Quantifying Drought Resistance of Drylands in Northern China from 1982 to 2015: Regional Disparity in Drought Resistance

Maohong Wei, Hailing Li, Muhammad Adnan Akram, Longwei Dong, Ying Sun, Weigang Hu, Haiyang Gong, Dongmin Zhao, Junlan Xiong, Shuran Yao, Yuan Sun, Qingqing Hou, Yahui Zhang, Xiaoting Wang, Shubin Xie, Yan Deng, Liang Zhang, Abraham Allan Degen, Jinzhi Ran, Jianming Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drylands are expected to be affected by greater global drought variability in the future; consequently, how dryland ecosystems respond to drought events needs urgent attention. In this study, the Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Standardized Precipitation and Evaporation Index (SPEI) were employed to quantify the resistance of ecosystem productivity to drought events in drylands of northern China between 1982 and 2015. The relationships and temporal trends of resistance and drought characteristics, which included length, severity, and interval, were examined. The temporal trends of resistance responded greatest to those of drought length, and drought length was the most sensitive and had the strongest negative effect with respect to resistance. Resistance decreased with increasing drought length and did not recover with decreasing drought length in hyper-arid regions after 2004, but did recover in arid and semi-arid regions from 2004 and in dry sub-humid regions from 1997. We reason that the regional differences in resistance may result from the seed bank and compensatory effects of plant species under drought events. In particular, this study implies that the ecosystem productivity of hyper-arid regions is the most vulnerable to drought events, and the drought–resistance and drought–recovery interactions are likely to respond abnormally or even shift under ongoing drought change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Compensatory effect
  • Drought events
  • Drought variability
  • Drylands
  • Resistance
  • Seed bank


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