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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:30am - 10:45am
SYMPOSIA-13: Untangling the Effects of Human Influence on Above Ground Biomass from Precipitation Driven Changes on the Mongolian Plateau

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AUTHORS: Ranjeet John*, Jiquan Chen, Wenjuan Ma, Hogeun Park, Sarah Hession – Michigan State University, USA; Vincenzo Giannico, The University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy

ABSTRACT: Rapid land cover/use (LCLU) has resulted in the degradation of structure and function of temperate, semiarid grassland ecosystems on the Mongolian Plateau (MP). The MP is a complex socio-ecological system which has undergone substantial changes following the post-1970s and post-1990s liberal reforms in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, as well an increased frequency of drought and extreme winters. Mongolia and Inner Mongolia have similar ecological climatology and biodiversity, but have divergent trends owing to differences in political regimes and land management policies. Here we use the coupled natural human (CNH) system framework to explain cause and effect between the spatial and temporal variability of above ground biomass (AGB) across a precipitation gradient with trends in extreme climatic events as well as socioeconomic drivers. We employed structural equation modeling (SEM) to integrate long term data records derived from MODIS (2000-2016) and GIMMS3g NDVI (1981-2015) which serve as proxies of productivity, MERRA-2 reanalysis climate data, and socioeconomic drivers at the county level that include total livestock density and population density and distance to towns and cities as a proxy of access to social goods and services. Our sampling units were stratified by the dominant steppe types, namely meadow, typical and desert steppe. We used SEM and geographically weighed regression (GWR) to explain AGB biomass degradation as a function of migration trends in response to push/pull factors including extreme events such as drought and global financial crisis. In this study, we seek to isolate the effects of human influence on AGB from the strong precipitation-driven trends on the MP. The AGB response to a combination of anthropogenic modification and extreme climate events as modeled by SEM and GWR showed significant spatio-temporal variability which was explained by extreme climate events, distance to urban/built-up areas and livestock density.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
Water Tower Parlor

Attendees (7)