Land use/cover change is an important theme on the impacts of human activities on the earth systems and global environmental change. National land-use changes of China during 2010-2015 were acquired by the digital interpretation method using the high-resolution remotely sensed images, e.g. the Landsat 8 OLI, GF-2 remote sensing images. The spatiotemporal characteristics of land-use changes across China during 2010-2015 were revealed by the indexes of dynamic degree model, annual land-use changes ratio etc. The results indicated that the built-up land increased by 24.6×103 km2 while the cropland decreased by 4.9×103 km2, and the total area of woodland and grassland decreased by 16.4×103 km2. The spatial pattern of land-use changes in China during 2010-2015 was concordant with that of the period 2000-2010. Specially, new characteristics of land-use changes emerged in different regions of China in 2010-2015. The built-up land in eastern China expanded continually, and the total area of cropland decreased, both at decreasing rates. The rates of built-up land expansion and cropland shrinkage were accelerated in central China. The rates of built-up land expansion and cropland growth increased in western China, while the decreasing rate of woodland and grassland accelerated. In northeastern China, built-up land expansion slowed continually, and cropland area increased slightly accompanied by the conversions between paddy land and dry land. Besides, woodland and grassland area decreased in northeastern China. The characteristics of land-use changes in eastern China were essentially consistent with the spatial govern and control requirements of the optimal development zones and key development zones according to the Major Function-oriented Zones Planning implemented during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). It was a serious challenge for the central government of China to effectively protect the reasonable layout of land use types dominated with the key ecological function zones and agricultural production zones in central and western China. Furthermore, the local governments should take effective measures to strengthen the management of territorial development in future.
Ambient air pollution brought by the rapid economic development and industrial production in China has exerted a significant influence on socio-economic activities and public health, especially in the densely populated urban areas. Therefore, scientific examination of regional variation of urban air quality and its dominant factors is of great importance to regional environmental management. Based on daily air quality index (AQI) datasets spanning from 2014 to 2016, this study analysed the spatiotemporal characteristics of air quality across different regions throughout China and ascertained the determinants of urban air quality in disparate regions. The main findings are as follows: (1) The annual average value of the urban AQI in China decreased from 2014 to 2016, indicating a desirable trend in air quality at the national scale. (2) The attainment rate of the urban AQI exhibited an apparent spatially stratified heterogeneity, wherein North China retained a high AQI value. The increase of Moran’s I Index reported an apparent spillover effect among adjacent regions. (3) Both at the national and regional scales, the seasonal tendency of air quality in each year is similar, wherein good in summer and relatively poor in winter. (4) Results drawn from the Geographic Detector analysis show that dominant factors influencing AQI vary significantly across urban agglomerations. Topographical and meteorological variations in urban areas may lead to complex spatiotemporal variations in pollutant concentration. Whereas given the same natural conditions, the human-dominated factors, such as industrial structure and urban form, exert significant impacts on urban air quality.The spatial spillover effects and regional heterogeneity of urban air quality illustrated in this study suggest the governments and institutions should set priority to the importance of regional cooperation and collaboration in light of environment regulation and pollution prevention.
Daily average temperature data from 48 meteorological stations in Chinese oases that are within the distribution area of Populus euphratica were analyzed to determine the spatiotemporal responses of this tree to climate change. Specifically, the start and end date as well as the number of days that comprised the growing season were analyzed with a multi-year trend line and using the Mann-Kendall mutation test, inverse distance weighted interpolation (IDW) in the software ArcGIS, a Morlet wavelet power spectrum, and correlation analysis. The results of this study show that, over the last 56 years, the start date of the P. euphratica growing season has advanced, while the end date has been postponed, and the number of days that comprise the growing season have gradually increased. The changing trend rates recovered in this analysis for these three time slices are -1.34 d/10 a, 1.33 d/10a, and 2.66 d/10a (α ≥ 0.001), respectively. Data show that while spatial disparity is extremely significant, it is nevertheless the case that along a southwest-to-northeast transect of Chinese oases, the later the start date of the P. euphratica season, the sooner the end data and the shorter the growing season. Mutations points in start and end date, as well as for the growing season overall were observed in 2001, 1989, and 1996, respectively, and the data presented in this paper show that, in particular, the date of this end of this period is most sensitive to climate warming. Growing season cycles for P. euphratica are between 3.56 years and 7.14 years, consistent with the periodicity of El Ni?o events, while a start date cycle between 3.56 years and 4.28 years is consistent with atmospheric circulation cyclicity. The causal analysis presented in this paper shows that the Asian polar vortex area index (APVAI), the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau index (TPI), the westerly circulation index (WCI), and carbon dioxide emissions (CDE) are the main factors influencing spatiotemporal changes in the growth of P. euphratica, the effect of latitude during the growing season is more significant than altitude, and the start date of the growing season is more significantly influenced by these factors than end date. In addition, data show that the start date, end date, and length of the growing season are all significantly correlated with their average corresponding monthly temperature (correlation coefficients are -0.875, 0.770, and 0.897; α≥0.001). Thus, if the average temperature in March increases by 1℃, the start date of the growing season will advance by 2.21 days, while if the average temperature in October increases by the same margin then the seasonal end date will be delayed by 2.76 days. Similarly, if the average temperature between March and October increases by 1℃, the growing season will be extended by 7.78 days. The results of this study corroborate the fact that changes in the P. euphratica growing are sensitive to regional warming and are thus of considerable theoretical significance to our understanding of the responses of Chinese vegetation to climate change as well as to ecological restoration.
This study analyzed the spatial and temporal variations in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) on the Mongolian Plateau from 1982-2013 using Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) NDVI3g data and explored the effects of climate factors and human activities on vegetation. The results indicate that NDVI has slight upward trend in the Mongolian Plateau over the last 32 years. The area in which NDVI increased was much larger than that in which it decreased. Increased NDVI was primarily distributed in the southern part of the plateau, especially in the agro-pastoral ecotone of Inner Mongolia. Improvement in the vegetative cover is predicted for a larger area compared to that in which degradation is predicted based on Hurst exponent analysis. The NDVI-indicated vegetation growth in the Mongolian Plateau is a combined result of climate variations and human activities. Specifically, the precipitation has been the dominant factor and the recent human effort in protecting the ecological environments has left readily detectable imprints in the NDVI data series.
Drought has become a problem that is universally faced by global terrestrial ecosystems. Northeast China is located in a region sensitive to global climate changes, and one of the main impacts of climate changes in Northeast China is manifested as drought in growing seasons. This study analyzes the spatio-temporal evolution law of the water use efficiency (WUE) of the main natural vegetation (i.e., cold-temperate coniferous forests, temperate pine-broad-leaved mixed forests, warm-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forests, and grasslands) in Northeast China based on public MODIS data products, including MCD12Q1, MOD15A2H, MOD16A2, and MOD17A3H, and meteorological data from 2002 to 2013. The influence of drought events on the WUE of different vegetation types and their response to drought events are also investigated. The study findings are as follows: (1) drought in Northeast China frequently occurs in the regions stretching from 114.55°E to 120.90°E, and the percentage of drought area among the forests is lower than that among the grasslands during these years; (2) the annual average WUE of the natural vegetation ranges from 0.82 to 1.08 C/kg-1H2O, and the WUE of forests (0.82 to 1.08 C/kg-1H2O) is universally higher than that of grasslands (0.84 to 0.99 C/kg-1H2O); (3) in 2008, the regions where the WUE in drought conditions is higher than that in normal water conditions account for 86.11% of the study area, and a significant linear positive correlation is found between the WUE in drought conditions and the WUE in normal water conditions, whereas the degree of drought does not influence the WUE of the natural vegetation in an obviously linear manner; and (4) the WUE for the cold-temperate coniferous forests and temperate pine-broad-leaved mixed forests with a high ET or low NPP is more likely to rise in drought conditions; the WUE for the grasslands with a low Evapotranspiration (ET), Net Primary Production (NPP), and Leaf Area Index (LAI) is more likely to rise in drought conditions; and the ET, NPP, and LAI have no significant influence on the WUE for the warm-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forests in drought conditions. This study contributes to improving the evaluation of the influence of drought on natural ecosystems.
Sandbars are of vital ecological and environmental significance, which however, have been intensively influenced by human activities. Morphodynamic processes of sandbars along the Yichang-Chenglingji Reach of the Changjiang River, the channel immediately downstream of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD), are assessed based on remote sensing images between 2000 and 2016. It can be found that the entire area of sandbars reduces drastically by 19.23% from 149.04 km2 in 2003 to 120.38 km2 in 2016, accompanied with an increase in water surface width. Owing to differences in sediment grain size and anti-erosion capacity, sandbar area in the upstream sandy gravel reach (Yichang-Dabujie) and downstream sandy reach (Dabujie-Chenglingji) respectively decreases by 45.94% (from 20.79 km2 to 11.24 km2) and 14.93% (from 128.30 km2 to 109.14 km2). Furtherly, morphological evolutions of sandbars are affected by channel type: in straight-microbend channel, mid-channel sandbars exhibit downstream moving while maintaining the basic profile; in meandering channel, point sandbars show erosion and deposition in convex and concave bank respectively, with mid-channel sandbars distributing sporadically; in bending-branching channel, point sandbars experience erosion and move downstream while mid-channel sandbars show erosion in the head part along with retreating outline. We document that the primary mechanism of sandbars shrinkages along the Yichang-Chenglingji Reach can be attributed to TGD induced suspended sediment concentration decreasing and increasing in unsaturation of sediment carrying capacity. Additionally, channel type can affect the morphological evolution of sandbars. Along the Yichang-Chenglingji Reach, sandbars in straight-microbend channel are more affected by water flow than that in bending-branching channel.
After the bursting of Huiten Nor in Hoh Xil Region in September, 2011, the topic on whether the water overflowed from the Salt Lake would enter into the Chumaer River and become the northernmost source of the Yangtze River has aroused wide concern from public and academic field. Based on Landsat TM/ETM+/OLI remote sensing images during 2010-2015, SRTM 1 arc-second data, Google Earth elevation data and the observation data from the Wudaoliang meteorological station, the study initially analyzed the variations of the Salt Lake and its overflowing condition and probability. The results showed that the area of the Salt Lake expanded sharply from October 2011 to April 2013, and then it stepped into a stable expansion period. On October 27, 2015, the area of the Salt Lake had arrived at 151.38 km2, which was about 3.35 times the area of the lake on March 3, 2010. The Salt Lake will overflow when its area reaches the range from 218.90 km2 to 220.63 km2. Due to the differences between SRTM DEM and Google Earth elevation data, the water level of the Salt Lake simulated would be 12 m or 9.6 m higher than the current level when the lake overflowed, and its reservoir capacity would increase by 23.71 km3 or 17.27 km3, respectively. Meanwhile, the overflowed water of the Salt Lake would run into the Qingshui River basin from its eastern part. Although the Salt Lake does not overflow in the coming decade, with watershed expansion of the Salt Lake and the projected precipitation increase in Hoh Xil region, the probability of water overflow from the Salt Lake and becoming a tributary of the Yangtze River will exist in the long term.
Urbanization significantly increases the risk of urban flooding. Therefore, quantitative study of urban rainfall-runoff processes can provide a scientific basis for urban planning and management. In this paper, the built-up region within the Fifth Ring Road of Beijing was selected as the study area. The details of land cover and urban function zones (UFZs) were identified using GIS and RS methods. On this basis, the SCS-CN model was adopted to analyze the rainfall-runoff risk characteristics of the study area. The results showed that: (1) UFZs within different levels of runoff risk varied under different rainfall conditions. The area ratio of the UFZs with high runoff risk increased from 18.90% (for rainfall return period of 1a) to 54.74% (for period of 100a). Specifically, urban commercial areas tended to have the highest runoff risk, while urban greening spaces had the lowest. (2) The spatial characteristics of the runoff risks showed an obvious circular distribution. Spatial cluster areas with high runoff risk were mainly concentrated in the center of the study area, while those with low runoff risk were mainly distributed between the fourth and fifth ring roads. The results indicated that the spatial clustering characteristic of urban runoff risk and runoff heterogeneity among different UFZs should be fully considered during urban rainwater management.
Impervious surface (IS) is often recognized as the indicator of urban environmental changes. Numerous research efforts have been devoted to studying its spatio-temporal dynamics and ecological effects, especially for the IS in Beijing metropolitan region. However, most previous studies primarily considered the Beijing metropolitan region as a whole without considering the differences and heterogeneity among the function zones. In this study, the subpixel impervious surface results in Beijing within a time series (1991, 2001, 2005, 2011 and 2015) were extracted by means of the classification and regression tree (CART) model combined with change detection models. Then based on the method of standard deviation ellipse, Lorenz curve, contribution index (CI) and landscape metrics, the spatio-temporal dynamics and variations of IS (1991, 2001, 2011 and 2015) in different function zones and districts were analyzed. It is found that the total area of impervious surface in Beijing increased dramatically during the study period, increasing about 144.18%. The deflection angle of major axis of standard deviation ellipse decreased from 47.15° to 38.82°, indicating the major development axis in Beijing gradually moved from northeast-southwest to north-south. Moreover, the heterogeneity of impervious surface’s distribution among 16 districts weakened gradually, but the CI values and landscape metrics in four function zones differed greatly. The urban function extended zone (UFEZ), the main source of the growth of IS in Beijing, had the highest CI values. Its lowest CI value was 1.79 that is still much higher than the highest CI value in other function zones. The core function zone (CFZ), the traditional aggregation zone of impervious surface, had the highest contagion index (CONTAG) values, but it contributed less than UFEZ due to its small area. The CI value of the new urban developed zone (NUDZ) increased rapidly, and it increased from negative to positive and multiplied, becoming an important contributor to the rise of urban impervious surface. However, the ecological conservation zone (ECZ) had a constant negative contribution all the time, and its CI value decreased gradually. Moreover, the landscape metrics and centroids of impervious surface in different density classes differed greatly. The high-density impervious surface had a more compact configuration and a greater impact on the eco-environment.
Optimizing rural settlements is an important measure to cope with rural decline, and improve the quality of rural life and attractions. This study introduces the "life quality theory". Based on the mechanisms governing the interactions between rural settlement space and life quality, this study examines how to optimize the spatial organization of rural settlements. Three aspects are evaluated - the integration of rural settlement spatial functions, optimization of spatial structure, and regulation of spatial scale - with the objective of building an optimization mode and framework for the spatial organization of rural settlements with high life quality. Our results suggest the following: (1) The settlement is the spatial carrier of life quality, which is an essential settlement component, and these two aspects influence and improve each other. Therefore, reasonable rural settlement space is an important precondition for higher life quality. (2) The spatial function types of rural settlements can be divided into those that maintain livelihoods, develop industry, and upgrade life quality. Optimizing spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality requires promoting the maintenance of livelihood, integration of industrial development, and implantation in quality improvement. (3) There are two important components of optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements. One is promoting the organic concentration of living, agricultural, and industrial spaces, the reasonable distribution of social intercourse, recreational, and services spaces, and the organic balance of living, production, and ecological spaces, so as to reasonably optimize the combination of internal spatial types in settlements. The other is forming a functional structure level of a “comprehensive village-featured village” and building spatial organization settlement modes connected by rural roads by relocating and adjusting the function of villages. These changes would require the destruction of underdeveloped villages, retaining normal villages, enlarging important villages, and constructing new villages. (4) As an ideal mode for optimizing rural settlements space based on life quality, the Rural Road-Oriented Development Model (RROD model) should be built at a rational scale for unit settlement and distance between settlements, leading to a fully functional RROD system with rational structure, auxiliary facility, and well-organized distribution.