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Satellite remote sensing analysis to monitor revegetation in the Yangtze River Basin, China
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  • Boyan Li,
  • Wei Wang,
  • Chao Wang,
  • Aiwen Lin
Boyan Li
Wuhan University
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Wei Wang
Wuhan University
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Chao Wang
Wuhan University
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Aiwen Lin
Wuhan University
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Abstract

Revegetation programs aim to avoid land degradation, control soil erosion, reduce floods, and improve ecological conditions. China has planted billions of trees over the past 20 years. However, little is known about the effectiveness of this artificial revegetation, and its consequences on China’s national conservation policies and changes in biophysical factors at the county level. Here we use satellite time series data and develop a new metric, the revegetation index (RVI), that quickly monitors revegetation and its long-term changes. We found that the amount of regions where the Grain to Green Program (GTGP) successfully was implemented only about 55.8% of the areas of GTGP implementation. Surprisingly, we provide observational evidence that the implementation of the GTGP can decrease soil erosion and drought, and increase water availability, but revegetation in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) in China has a limited impact on soil erosion, water and drought. In particular, for revegetation between 1999 and 2016, indicating that previous an assessment by the government revealed as official statistics may have overestimated the effects of the ecological restoration practices.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

16 May 2021Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
17 May 2021Assigned to Editor
17 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
12 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
17 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major