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Mapping Human Influence Intensity in the Tibetan Plateau for Conservation of Ecological Service Functions

October 25, 2017 |

This paper was originally published in Ecosystem Services


  • The human influence intensity (HII) of the TP was low, and the eastern and southeastern TP saw high HII.
  • The county-scale HII increased by 31.45% for 1990–2010, which is greater than the global level of 9% for 1993–2009.
  • There are 11.02% of the grids which experienced HII declines for 1990–2010.
  • Rapid increases of HII in water retention and biodiversity conservation areas for 1990–2010 were detected.
  • Implications of HII for ecosystem services and biodiversity are formulated.

Abstract: Human activities pose severe threats to ecosystems. As the Earth’s third pole, the Tibetan Plateau (TP) provides various ecosystem services for human beings, including water resources for nearly 40% of the world’s population. In this study, four categories of human pressures on the environment were analyzed firstly and then summed cumulatively to map the human influence intensity (HII) in the TP for 1990–2010 at county and 1 km scales.

Subsequently, HII characteristics within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation were analyzed. The results showed that HII of the TP was low overall. The eastern and southeastern TP and the central part of the Tibet Autonomous Region saw high HII. For 1990–2010, the 1 km scale mean HII increased by 28.43%, which is much greater than the global level of 9% for 1993–2009, suggesting that the TP and the ecosystem services it provided may face with more threats. HII increase was mainly observed in the northeastern TP. Rapid increase of human activities within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation during 1990–2010 were detected, especially for the former. The obtained temporally-consistent HII datasets will be conducive to ecosystem services related decision making…”

Read on and access the full paper at: Ecosystem Services.

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