Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2009, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (2): 213-224.doi: 10.1007/s11442-009-0213-y

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial heterogeneity of urban land-cover landscape in Guangzhou from 1990 to 2005

GONG Jianzhou1,2, LIU Yansui2, XIA Beicheng3   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China|
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    3. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2008-07-24 Revised:2008-10-11 Online:2009-04-25 Published:2009-04-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40635029; Guangzhou Science & Technology Program, No.08C027


Urbanization has been the most important process that changed land cover landscape in Guangzhou since reformation, especially since 1990. It is essential for monitoring and assessing ecological consequences of urbanization to understand landscape quantitative characteristics and its changes. Based on four land-cover type maps interpreted from remote sensing TM images of 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005, combining gradient analysis with landscape metrics, the quantified spatial pattern and its dynamics of urbanization in Guangzhou was got. Three landscape metrics were computed within different regional areas including the whole study area, two transects along two highways (one N–S and the other W–E) and radiation zones with equal distance outwards the city center were set. Buffer zones for transects N–S and W–E were outlined along highways. The following questions should be answered in this paper: What responses were implied with changing spatial grain size or extent for landscape pattern analysis? Could gradient progress of urbanization be characterized by landscape pattern analysis? Did landscape metrics reveal urban expanding gradually? Were there directional differences in land cover landscape pattern during urbanizing development? The results gave some affirmative answers. Landscape pattern exhibited obviously scale-dependent to grain size and extent. The landscape metrics with gradient analysis could quantitatively approach spatial pattern of urbanization. A precise location for urbanized area, like city center and sub-center, could be identified by multiple landscape metrics. Multiple adjunctive centers occurred as indicated by analysis of radiation zones around the city center. Directional differences of landscape pattern along the two transects (N–S and W–E) came into being. For example, fragmentation of landscape in the transect W–E was obviously higher than that in the transect N–S. All in all, some interesting and important ecological implications were revealed under landscape patterns of two transects or radiation zones, and that was the important step to link pattern with processes in urban ecological studies and the basis to improve urban environment.

Key words: spatial heterogeneity, land-cover landscape, scale, Guangzhou