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Article

Impacts of Dam Operation on Vegetation Dynamics of Mid-Channel Bars in the Mid-Lower Yangtze River, China

by 1,2,3, 1,3,*, 4, 1,3, 1,3, 1,2,3 and 1,3
1
Key Laboratory of Reservoir Aquatic Environment, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing 400714, China
2
College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Chongqing Jiaotong University, Chongqing 400074, China
3
Chongqing School, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing 400714, China
4
Observation and Research Station of Ecological Restoration for Chongqing Typical Mining Areas, Ministry of Natural Resources, Chongqing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Chongqing 401120, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christopher Ndehedehe
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(20), 4190; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs13204190
Received: 14 September 2021 / Revised: 12 October 2021 / Accepted: 15 October 2021 / Published: 19 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Floodplain Rivers and Freshwater Ecosystems)
Vegetation dynamics on mid-channel bars (MCBs) is essential for supporting ecosystem functions and associated services in river systems, especially in dammed large rivers. Generally, there are two possible changing patterns that vegetation of MCBs downstream a dam would experience. On one hand, the vegetation area may shrink because of a decrease in the MCB area in the post-dam period, which has been observed in many rivers around the world. On the other hand, the MCB vegetation area may expand because flood disturbances would be weakened by dam operation. However, little evidence has been reported to clarify such confusion. Therefore, vegetation dynamics of MCBs in the mid-lower Yangtze River downstream the Three Gorges Dam (TGD; the world’s largest dam) is selected as a case study to address the issue. Using long-term (1987–2017) Landsat archive images, this study reveals the spatiotemporal variations of vegetation area change intensities (VACIs; indicated by dynamic trends) on MCBs in the mid-lower Yangtze River. Results show that an overall VACI in the post-dam period (2003–2017) is about three times faster than that in the pre-dam period (1987–2002). In other words, the rate of vegetation colonization accelerated after the TGD operation began in 2003. Moreover, the VACIs in the post-dam period are size dependent, where large size MCBs are likely to gain higher VACIs: Small-sized MCBs (0.33 km2/yr), medium-sized MCBs (1.23 km2/yr), large-sized MCBs (1.49 km2/yr). In addition, VACIs of individual MCBs in the post-dam period are distance dependent, where the further a MCB was from the TGD, the higher the VACI. It is also suggested that the weakened flood disturbances in the post-dam could explain the rapid vegetation growth and colonization. This work is not only beneficial for managing and protecting MCBs downstream the TGD after its operation, but is also helpful in understanding vegetation dynamics of MCBs in other dammed river systems around the world. View Full-Text
Keywords: Three Gorges Dam; flood disturbances; remote sensing monitoring; vegetation colonization; sandbars Three Gorges Dam; flood disturbances; remote sensing monitoring; vegetation colonization; sandbars
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhou, X.; Wen, Z.; Huang, Y.; Yi, X.; Ma, M.; Liao, T.; Wu, S. Impacts of Dam Operation on Vegetation Dynamics of Mid-Channel Bars in the Mid-Lower Yangtze River, China. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 4190. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs13204190

AMA Style

Zhou X, Wen Z, Huang Y, Yi X, Ma M, Liao T, Wu S. Impacts of Dam Operation on Vegetation Dynamics of Mid-Channel Bars in the Mid-Lower Yangtze River, China. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(20):4190. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs13204190

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhou, Xu, Zhaofei Wen, Yuanyang Huang, Xuemei Yi, Maohua Ma, Tao Liao, and Shengjun Wu. 2021. "Impacts of Dam Operation on Vegetation Dynamics of Mid-Channel Bars in the Mid-Lower Yangtze River, China" Remote Sensing 13, no. 20: 4190. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs13204190

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