The Grain for Green Program Enhanced Synergies between Ecosystem Regulating Services in Loess Plateau, China

Ziyue Yu, Xiangzheng Deng, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Decades of reckless deforestation have caused serious soil erosion and land desertification issues in the Loess Plateau (LP). “Grain for Green” Program (GFGP), one of the world’s largest ecological restoration projects, is crucial to improve the ecological environment. Previous studies have demonstrated that GFGP lowers soil erosion in the LP. However, there are trade-offs and synergies between ecological services. Does strengthening soil conservation prevent enhancing other ecosystem services? Consequently, can the GFGP improve many ecological services simultaneously? This study compares changes in NDVI prior to and following the implementation of the GFGP in LP to the enhancement of ecosystem services. During the research period, the LP’s overall vegetation cover rose significantly, particularly in the GFGP’s major counties. Significant improvements were made to ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and habitat quality. The GFGP enhanced the synergistic linkages between ecological services. The implementation of the GFGP decreased water yield, suggesting trade-offs with other ecosystem services. Additionally, we investigate regional trade-offs/synergies between ecosystem services and their influencing factors, which were influenced by topographic and climatic variables. To maximize the benefits of ecological restoration efforts, we need a deeper understanding of the relationships between ecosystem services and the mechanisms that drive them. Thus, policymakers can scientifically exert control over local influences on ecosystem services, either by boosting the provision of specific services or by limiting specific influences in order to maintain ecosystem stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5940
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Grain for Green
  • Loess Plateau
  • ecological restoration
  • ecosystem services
  • trade-offs/synergies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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