’ s evolution and driving factors were studied, based mainly on high-resolution remote sensing image in 1963, 1978, 2005 and 2010. The KRD land comprises light KRD, moderate KRD and severe KRD. The results demonstrated that the evolution process of KRD can be divided into four modes such as unchanged, weakened, fluctuated and aggravated in the study area. The KRD with no changes from 1963 to 2010, namely, unchanged mode, accounted for 43.76% of the total area of the KRD in 2010; it distributed in the area with the slope of 15° - 25° and >25° basically. Furthermore, the severe KRD distributed mainly in the areas within 300 - 600 m distance from settlement; when the distance away from the rural settlements was more than 900 m, the severe KRD declined, and its proportion was 28.6% and 10.6% in 1963 and 2010 respectively. In the peak-cluster depressions, located in central study area, the slope cropland with slope of 15° - 25° was still abounding, and was seriously rocky desertification generally. So, we propose that the existence of a large number of slope croplands is still the major driving factor of land rocky desertification. Therefore, for the rocky desertification control, the authors consider that the focal point is to alter the land use of steep-slope cropland at present.

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Li, Y. , Xie, J. , Luo, G. , Yang, H. and Wang, S. (2015) The Evolution of a Karst Rocky Desertification Land Ecosystem and Its Driving Forces in the Houzhaihe Area, China. Open Journal of Ecology, 5, 501-512. doi: 10.4236/oje.2015.510041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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