Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 510-524.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0510-5

• Land Use Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Sustainable land-use patterns for arid lands:A case study in the northern slope areas of the Tianshan Mountains

LUO Geping1, FENG Yixing1,3, ZHANG Baiping2, CHENG Weiming2   

  1. 1. Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2009-08-05 Revised:2009-10-16 Online:2010-08-15 Published:2010-08-15
  • About author:Luo Geping (1968–), Ph.D and Professor, specialized in the field of land change and its effects. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China, No.2009CB825105; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40671015


Sustainable land use patterns are ecological and economic prerequisites of regional sustainable development. This is especially true for arid lands, where the environment is wholly fragile thanks to extremely limited precipitation, and where human activities have greatly transformed natural desert system by clearing natural vegetation, expanding oases and even building dams on inland rivers. However, the current studies on land use patterns are still characterized by field investigations and case studies, with almost no solid scientific basis. This paper holds that land types and their combination patterns are the principal basis for designing sustainable land use patterns, and that GIS and RS-based large-scale land type mapping and the study of their spatial combination structures should be coordinated with the demand of social development. The existing environmental problems induced by irrational land use mostly result from their deviation from the natural properties of land types. Taking the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains (NSTM) as an example and considering land type patterns as the basis of land use patterns, this paper improves the vertical oasis- and-mid-mountain two-belts development model and the sustainable mountain land use model for arid lands put forward in recent years; and in terms of oases patterns, it outlines oasis development models, including intensive land use pattern in alluvial-diluvial fans, moderate agricultural development pattern in alluvial plains, and ecological land use pattern in river-end oases.

Key words: northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, land type, land-use pattern, oases