Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (3): 537-559.doi: 10.1007/s11442-022-1960-2

• Review Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics and progress of land use/cover change research during 1990-2018

HE Chunyang1,2, ZHANG Jinxi1,2, LIU Zhifeng1,2, HUANG Qingxu1,2   

  1. 1. Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability (CHESS), State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology (ESPRE), Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. School of Natural Resources, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2021-09-27 Accepted:2021-11-26 Online:2022-03-25 Published:2022-05-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971270);Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(2019QZKK0405)


Land use/cover change (LUCC) is the foundation and frontier for integrating multiple land surface processes. This paper aims to systematically review LUCC research from 1990 to 2018. Based on qualitative and quantitative analyses, we delineated the history of LUCC research and summarized their characteristics and major progress at different stages. We also identified the main challenges and proposed future directions for LUCC research. We found that the number of publications on LUCC research and their total citations grew exponentially. The research foci shifted from the process of LUCC during 1990-2004 to the impact of LUCC during 2005-2013 and then to the sustainability of LUCC from 2014 onwards. Currently, LUCC research is facing theoretical, methodological and practical challenges ranging from integrating the framework of sustainability science, adopting emerging technologies to supporting territorial spatial planning. To move forward, LUCC research should be closely integrated with landscape sustainability science and geodesign and take the leading role in territorial spatial planning to achieve the related Sustainable Development Goals.

Key words: land use/cover change, process, impact, sustainability, territorial spatial planning