Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2014, Vol. 0 ›› Issue (1): 104-112.doi: 10.1007/s11769-013-0647-0

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Regional-scale Identification of Three-dimensional Pattern of Vegetation Landscapes

SUN Ranhao1, ZHANG Baiping2, CHEN Liding1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2013-04-09 Revised:2013-07-01 Online:2014-01-06 Published:2014-01-06
  • Contact: SUN Ranhao,


The altitudinal pattern of vegetation is usually identified by field surveys, however, these can only provide discrete data on a local mountain. Few studies identifying and analyzing the altitudinal vegetation pattern on a regional scale are available. This study selected central Inner Mongolia as the study area, presented a method for extracting vegetation patterns in altitudinal and horizontal directions. The data included a vegetation map at a 1:1 000 000 scale and a digital elevation model at a 1:250 000 scale. The three-dimensional vegetation pattern indicated the distribution probability for each vegetation type and the transition zones between different vegetation landscapes. From low to high elevations, there were five vegetation types in the southern mountain flanks, including the montane steppe, broad-leaved forest, coniferous mixed forest, montane dwarf-scrub and sub-alpine shrub-meadow. Correspondingly, only four vegetation types were found in the northern flanks, except for the montane steppe. This study could provide a general model for understanding the complexity and diversity of mountain environment and landscape.

Key words: landscape pattern, vegetation pattern, altitudinal zone, landscape identification, mountain landscape