Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (6): 21310.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021310

Special Issue: 青藏高原生物多样性与生态安全

• Original Papers: Ecosystem Diversity •     Next Articles

A spatiotemporal analysis of human digital footprint and the human activities exposure of grassland biomass in Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve

Wenna Tu1,2, Jiawei Yi1,2, Yunyan Du1,2,*(), Nan Wang1,2, Jiale Qian1,2, Sheng Huang1,2, Xiaoyue Wang1,2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2021-08-11 Accepted:2022-04-19 Online:2022-06-20 Published:2022-06-19
  • Contact: Yunyan Du


Aims: Quantifying the pressure of human activities in protected areas is important for protecting ecological systems and reducing the impact of human activities. While many researchers have evaluated the impacts of human activities on species diversity, biological habitats or ecosystem services, it remains challenging to quantify the short-term dynamics of human disturbance in protected areas due to the coarse spatial and temporal resolutions of data reflecting human activity. This research attempts to study the dynamics of the scope and intensity of human activities through high- resolution digital footprint data, providing a new pathway for human activity monitoring and management refinement in protected areas.
Methods: Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve was selected as the research area in this study. We used 0.01° daily Tencent location request data and grassland biomass to derive three indicators for exploring the intensity of human digital footprint invasion and its impact on the ecological environment in Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve. These indicators included the human digital footprint coverage (α), the human digital footprint intensity (β), and the human activities exposure of grassland biomass (ε).
Results: (1) The human digital footprint in Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve had a spatiotemporal pattern of “multiple peaks, high in the southern and low in the northern zones, and rhythm of attractions”. After the Qinghai Lake was opened to the public in April, the β increased and then decreased, with the highest in August and the lowest in February. Human digital footprints mainly distributed in the popular scenic spots in the south and along the highway around Qinghai Lake. (2) The α and β showed a pattern of aggregation by month, with the largest values observed in August. The maximum daily α and β were 7.42% and 5.24, respectively. The closure of the Bird Island Scenic Area and Sand Island Scenic Area played an important role in reducing human invasion. (3) During the peak travel period in July and August, the human digital footprints invaded more seriously into the buffer zone and Experimental zone of Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve. Analysis on the human activities exposure of grassland biomass showed that human digital footprints had the greatest impact on grassland biomass along the Erlangjian-Heimahe route in the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve, with a highest impact of 2.24 at key tourist sites.
Conclusion: Our research demonstrated the potential effectiveness of digital human footprint data to study the impact of human activities on the ecological environment of the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve, which could support the refined ecological management in the reserve.

Key words: digital footprint, big data, exposure, Qinghai Lake, nature reserve