• Yellow River basin;
  • PR China;
  • remote sensing;
  • erosion;
  • vegetation cover dynamics


Vegetation significantly influences human health in the Yellow River basin and the plant cover is vulnerable to people. Typical types of erosion in the Yellow River basin include that caused by water, wind and freeze–thaw. In this paper, vegetation cover change from 1982 to 2006 was studied for a number of different erosion regions. The Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling Studies Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (GIMMS NDVI) data were employed, while climatic data were also used for analysis of other influencing factors. It was shown that: (1) generally the vegetation cover in different erosion regions displayed similar increasing trends; (2) spatially the vegetation cover was highest in the water erosion region, the second highest was in the freeze–thaw region and the lowest in the wind erosion region; and (3) vegetation cover in the Yellow River basin is influenced by climate factors, especially by temperature. In water erosion regions, the temporal change of vegetation cover seemed complicated by comprehensive climatic and human influences. In wind erosion regions, the vegetation cover had close relations to precipitation. In freeze–thaw erosion regions, the vegetation cover was primarily altered by temperature. In all the three erosion regions, significant change of the vegetation cover occurred from 2000 just after the ‘Grain for Green’ (GFG) programme was implemented throughout China. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.