Climate and Environmental Change

The causes of land landscape changes in semi-arid area of Northwest China: a case study of Yulin city

  • 1. College of Tourism and Environmental Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China|
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2005-09-16

  Revised date: 2005-12-18

  Online published: 2006-06-25

Supported by

The National Basic Research Program of China, No.2006CB400505; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40171007; Key Project of Ministry of Land and Resources, No.20010102


Rapid land landscape change has taken place in many arid and semi-arid regions such as the vulnerable ecological area over the last decade. In this paper, we quantified land landscape change of Yulin in this area between 1985 and 2000 using remote sensing and GIS. It was found that fallow landscape decreased by 125,148 hm2 while grassland and woodland increased by 107,975 hm2 and 17,157 hm2, respectively. The major factors responsible for these changes are identified as the change in the government policy on preserving the environment, continued growth in mining, and urbanization. The efforts in restoring the deteriorated ecosystem have reaped certain benefits in reducing the spatial extent of sandy land through replacement by non-irrigated farmland, woodland and grassland. On the other hand, continued expansion of mining industry and urbanization has exerted adverse impacts on the land landscape. At present regional economic development conflicts directly with the protection of the natural environment. Such a conflict has caused the destruction to the land resources and fragmentation of the landscape accompanied by land desertification, the case is even serious in some localities.

Cite this article

GUO Liying, REN Zhiyuan, LIU Yansui . The causes of land landscape changes in semi-arid area of Northwest China: a case study of Yulin city[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2006 , 16(2) : 192 -198 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-006-0207-y