Dong, G; Zhao, FY; Chen, JQ; Zhang, YQ; Qu, LP; Jiang, SC; Ochirbat, B; Chen, JY; Xin, XP; Shao, CL (2020). Non-climatic component provoked substantial spatiotemporal changes of carbon and water use efficiency on the Mongolian Plateau. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 15(9), 95009.

Understanding the joint impact of anthropologic and climatic changes on ecosystem function and dynamics is among the frontiers in global environmental change studies. Carbon and water balances are especially crucial to the sustainable ecosystem and functional returns in sensitive regions such as the Mongolian Plateau. In this study, the significance of non-climatic component (NCC) on carbon and water use efficiency (CUE and WUE) is quantified among the ecosystem types on the Mongolian Plateau. We mapped the spatial gradients of carbon/water balance and delineated the hotspots of NCC-driven CUE and WUE for 2000-2013 using gross and net primary production (GPP and NPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) products derived from the MODIS databases. Significantly higher CUE and WUE values were found in Mongolia (MG) than in Inner Mongolia (IM) due to both climatic forcing (CF) and NCC. NCC was found to dominate the changes in CUE and WUE in the steppes on the plateau by over 16% and 22%, respectively, but with spatially uneven distributions. NCC-driven WUE values were much higher than those driven by CF. The hotspots for NCC-driven CUE did not overlap with those of WUE, with CUE hotspots concentrated in the east of MG and northeast of IM; WUE hotspots were found in the central and Khangai regions of MG and eastern regions of IM. The NCC-driven CUE area in MG was from population growth and the industrial shares in gross domestic product, while the NCC-driven WUE area was due to livestock growth in MG but driven by the growth of cultivated lands in IM. In sum, we conclude that NCC provoked substantial spatiotemporal changes on carbon and water use. CF and NCC effects on carbon and water balance varied in space, by ecosystem type, and between the two political entities.