Airborne Photos  Photographer: JIA Gensuo

Rivers, lakes, and riparian vegetation are clearly visible even under cloud shadows over mountain foothills in Wyoming. Clouds are identical over wetlands.

Lakes are still covered by snow and ice in late June near coast of the Arctic Ocean. Tundra plants just start to grow around polygons and frost-boils.

Mosaic of prairie, pasture, and wetlands in northern Colorado

Vertical zonation of snow and glacier, alpine meadow, and coniferous forests in western US in mid summer

Dense riparian vegetations are established along an inland river that snakes in vast desert that is covered with very sparse shrubs. Location: Nevada

Distribution of vegetation is shaped by elevation and slopes in this temperate mountain in northern Beijing, with late vegetation onset on mountain tops. Valleys are largely cultivated.

Mosaic of sand dunes and lowland oasis in the Tengri Desert

Forests are recovering from a recent wildfire. Fire severity was apparently affected by canopy cover, terrain, and road barrier.

Woodlands and shrubs spread over valleys in this semi-arid mountain, where urban expansion is stopped at its foothills.

Water is a key limiting ecological factor for natural vegetation and landuse in drylands. Here, residences are mainly built near rivers, while irrigated pastures are much greener than background grassland.

Woodlands return to these severely eroded hills after decade of ecological restoration efforts, and provide protection for croplands and villages in northeast China. Such ecosystem service is especially important in early growing season.


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