Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (8): 1082-1093.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0020

Special Issue: 遥感生态学

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variation of NDVI spatio-temporal characteristics and its driving factors based on geodetector model in Horqin Sandy Land, China

CHEN Xue-Ping1,3, ZHAO Xue-Yong2,3,*(), ZHANG Jing2, WANG Rui-Xiong1,3, LU Jian-Nan1,3   

  1. 1University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    2Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3Naiman Desertification Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tongliao, Nei Mongol 028300, China
  • Received:2022-01-13 Accepted:2023-03-13 Online:2023-08-20 Published:2023-04-06
  • Contact: *ZHAO Xue-Yong(
  • Supported by:
    National Science and Technology Basic Resources Survey Special Program of China(2017FY100200)


Aims Horqin Sandy Land is an important, but highly degraded, agro-pastoral region in the northern China region of Nei Mongol. There have been significant changes in vegetation condition over the past two decades, in response to changes in climate as well as restoration policies. In this study, we characterize the spatial and temporal changes in vegetation in the region over the past twenty years, in order to understand the complex mechanism of vegetation change, and provide a scientific basis for comprehensive management and rational implementation of ecological engineering in the future.

Methods We assessed the correlation between a time series of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (derived from MODIS) from 2001 to 2020 with 10 key driving factors (including mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, slope, soil type, vegetation type, geomorphic type, population density, accumulated afforestation area, livestock density, and crops area) in space on random sampling points, which were generated in ArcGIS software. Geodetector model was used to explore the individual relationships as well as their interactions.

Important findings The results demonstrated that: (1) over the past 20 years, the vegetation coverage of Horqin Sandy Land has been gradually recovering, primarily in the northern, central and southeastern marginal areas of the study area, recovery area accounted for more than 64.91%. (2) Changes in NDVI were primarily explained in Horqin Sandy Land by variation in three factors, soil type, geomorphic type, and mean annual temperature. (3) The interactions between explanatory factors were nonlinearly and mutually enhanced, of these, there was a strong interaction between soil type and other factors. (4) Increases in vegetation cover in Horqin Sandy Land was primarily observed in association with alfisol, hills or small undulating mountains, and annual average temperature ranges 4.68-5.67 °C and so on. Future restoration programs may want to prioritize sites with these conditions.

Key words: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), geodetector model, driving factor, vegetation restoration, Horqin Sandy Land