Land use and landscape change driven by gully land consolidation project: A case study of a typical watershed in the Loess Plateau

  • LI Yurui , 1 ,
  • LI Yi 2 ,
  • FAN Pengcan 1, 3 ,
  • SUN Jian 1 ,
  • LIU Yansui , 1, 3, *
  • 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2. College of Geomatics, Xi’an University of Science and Technology, Xi’an 710054, China
  • 3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*Corresponding author: Liu Yansui (1965-), PhD and Professor, specialized in land science, land engineering and urban-rural development. E-mail:

Author: Li Yurui (1983-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in rural geography and land engineering.E-mail:

Received date: 2018-08-20

  Accepted date: 2018-10-26

  Online published: 2019-04-19

Supported by

National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2017YFC0504701

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571166, No.41731286


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


Exploring the impact of land consolidation on the changes of local land use and the landscape patterns is important for optimizing land consolidation models and thus accelerating the sustainable development of local communities. Using a typical small watershed in Yan’an City (Shaanxi, China), the impact of gully land consolidation on land use and landscape pattern change, based on high-resolution remote sensing image data and landscape pattern analysis, was investigated. The results showed that: (1) The terraces, sloping fields, shrub land and grassland at the bottom and both sides of the gully were converted mainly to high quality check dam land. Also, some of the shrub land, due to biological measures, was converted to more ecologically suitable native forest. Thus, the areas of check dam land and forests increased by 159 and 70 ha, while that of shrub land, grassland and sloping fields decreased by 112, 63 and 59 ha, respectively. (2) The average patch area and patch cohesion index for the check dam land increased, which indicated that the production function improved. The landscape shape index and the patch cohesion index for forestland and shrub land were maintained at a high level, and thus the ecological function remained stable. (3) At the watershed level, the degree of fragmentation of the landscape decreased and the landscape became more diversified and balanced; the anti-jamming capability of the landscape and the stability of the ecosystem improved also. Research suggests that implementing gully land consolidation in a rational manner may contribute to improvements in the structure of local land use and the patterns of landscape.

Cite this article

LI Yurui , LI Yi , FAN Pengcan , SUN Jian , LIU Yansui . Land use and landscape change driven by gully land consolidation project: A case study of a typical watershed in the Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019 , 29(5) : 719 -729 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1623-0

1 Introduction

The hilly and gully region of the Loess Plateau is one of the most ecologically fragile areas in China. In the 1950s, the average soil erosion modulus per year in this region was as high as 10,000-20,000 t/km2. Also, the sustainable development of agriculture and measures aimed at poverty alleviation have been affected by severe soil and water erosion, while unreasonable land use has been one of the prime reasons for soil and water erosion (Chen et al., 2001). The region has been highlighted as being at great risk in terms of ecological safety (Fu et al., 2002; Gao and Zheng, 2004). The Grain for Green Project (GGP) has significantly improved the vegetation coverage and the ecological environment on the Loess Plateau (Cao et al., 2018; Liu et al., 2018a). However, with the implementation of the GGP, the region has seen a sharp reduction in cultivated land. For example, from 2000 to 2008, the area of cultivated land decreased by 10.8% (Lv et al., 2012), while farmland in Yan’an decreased by about 30%. These reductions have had negative impacts on food security and on the livelihoods of local farmers, triggering new contradictions on the human-environment system. In view of this, Yan’an City has undertaken an innovative gully land consolidation project (GLCP) which is characterized by adapting gullies for farmland purposes, thus making full use of the land resources of gullies and ensuring continuity in agricultural development. The project seeks to make best use of cultivated land reserves and promote ecological restoration by returning farmland to forest in mountainous regions and at the same time adapting and consolidating the gullies in the valleys to farmland, so as to optimize the fragile human-environment system and the ecological environment of the region (Liu and Li, 2017; Liu et al., 2017).
Land is a fundamental necessity for human survival and land use is a reflection of the natural and socio-economic status of a certain region. Consequently, land use development may be considered as a direct reflection of the transformation and management of the earth’s surface by human activities (Long et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2012). Landscape patterns refer to the spatial structures of landscapes, which can reflect the spatial distribution of landscape types and quantities (Chen and Fu, 1996; Chen et al., 2008). Land use may not only change the surface structures but also impact directly on the evolving nature of landscape patterns, thereby affecting the safety of the entire ecosystem (Tuan et al., 1971; Zhao et al., 2004). At present, many studies have been carried out on the dynamic evolution of land use and landscape patterns at home and abroad (Lausch and Herzog, 2002; Liu et al., 2008; Long et al., 2009; Lambin and Meyfroidt, 2011; Liu et al., 2014), and the research directions have tended to shift from large-scale comprehensive research to small-scale in-depth studies (Fu et al., 1999; Deng et al., 2009; Hu et al., 2011; Zhou et al., 2011; Chen et al., 2014). Such in depth studies on the impact of the GLCP on land use and landscape patterns may contribute to a better understanding of the GLCP and assist in a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the GLCP.
To date, some research has been performed on the principles and technologies of the GLCP, and the impact of the GLCP on the development of soil, water resources and agriculture in watersheds. Liu and Li (2017) suggested that the GLCP should follow the concept of “landscape harmony, stable structure, sustainable utilization and efficient function”, and proposed zoning, classification standards and key techniques for the GLCP. Lei et al. (2017) analyzed the formation mechanism for subsurface flow under the influence of a GLCP in Yan’an, presenting a comprehensive unpowered subsurface flow-adjusting irrigation technology system based on the subsurface flow characteristics. Liu et al. (2017) conducted research on the cultivation and industrialization of forage rape in a typical region of a GLCP for the purposes of promoting sustainable agricultural development and improving farmers’ livelihoods. However, few studies have been carried out on the impact of a GLCP on local land use and landscape patterns, and comprehensive awareness of the impact of the GLCP on the local land and the ecological system has yet to be realized.
Given the above, this paper aims to analyze systematically the dynamic changes of land use and landscape patterns in a study area which has experienced a GLCP. Specifically, remote sensing, GIS technology and landscape pattern analysis methods are used to gain a better understanding of the impact of a GLCP on local land and ecological systems, thus providing scientific reference for the optimization of the GLCP, and improvement of the ecological environment together with sustainable development of the watershed and the Loess Plateau.

2 Methodology

2.1 Study area

The S watershed was selected for the case study. This watershed, located in the Baota District of Yan’an City in Shaanxi Province, is 46 km east of Yan’an City (Figure 1). The length of the main gully is about 12 km and the total area of the watershed is 24.87 km2. The study area, characterized by typical loess hills and gullies and at an altitude of 900-1200 m with a ground height difference of 100-200 m, is dominated by a semi-arid continental monsoon climate. The geomorphology consists of ridges, gully slopes and the gully bed and the gully slope is the main landform. There are ravines, ridges, deep valleys and tattered landforms in this region, and the surface is covered with Quaternary loess. There are four villages in the watershed, with a total of 606 households and a population of 2191. To reduce soil and water erosion and ensure food security, the watershed has benefited from a variety of ecological restoration projects. In the 1960s and 1970s, check dam projects were mainly implemented; in the 1980s and 1990s, smaller watershed management projects were undertaken. The GGP has been implemented since 1999 and the GLCP has been underway since 2013. The research team has carried out extensive observations and investigations in this region since 2012.
Figure 1 Location and DEM of the study area

2.2 Data

To fully reflect the changes of land use and landscape before and after the GCLP, and considering practical accessibility issues and the clarity of remote sensing images for the study region, this research selected high resolution (resolution 2 m) satellite images as the main data source, the images being acquired in 2010 and 2016 from Google Earth. Based on the land use classification criteria of China, combined with the actual land use characteristics of the study area, the lands were divided into the following types: cropland, forest, shrub land, grassland, industrial and mining land, rural residential land, rural roads, and water and bare land. In addition, the croplands were subdivided into check dam land, terraces and sloping fields according to their geographic locations. Random sampling and field verification showed that the overall accuracy of image interpretation was over 95%. To gain more comprehensive information on the land consolidation project, land use and landscape change, four special field surveys were also conducted. Remote sensing images and records of interviews constituted the main data and the materials used.

2.3 Methods

The methods employed to analyze land use and landscape pattern change in the watershed are based on quantitative research on the high-resolution remote sensing images and field investigations. ArcGIS was used to perform geometric rectification, coordinate registration, visual interpretation and vectorization of the images, and through field investigations, verification and correction of the interpreted data from remote sensing images was performed. The land use transfer matrix, which contained abundant information about the directions of land changes and the source and compositional information of various land types, has been widely used to study land conversion between different land use types (Long et al., 2007; Li et al., 2017). This method was also employed in this study. Based on the spatial overlap analysis of the two-stage land use map in ArcGIS10.3, the land use transfer matrix during the study period was obtained. Furthermore, the Sankey diagram was employed to visualize the conversions of different land use types. A Microsoft Power BI Desktop was used to prepare the Sankey diagram.
The landscape index highly condenses the landscape pattern information, and may be used for analyzing various ecological processes at different scales to reflect the ecological characteristics of landscape structure and evolution (Chen and Fu, 1996; Gong et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 2009). According to the aims of this study and the characteristics of the watershed, three indicators were selected at the type level (Table 1), namely the average patch area (AREA_MN), the landscape shape index (LSI) and the patch cohesion index (COHESION); and eight indicators were selected at the landscape level, namely the number of patches (NP), the patch density (PD), the edge density (ED), the Shannon diversity index (SHDI), the Shannon evenness index (SHEI), the contagion index (CONTAG), the LSI and the average patch area (AREA_MN). These indicators can largely reveal the area advantage, shape, spatial layout or degree of aggregation of the landscape. FRAGSTATS, a widely used landscape pattern analysis package, was employed to compute the above landscape indices.
Table 1 Selected landscape indices used in the study
Index Formula Note Brief description of index
Average patch area (AREA_MN) AREA_MN =$\frac{Ai}{Ni}$ Ni-number of patch type i;
Ai-area of patch type i;
E-total length of all patch boundaries;
A-total landscape area;
Pij-total length of edge in landscape between patch types i and k;
aij-area of patch i within specified neighborhood of patch j;
Ak-total number of cells in the landscape;
Pi-proportion of the landscape occupied by patch type i;
gik-number of patch i within specified neighborhood of patch type j;
m-number of patch types present in the landscape
AREA_MN describes landscape fragmentation. The larger average patch area represents the lower landscape fragmentation.
Landscape shape index (LSI) $LSI=\frac{0.25E}{\sqrt{A}}$ LSI describes the complexity of landscape shape. The higher the LSI the more complex the shape of the landscape.
Patch cohesion index
$COHESION=\left[ 1-\frac{\sum\limits_{i=1}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{Pij}}}{\sum\limits_{i=1}^{m}{\sum\limits_{j=1}^{n}{Pij\cdot \sqrt{aij}}}} \right]\cdot \left[ 1-\frac{1}{\sqrt{A\text{k}}} \right]$ COHESION describes physical connectivity of the corresponding patch type. The higher the COHESION the stronger the connectivity of the patches.
Number of patches (NP) NP=Ni NP describes landscape fragmentation, a landscape with a higher NP would be considered as more fragmented.
Patch density
PD= PD describes landscape fragmentation, a landscape with a greater PD would be considered more fragmented.
Edge density
$ED=\frac{1}{Ai}\sum\limits_{j=1}^{M}{Pij}$ ED describes landscape fragmentation, a landscape with a greater ED would be considered more fragmented.
Shannon diversity index (SHDI) $SHDI=-\sum\limits_{i=1}^{m}{\left( Pi In Pi \right)}$ SHDI describes landscape diversity. A larger SHDI indicates that the landscape has more diverse patch types.
Shannon evenness index (SHEI) $SHEI=\frac{-\sum\limits_{i=1}^{m}{\left( Pi\cdot In Pi \right)}}{In m}$ SHEI describes landscape evenness. A smaller SHEI indicates that the landscape is dominated by one or a few dominant patch types.
Contagion index
$CONTAG=1+\frac{\sum\limits_{i=1}^{m}{\sum\limits_{k=1}^{m}{\left[ \left( Pi \right)\left( \frac{gk}{\sum\limits_{k=1}^{m}{gk}} \right) \right]\cdot \left[ In\left( Pi \right)\left( \frac{gik}{\sum\limits_{k=1}^{m}{gik}} \right) \right]}}}{2In\left( m \right)}$ CONTAG describes landscape contagion. A larger contagion index indicates that the dominant patch types in the landscape form a good connection.

3 Results and analysis

3.1 Land use change

The implementation of the GLCP has caused significant changes in land use structure of the S watershed (Figures 2 and Table 2): (1) The area of croplands increased from 272.36 ha in 2010 to 355.31 ha in 2016, and share of total area increased from 10.95% to 14.29%. In line with local conditions, the terraces, sloping fields, shrub land and the grassland at the bottom and both sides of the gully were mostly converted into high quality check dam land. The area of terraces and sloping fields decreased by 59.06 ha and 17.05 ha, respectively; the area of check dam land increased by 159.06 ha, which represented the greatest increase for all land use types. (2) The area of shrub land was reduced by 112.37 ha, but it still remained the largest area for all land use types in the watershed, accounting for more than 45% of the total area. In comparison, forests increased by 69.75 ha. (3) The grassland and bare land decreased by 63.26 ha and 6.34 ha, respectively, and the areas for water and rural roads increased by 14.23 ha and 10.60 ha, respectively, due to the construction of dams and better roads. (4) The areas for rural residential land and industrial and mining land increased by 2.54 ha and 1.80 ha, respectively.
Figure 2 Land use change for the S watershed in 2010 and 2016
Table 2 Change matrix of each LULC type for the S watershed in 2010 and 2016 and changes in 2016
2010 (ha)
Type Check dam land Terraces Sloping fields Forests Shrub land Grass- land Indus- trial and mining land Rural residential land Rural roads Water Bare land Sum Percentage
2016 Check dam land 72.78 0.01 0.02 1.60 0.04 0.75 1.16 76.36 3.07
Terraces 45.03 54.63 3.65 15.83 10.29 0.05 0.25 2.47 3.68 135.88 5.46
Sloping fields 26.93 3.41 1.06 4.18 16.12 3.41 0.28 1.07 1.43 2.23 60.12 2.42
Forests 1.15 0.14 764.01 0.83 0.04 0.57 0.01 0.02 0.05 766.82 30.83
Shrub land 84.54 41.96 55.44 1063.51 3.36 2.35 1.50 11.33 6.52 0.65 1271.16 51.11
Grass- land 1.43 18.27 8.65 53.05 62.14 0.34 0.02 0.01 0.02 143.93 5.79
Indus- trial and mining land 0.51 0.59 0.35 2.75 4.20 0.17
Rural residential land 0.25 0.20 10.48 0.20 0.02 11.15 0.45
Rural roads 2.98 0.01 1.63 0.26 3.69 0.77 9.34 0.38
Water 0.15 0.01 0.80 0.96 0.04
Bare land 0.18 0.40 0.11 5.42 0.92 0.03 0.15 7.21 0.29
Sum 235.42 118.83 1.06 836.57 1158.79 80.77 6.00 13.69 19.94 15.19 0.87 2487.13
9.47 4.78 0.04 33.64 46.59 3.25 0.24 0.55 0.80 0.61 0.03 100.00
In terms of the mutual conversion of different land use types, significant land use conversion in the S watershed may be largely characterized by the mutual transformation of shrub land, grassland, terraces, sloping fields, check dam land and forests (Table 2 and Figure 3): (1) 207.65 ha of shrub land was converted to check dam land, forests and terrace, which accounted for 40.71%, 26.70% and 20.21% of the loss of shrub land, respectively. (2) 81.79 ha of grassland was converted to other land use types, especially shrub land and terrace. (3) In the case of terrace, the amount converted into terrace (64.20 ha) was of similar magnitude to that lost (81.25 ha), and 45.03 ha of terrace was converted to check dam land. (4) The amount being converted to check dam land was the most significant, with 162.64 ha of other land use types being converted to check dam land, specifically, shrub land, terrace and sloping fields accounting for 51.98%, 27.69% and 16.56% of the newly increased check dam land, respectively.
Figure 3 Flow chart of land use change in the S watershed from 2010 to 2016
The significant transformation processes between the different land use types were the result of the combined effects of natural factors and human activities. In the study area and for the study period, the engineering measures promoted by human factors played a leading role: (1) The GLCP turned the shrub land, the terraces and sloping fields on both sides of the gully into check dam land, and some of the shrub land and grassland were converted to high quality terraces. (2) Due to construction of farmland shelterbelt networks and ecological protection engineering, some shrub land, grassland and sloping fields were converted to forest. (3) Also due to the continuous implementation of a prohibition order for grazing for the purposes of improving the natural conditions, some grassland evolved naturally into shrub land.

3.2 Landscape pattern change

3.2.1 Landscape pattern change at the type level
The changes of landscape pattern were explored from both the type level and the landscape level. At the type level, in terms of the average patch area (Figure 4a): (1) The average patch area of high-quality production land such as check dam land and terrace increased, which was reflected in an increase in new croplands, and this would be of benefit to large-scale farming. (2) The average patch area for important ecological land such as forests, grassland and water also increased, which contributed to an improvement in ecological function. (3) The average patch area for sloping fields, shrub land, and industrial and mining land decreased.
Figure 4 Changes of landscape structure in the S watershed during 2010 and 2016
In terms of the patch cohesion index (Figure 4b): (1) Shrub land was the main landscape type having the largest area in the S watershed, so the cohesion index was the highest, but it declined slightly from 99.00 in 2010 to 97.78 in 2016. (2) Sloping field, industrial and mining land, bare land and grassland were affected by engineering measures, and their spatial decentralization and fragmentation intensified, and the cohesion index also decreased. (3) The average patch area and the plaque cohesion index for check dam land, terrace, forestland, rural residential land, rural roads and water increased significantly, which indicated that influenced by human factors especially the GLCP, those landscape types tended to concentrate in the watershed. In particular, the increase in the cohesion index of the check dam land was most noticeable, rising from 78.96 to 92.77, highlighting the direct impact of the GLCP on the improvement of production conditions.
In terms of the LSI (Figure 4c): (1) Over the entire study period, the shape index for shrub land was the highest, indicating that shrub land had the most complex shape and boundary for all landscape types. The LSI decreased from 25.66 in 2010 to 23.67 in 2016, indicating that the plaque shape of shrub land tended to be simplified under human disturbance. (2) The LSI for terrace, sloping field, grassland and bare land also became more regular due to the influence of human activities as the LSI values decreased. (3) The LSI for forestland was relatively high and showed an increasing trend; the LSI for dam land, industrial and mining land, rural residential land, rural roads and water also showed a clear increasing trend, indicating that these six landscape types were also affected by human activities, the degree of shape irregularity increasing.
3.2.2 Landscape pattern change at the watershed level
At the watershed level (Figure 5): (1) During the study period, the number of landscape patches decreased from 807 to 618, the average plaque area increased from 3.08 to 4.02, the edge density decreased from 159.97 to 152.38, and the patch density decreased from 32.47 to 24.86, which indicated that the degree of fragmentation for the landscape decreased (Figures 5a-d). (2) The contagion index rose steadily, which indicated that the landscape elements formed a good connective link. The LSI decreased from 21.93 in 2010 to 21.00 in 2016, indicating that the various landscape elements had good linkability (Figures 5e and 5f). (3) The Shannon diversity index and the Shannon evenness index rose slightly from 1.30 and 0.54 in 2010 to 1.32 and 0.55 in 2016, respectively (Figures 5g and 5h). Thus the landscape tended to be more diversified and balanced, and the anti-jamming capability of the landscape and the stability of the local ecosystem were improved. In general, driven by the GLCP, the overall landscape pattern of the watershed became more acceptable.
Figure 5 Changes in the landscape-level metrics from 2010 to 2016 for the S watershed

4 Conclusions and discussion

4.1 Conclusions

This paper has explored the change of land use and landscape pattern for the S watershed driven by a GLCP. The results showed that implementation of the GLCP has caused significant changes in the land use structure and landscape pattern in the watershed. In general, it may be concluded that implementing gully land consolidation in a rational manner can contribute to an improvement in local land use structure and landscape ecological pattern. From the perspective of land use and landscape pattern, gully land consolidation is conducive to the sustainable development of watershed systems.

4.2 Discussion

Latest research has shown that the annual accumulated temperature of ≥ 10℃ (AAT10) in the Loess Plateau has increased significantly, and the area of the warm temperate zone (AAT10 range 3,400-4,500℃ day) across the Loess Plateau increased from 21.0% to 50.3% in 2000-2015 due to climate change (Liu et al., 2018b). Thus, the local demand for a GLCP and agricultural structural adjustment is expected to increase significantly. Accordingly, GLCP should play a more important role in this region, and more detailed studies should be conducted to gain better understanding of the effects of GLCPs on the watershed.
Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that both the watershed and the rural communities represent a complex system (Li et al., 2012; Cheng and Li, 2015), and the impact of gully land consolidation on the watershed and the local communities is also multidimensional and complex (Li et al., 2014). This paper has focused on just the impact of a GLCP on the change of land use and landscape pattern in a typical watershed. Hence more attention should be paid to evaluating the subsequent land use sustainability and agricultural and rural transition. In this context, if comprehensive investigation and evaluation of the impact of a GLCP on land use structure, landscape ecological patterns, ecosystem services, agricultural structure adjustment, farmers’ livelihood status and sustainable community development is undertaken, the advantages and limitations of GLCP may be better understood, and approaches for optimization of the GLCP may be elaborated. Based on these knowledges, GLCP could become a more comprehensive and sound policy tool, then plays a more effective role in the sustainable evolution of rural human-environment systems, and boosts sustainable rural development.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Cao Z, Li Y, Liu Y et al., 2018. When and where did the Loess Plateau turn “green”? Analysis of the tendency and breakpoints of the normalized difference vegetation index.Land Degradation & Development, 29(1): 162-175.Abstract The Loess Plateau experiences the most serious soil erosion problems in China and possibly even globally. Many measures have been taken to increase the vegetation cover and to control soil erosion. Of these measures, the Grain for Green Project, launched in 1999, has been the most effective, changing the ecological and socio-economic situation of the Plateau significantly. Using time series normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from 1981 to 2013, this study analysed spatial patterns of changes in vegetation cover, detected spatial patterns of the abrupt-change time of NDVI trends, and investigated factors that may contribute to these changes. The results showed that (a) vegetation restoration was obvious over the last decades, especially in the 2000s, and the increase in NDVI during 2000–2013 was more than 3-times that during 1990–2000. Approximately 54.99% of the Plateau during 2000–2013 had a statistically significant increase, mainly distributing in loess hilly and gully region and loess gully region. (b) Vegetation restoration was comprehensively affected by climate change and human activities (e.g., the Grain for Green Project, urbanization and policies), and the effects of each factor varied for different regions. (c) Vegetation in most of the Plateau began to increase around 2007–2010, and 4 discrete areas with different timings of such break points were detected. The difference in the timing of break points in NDVI may be related with precipitation, reproducing tree species, management measures, and survival rate. These results imply that integrating natural and human factors is important when making effective and suitable measures and policies.


Chen L, Fu B, 1996. Analysis of impact of human activity on landscape structure in Yellow River Delta: A case study of Dongying Region.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 16(4): 337-344. (in Chinese)Landscape ecology deals mainly with the spatial pattern, interaction, function and dynamic change of landscape which is composed of various ecosystems. Studies on the impact of human activity on landscape pattern, biological habitat and resource distribution have been a very important field of landscape ecology. In this paper, Dongying region in Yellow river Delta was selected for case study. Four indices such as landscape diversity,landscape dominance, landscape fragmentation and landscape isolation were chosen to analyze quantitatively the rela- tionship between human activity and landscape structure. The landscape diversity in this area decreased with the increase of human activity while the landscape dominance was in a direct proportion to human activity. In this region, the landscape was becoming more fragmented with the strengthening of human activity. There was an inverse relationship between the land- scape isolation and human activity for those man-made landscape types,such as landscape type 1(farmland),landscape 5 (residential site),but for those natural or remained landscape types such as the landscape type 3(forest land),landscape type 4(grassland),landscape type 7(wet land ) and landscape type 8(unclaimed land),there was a direct relationship between the land- scape isolation and human activity. It was such concluded that the human activity has a strong impact on the landscape structure.

Chen L, Fu B, Messing I, 2001. Sustainable land-use planning in a typical catchment in the Loess Plateau: A case study. Geographical Research, 20(6): 713-722. (in Chinese)With population growth and arable land decrease, the pressure of human activity on land resource is becoming greater. How to realize sustainable land use has become the focus of global society. Both the time scale and spatial scale have to be concerned when a sustainable land use planning was made. Normally, ecological suitability, economic feasibility and social acceptance of land use scenario have to be considered. Currently, most works concern more on theoretical aspect of sustainable land use rather than some practical approaches to realize sustainable land use. In this study, a procedure for carrying out such a planning is presented, based on results from a research project in a small catchment on the Loess Plateau. A land suitability evaluation for rainfed agriculture based on biophysical parameters, and a comparison between land suitability and current land use, were first carried out. Some potential land use scenarios, based on surveys on biophysical and socio-economic parameters in the catchment, and plans by the authorities, were proposed for further evaluation of their effects on soil erosion, economic feasibility and social acceptance. The results indicated that the following land use scenario was acceptable: all land with deep soil and slopes smaller than 15° is used for agriculture cropland, possibly combined with biological conservation measures, such as mulching combined with improved fallow, and all land with slopes steeper than 15° is used for other purposes (orchards and other cash trees, woodland, shrubland, grassland). A great reduction of on-farm income, however, would be induced on the short term by such a scenario. Local farmers will find it difficult to accept unless financial support from external sources is available. On the long term, the scenarios will be promising for both economic income improvement and soil erosion control since some production will be obtained from the conversion of cropland into orchards/cash trees (preferably on slopes 15~25°). Thus the land-use modification should be carried out gradually. On the short term (5 year), it is suggested that cropland on slopes steeper than 25° is returned to woodland/shrubland/grassland while also fruit trees are planted on slopes of 15~25°. Within 10 years, cropland with slopes steeper than 15° is suggested to be converted into orchard/woodland/shrubland/grassland.


Chen L, Li X, Fu B et al., 2014. Development history and future research priorities of landscape ecology in China.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 31(6): 1059-1064. (in Chinese)It has been more than 70 years since landscape ecology emerged as a new concept of interdisciplinary research.The development of Chinese landscape ecology also has experienced more than 30 years from the introduction to gradually mature. In this process,Chinese landscape ecologists have carried out many studies in combination with the practical situation of China and important progress has been made in many research fields at tracking the international frontier research,. This paper briefly describes the establishment and development history of the International Association for Landscape Ecology( IALE),and analyzes the development of landscape ecology in China through systematic review of landscape ecology literatures. The development of Chinese landscape ecology is divided into five stages: embryonic and germination phase( before the 1980s),introduction and digestion phase( 1980—1988),practice and rapid development phase( 1989—2000),development and pondering phase( 2001—2010),thinking and creation phase( 2011 —?). And the top ten key research areas of landscape ecology are delineated: the land use patterns and ecological processes and itsscale effect,the urban ecological land use and construction of the landscape security pattern,landscape ecological planning and nature reserve network optimization,forest landscape dynamic simulation and ecosystem management,evolution of oasis landscape and eco-hydrological processes,landscape fragmentation and the genetic diversity protection,the multiple ponds system and wetland landscape pattern design,rice-duck /fish farmland landscape and ecosystem health,terrace fields culture landscape and multi-function maintenance,source-sink landscape pattern analysis and soil-water loss evaluation.Finally,the future research priorities of landscape ecology in China are discussed from three aspects: disciplinary development and theory research,hot research regions,and practical applications.


Chen L, Liu Y, Lv Y et al., 2008. Pattern analysis in landscape ecology: Progress, challenges and outlook.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 28(11): 5521-5531. (in Chinese)Landscape pattern indices or landscape metrics, an important means in landscape pattern analysis, has resulted in the prosperity of landscape ecology. However, landscape pattern analysis was criticized recently for its poor correlation with ecological processes. In this paper, the current situation and challenges in landscape pattern analysis was elaborated, and the future of landscape pattern analysis was discussed. We believe that the landscape metrics is still the main method in spatial pattern analysis, and is important for landscape ecology. However, there are 3 challenges in landscape pattern analysis: (1) how to develop new methods by integrating explicit ecological sense in landscape pattern analysis? (2) How to link landscape pattern and ecological processes? (3) How to apply the theory of 渕atrix-patch-corridor to practice? In future, 5 issues are to be addressed: (1) to develop a methodology to describe landscape pattern in a dynamic manner; (2) to explore the ecological sense of landscape pattern using a series of landscape metrics; (3) to develop new methods for landscape pattern analysis related to ecological processes; (4) to conduct landscape pattern analysis at multi-dimensions; (5) to explain the relationship between landscape pattern and ecological processes by multi-scale pattern analysis.


Chen Y, Shi P, Pan J, 2012. Analysis on the effect of land-use change on ecosystem service value in the plateau eco-city: A case study of Minle County.Chinese Journal of Research of Soil and water Conservation, 19(2): 154-159. (in Chinese)According to method of calculating the value of ecosystem services by Costanza and the Chinese terrestrial ecosystem services value per unit area tables by Gao-di Xie,the changes of Minle County which is being built as Plateau Eco-city were analyzed from 1996 to 2020,the values of ecosystem services were estimated and the variation was analyzed.The results indicated that the value of ecosystem services increased from 9.507 9×108 Yuan to 1.001 93×109 Yuan from 1996 to 2009.It is forecasted that ESV will reach up to 1.055 94×109 Yuan in 2015 and 1.071 29×109 Yuan in 2020,ecosystem service total value in the entire research period assumed the increase tendence.In different ecosystems,the ecosystem service values of forest,grassland and farming accounted for the major proportion in the ecosystem service value constitution,and increase the area of woodland is the main reason for causing the rise of the value of ecosystem service.

Cheng G, Li X, 2015. Integrated research methods in watershed science.Science China: Earth Sciences, 45(6): 811-819. (in Chinese)We discuss the concepts, research methods, and infrastructure of watershed science. A watershed is a basic unit and possesses all of the complexities of the land surface system, thereby making it the best unit for practicing Earth system science. Watershed science is an Earth system science practiced on a watershed scale, and it has developed rapidly over the previous two decades. The goal of watershed science is to understand and predict the behavior of complex watershed systems and support the sustainable development of watersheds. However, watershed science confronts the difficulties of understanding complex systems, achieving scale transformation, and simulating the co-evolution of the human-nature system. These difficulties are fundamentally methodological challenges. Therefore, we discuss the research methods of watershed science, which include the self-organized complex system method, the upscaling method dominated by statistical mechanics, Darwinian approaches based on selection and evolutionary principles, hydro-economic and eco-economic methods that emphasize the human-nature system co-evolution, and meta-synthesis for addressing unstructured problems. These approaches together can create a bridge between holism and reductionism and work as a group of operational methods to combine hard and soft integrations and capture all aspects of both natural and human systems. These methods will contribute to the maturation of watershed science and to a methodology that can be used throughout land-surface systems science.


Deng J, Ke W, Hong Y et al., 2009. Spatio-temporal dynamics and evolution of land use change and landscape pattern in response to rapid urbanization.Landscape & Urban Planning, 92(3): 187-198.Analyzing spatio-temporal characteristics of land use change is essential for understanding and assessing ecological consequence of urbanization. More importantly, such analysis can provide basic information for appropriate decision-making. By integrating historical high spatial-resolution SPOT images and spatial metrics, this study explored the spatio-temporal dynamics and evolution of land use change and landscape pattern in response to the rapid urbanization process of a booming-developing city in China from 1996 to 2006. Accurate and consistent land use change information was first extracted by the change detection method proposed in this study. The changes of landscape pattern were then analyzed using a series of spatial metrics which were derived from FRAGSTATS software. The results indicated that the rapid urbanization process has brought about enormous land use changes and urban growth at an unprecedented scale and rate and, consequently, given rise to substantial impacts on the landscape pattern. Findings further revealed that cropland and water were the major land use types developed for urban sprawl. Meanwhile, the landscape pattern underwent fundamental transition from agricultural-land-use dominant landscape to urban-land-use dominant landscape spanning the 10 years. The results not only confirmed the applicability and effectiveness of the combined method of remote sensing and metrics, but also revealed notable spatio-temporal features of land use change and landscape pattern dynamics throughout the different time periods (1996–2000, 2000–2003 and 2003–2006).


Fu B, Chen L, Ma K, 1999. The effect of land use change on the regional environment in the Yangjuangou catchment in the Loess Plateau of China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 54(3): 241-246. (in Chinese)Land use changes may influence a variety of natural phenomena and ecological processes, including soil conditions, water runoff, soil erosion and biodiversity. Irrational land use is one of the main reasons for the soil erosion and nutrient lose in the loess hilly area. The Yangjuangou catchment in the Loess Plateau of China, with typical loess hill and gully topography, was selected as the study area. The study focus on the affects of land use changes on soil erosion, the distribution of soil nutrient and soil moisture from catchment, and land use type at three spatial scales. Aerial photography interpretation and field survey mapping were used to produce land use maps in 1984 and 1996. GIS was used for data storage, analysis and display from a comparison of land use areal changes in 1984 and 1996. It was determined that the area of forest and grassland increased 42% and 5% respectively and slope farmland decreased 43%. Land use changes result in a decrease of soil erosion by 24%. Three types of typical land use structure during 15 years in the loess hill slope were selected in order to study the effect of land use structure on the distribution of soil nutrients and soil moisture. From the bottom to top of hills, the patterns of land use types are: grassland slope farmland forest, slope farmland grassland forest and slope farmland forest grassland. By measuring the contents of the total N, total P, available N, available P, organic matter of soil and soil moisture in 0 cm 70 cm depth, the results show that the land use structure type of slope farmland grassland forest has high contents of soil nutrients and low antecedent soil moisture. This indicates that this land use structure has a better capacity for retaining soil nutrient and a high efficiency for soil conservation. The analysis of soil nutrient and soil moisture in different land use types showed that the content of soil nutrient are: forestgrasslandslope farmland, while the content of soil water are: forestgrasslandslope farmland.


Fu B, Qiu Y, Wang J et al., 2002. Effect simulations of land use change on the runoff and erosion for a gully catchment of the Loess Plateau, China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 57(6): 717-722. (in Chinese)

Gao X, Zheng F, 2004. Eco-environment construction and sustainable agriculture development in the Loess Plateau of northern part of Shaanxi Province.Research of Soil & Water Conservation, 11(4): 47-49. (in Chinese)The Loess Plateau of the northern part of Shaanxi Province,located in arid and semi-arid region,consists of wind-sand area,gully-hilly area and high plain and deep gully area.Severe soil erosion,land desertification and fragile eco-environment severely restrict local social-economic development.Through comprehensive harnessing of soil and water conservation for over 40 years,soil and water loss and land desertification in certain region have been controlled,eco-environment has changed better,which makes agricultural production conditions improve,grain production increase,countryside economy develop speedily.The above mentioned accomplishments prove that through comprehensive harnessing of soil and water conservation,eco-environment can be thoroughly improved and sustainable development may be realized.However,the worsening trend of eco-environment of whole region has not been reversed yet.Therefore,eco-environment construction is still an arduous task for a long time.According to local eco-environmental conditions and experiences and lessons in eco-environmental construction for over several decades,local eco-environmental construction should take environmental improvement as a basis,strengthen construction of eco-agriculture with soil and water conservation and realize regional sustainable development.In the rebuilding eco-environment,productive farmland construction is a base,planting trees and bushes and growing grasses are key measures to improve eco-environment.Dryland farming techniques of increasing crop yield,techniques ofwater harvest and water-saving should be greatly spread to use rainfall resources fully and efficiently.

Gong J, Liu Y, Xia B, 2009. Spatial heterogeneity of urban land-cover landscape in Guangzhou from 1990 to 2005.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 19(2): 213-224.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.


Hu Y, Deng L, Zhang S et al., 2011. Changes of land use and landscape pattern in Xichang City based on RS and GIS.Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 27(10): 322-327. (in Chinese)Based on the three periods of remote sensing images(TM in 1989,ETM in 1998,ASTER in 2008),the temporal and spatial variation of land use and landscape pattern in the recent 19 years in Xichang city in Sichuan province were analyzed by using RS,GIS technology and landscape ecological methods.The results showed that the main landscape types were forestland,grassland and cultivated land in the study area.And the area of forestland was largest,which accounted for more than 50% of the whole study area.During the recent two decades,the areas of cultivated land,grassland,unused land and water decreased continuously.Among them,the area of cultivated land decreased most,which decreased by 20.01%.The construction land and forestland increased obviously,of which the construction land increased by 64.55%.The changes of land use mainly concentrated in the Anning valley and the Qionghai basin,where the terrain was low and flat,the industry and agriculture distribution were centralized,and human-land conflict was intense.The mutual conversion among land use types was frequently due to the intervention of human activities.And the major patterns of 1and use change were the conversions of cultivated land to construction land and forestland,grassland to forestland and cultivated land,unused land to cultivated land and grassland,and water to cultivated land and construction land.From 1989 to 2008,the landscape diversity index decreased from 1.323 to 1.256,the landscape evenness index decreased from 0.738 to 0.701,and the dominance index increased from 0.469 to 0.536,which indicated that landscape heterogeneity reduced in the study area.


Lambin E F, Meyfroidt P, 2011. Global land use change, economic globalization, and the looming land scarcity.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(9): 3465-3472.


Lausch A, Herzog F, 2002. Applicability of landscape metrics for the monitoring of landscape change: Issues of scale, resolution and interpretability.Ecological indicators, 2(1/2): 3-15.In most parts of the world, land-use/land cover can be considered an interface between natural conditions and anthropogenic influence. Indicators are being sought which reflect landscape conditions, pressures and related societal responses. Landscape metrics, which are based on the number, size, shape and arrangement of patches of different land-use/land cover types, are used-together with areal statistics-to quantify landscape structure and composition.The applicability of landscape metrics for landscape monitoring has been investigated in a 700 km2 test region in eastern Germany, where open cast coal mining has caused far reaching land-use changes in the course of this century. Time series of maps (1912 2020) have been elaborated from various data sources (topographic maps, aerial photography, satellite images, prospective planning material). Landscape metrics have been calculated for the entire test region and for ecologically defined subregions at the landscape, class and patch level.The results are presented and methodological issues are addressed, namely the impact of scale, spatial and temporal resolution on the interpretability of landscape metrics. Critical issues are:These issues are discussed in relation to the application of landscape indices in environmental monitoring. [Copyright 2002 Elsevier]


Lei N, Han J, Gao H et al., 2017. An analysis of regulation and utilization of water resources of gully control and land reclamation in Yan’an.China Rural Water & Hydropower, (5): 26-30. (in Chinese)

Li Y, Cao Z, Long H et al., 2017. Dynamic analysis of ecological environment combined with land cover and NDVI changes and implications for sustainable urban-rural development: The case of Mu Us Sandy Land, China.Journal of Cleaner Production, 142: 697-715.61Investigate dynamics of ecological environment combined with land cover and NDVI.61NDVI values in Mu Us showed an evident increase of 0.0076 year611during 2000–2014.61Ecological restoration projects laid vital foundation for ecological reconstruction.61Precipitation has been major climatic factors in NDVI growth (R02=020.687, P02≤020.01).61Ecological performance index has been built for ecological restoration classification.


Li Y, Liu Y, Long H.2012. Characteristics and mechanism of village transformation development in typical regions of Huang-Huai-Hai Plain.Acta Geographica Sinica, 67(6): 771-782. (in Chinese)

Li Y, Liu Y, Long H et al., 2014. Community-based rural residential land consolidation and allocation can help to revitalize hollowed villages in traditional agricultural areas of China: Evidence from Dancheng County, Henan Province.Land Use Policy, 39: 188-198.The accelerated rural hollowing driven by vast and increasing out-migration of rural labors under urban ural dual-track system has imposed huge obstacles on improving land use efficiency and coordinating urban ural development in China. Taking Dancheng County in Henan Province as an example, this paper analyzes the status quo of rural hollowing and discusses two typical rural residential land consolidation and allocation (RRLCA) practices in traditional agricultural areas (TAAs) of China. The results show that, Dancheng experienced rapid rural hollowing characterized as the hollowing of rural industries, infrastructure, and residential population and settlements. However, Dancheng has considerable potential and the necessity of RRLCA, for the model-based estimation shows that the potential of increasing farmland by carrying out RRLCA was about 5649ha. The two community-based RRLCA practices show positive effects on the improvement of local living conditions, increment of farmland area and development of rural industries. Their experiences, including self-organized rural planning, democratic decision-making, and endogenous institutional innovation may benefit future RRLCA. Overall, it indicates that promoting community-based RRLCA scientifically according to local conditions could provide an integrated platform for increasing farmland area, developing modern agriculture, promoting new countryside construction, and thus revitalize hollowed villages. On considering the limitations and obstacles of current initiatives, suggestions for future RRLCA in rural China have been put forward.


Liu J, Kuang W, Zhang Z et al., 2014. Spatiotemporal characteristics, patterns, and causes of land-use changes in China since the late 1980s.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 24(2): 195-210.


Liu Y, Chen Z, Li Y et al., 2017. The planting technology and industrial development prospects of forage rape in the loess hilly area: A case study of newly-increased cultivated land through gully land consolidation in Yan’an, Shaanxi Province.Journal of Natural Resources, 32(12): 2065-2074. (in Chinese)

Liu Y, Li Y, 2017. Engineering philosophy and design scheme of gully land consolidation in Loess Plateau.Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 33(10): 1-9. (in Chinese)Loess Plateau used to be the area with the most serious erosion in China even world.Erosion area in Loess Plateau was up to 454 000 km~2,accounting for 70%of the total area in the 1990s.Extremely intensive erosion area with erosion modulus more than 8 000 t/(km~2·a)was up to 85 000 km~2,accounting for 64%of the similar areas in China.Severe erosion area with erosion modulus more than 15 000 t/(km~2·a)was up to 37 000 km~2,accounting for 89%of the similar areas in China.Since 1998,Grain-for-Green Project has been implemented in the Loess Plateau.With the advancement of Grain-for-Green Project,forested land and grassland increase,and farmland decreases.Besides,as the population grows,Grain-for-Green Project has negative effects on grain production in some regions,and the population-grain conflict is intensified.In Yan’an,Shaanxi Province,farmland decreased by 74 000 hm2,grain production decreased by 156 000 t,and per capita grain production decreased by 132 kg with an increase of the residential population of 260 000 compared with those prior to the implementation of the project.With the further intensification of the conflict between population and grain,the demand for new agricultural production space is increasing.After decades of implementing Grain-for-Green,the vegetation cover rate increases and the erosion decreases greatly,which creates preconditions for gully land consolidation.Local initiatives of gully land consolidation since 2012 have achieved initial success.Gully land consolidation creates new space for agricultural and rural development.But how to design and plan the gully land consolidation engineering at a large scale and thus make it be approved by the central government needs systematic thinking and research.Taking Yan’an City,Shaanxi Province as a case study,this paper introduces the basic concepts of the gully land consolidation and its enhanced design in the Loess Plateau.Taking"farmland increasement,ecological protection,people’s livelihood guarantee"as the theme,and"landscape coordination,structure stability,sustainable land use,effective function"as the concepts,the project highlights the land use zoning,which can be described in detail as"returning farmland to forest on the mountain,consolidating gully to farmland in the valley",and put the emphasis on protecting ecological environment and benefiting local residents’livelihood.In the step of planning and design,the zoning,classification standards and key techniques of gully land consolidation are identified,and 4project construction types are proposed,which are restoration-type consolidation,facilities-type consolidation,exploitationtype consolidation,and comprehensive management-type consolidation.Furthermore,the enhanced consolidation technology system is also created,which involves"mainstream-tributary-capillary flow"tiered prevention and control technology,"canal-embankment-dam"matching system,and"tree-shrub-grass"scientific collocation.Since the implementation of the major project of more than 2 years,it has generated economic,social and ecological benefits to some extent.To further exert the project’s comprehensive benefits,the next 4 major projects need be adopted,namely new rural communities and residential resettlement project,urban and rural equalization of services and service facilities engineering,modern agriculture industrialization base construction,and rural land capitalization and land system innovation.


Liu Y, Wang L, Long H, 2008. Spatio-temporal analysis of land-use conversion in the eastern coastal China during 1996-2005.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 18(3): 274-282.


Liu Z, Liu Y, Li Y, 2018a. Anthropogenic contributions dominate trends of vegetation cover change over the farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China.Ecological Indicators, 95(1): 370-378.


Liu Z, Liu Y, Li Y, 2018b. Extended warm temperate zone and opportunities for cropping system change in the Loess Plateau of China.International Journal of Climatology. doi: 10.1002/joc.5833.


Long H, Liu Y, Wu X et al., 2009. Spatio-temporal dynamic patterns of farmland and rural settlements in Su-Xi-Chang region: Implications for building a new countryside in coastal China.Land Use Policy, 26(2): 322-333.This paper analyzes the spatio-temporal dynamic patterns of farmland and rural settlements from 1990 to 2006 in Su–Xi–Chang region of coastal China experienced dramatic economic and spatial restructuring, using high-resolution Landsat TM (Thematic Mapper) data in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006, and socio-economic data from both research institutes and government departments. To examine the spatial patterns of farmland and rural settlements and their change over time, a set of pattern metrics that capture different dimensions of land fragmentation was identified. The outcomes indicated that, to a large extent, land-use change from 1990 to 2006 in Su–Xi–Chang region was characterized by a serious replacement of farmland with urban and rural settlements, construction land, and artificial ponds. Population growth, rapid industrialization and urbanization are the major driving forces of farmland change, and China's economic reforms played an important role in the transformation of rural settlements. China's “building a new countryside” is an epoch-making countryside planning policy. The focuses of building a new countryside in coastal China need to be concentrated on protecting the farmland, developing modern agriculture, and building “clean and tidy villages.” Rural construction land consolidation and cultivated land consolidation are two important ways to achieve the building objectives. The authors argue that it is fundamental to lay out a scientific urban–rural integrated development planning for building a new countryside, which needs to pay more attention to making the rural have certain functions serving for the urban. In addition, the cultural elements of idyll and the rural landscape need to be reserved and respected in the process of building a new countryside in coastal China, instead of building a new countryside, which looks more like a city.


Long H, Tang G, Li X et al., 2007. Socio-economic driving forces of land-use change in Kunshan, the Yangtze River Delta economic area of China.Journal of Environmental Management, 83(3): 351-364.This paper analyzes characteristics, major driving forces and alternative management measures of land-use change in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China. The study used remote sensing (RS) maps and socio-economic data. Based on RS-derived maps, two change matrices were constructed for detecting land-use change between 1987 and 1994, and between 1994 and 2000 through pixel-to-pixel comparisons. The outcomes indicated that paddy fields, dryland, and forested land moderately decreased by 8.2%, 29% and 2.6% from 1987 to 1994, and by 4.1%, 7.6% and 8% from 1994 to 2000, respectively. In contrast, the following increased greatly from 1987 to 1994: artificial ponds by 48%, urban settlements by 87.6%, rural settlements by 41.1%, and construction land by 511.8%. From 1994 to 2000, these land covers increased by 3.6%, 28.1%, 23.4% and 47.1%, respectively. For the whole area, fragmentation of land cover was very significant. In addition, socio-economic data were used to analyze major driving forces triggering land-use change through bivariate analysis. The results indicated that industrialization, urbanization, population growth, and China's economic reform measures are four major driving forces contributing to land-use change in Kunshan. Finally, we introduced some possible management measures such as urban growth boundary (UGB) and incentive-based policies. We pointed out that, given the rapidity of the observed changes, it is critical that additional studies be undertaken to evaluate these suggested policies, focusing on what their effects might be in this region, and how these might be implemented.


Lv Y, Fu B, Feng X et al., 2012. A policy-driven large scale ecological restoration: Quantifying ecosystem services changes in the Loess Plateau of China.PLoS ONE, 7(2): 1-10.As one of the key tools for regulating human-ecosystem relations, environmental conservation policies can promote ecological rehabilitation across a variety of spatiotemporal scales. However, quantifying the ecological effects of such policies at the regional level is difficult. A case study was conducted at the regional level in the ecologically vulnerable region of the Loess Plateau, China, through the use of several methods including the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), hydrological modeling and multivariate analysis. An assessment of the changes over the period of 2000-2008 in four key ecosystem services was undertaken to determine the effects of the Chinese government's ecological rehabilitation initiatives implemented in 1999. These ecosystem services included water regulation, soil conservation, carbon sequestration and grain production. Significant conversions of farmland to woodland and grassland were found to have resulted in enhanced soil conservation and carbon sequestration, but decreased regional water yield under a warming and drying climate trend. The total grain production increased in spite of a significant decline in farmland acreage. These trends have been attributed to the strong socioeconomic incentives embedded in the ecological rehabilitation policy. Although some positive policy results have been achieved over the last decade, large uncertainty remains regarding long-term policy effects on the sustainability of ecological rehabilitation performance and ecosystem service enhancement. To reduce such uncertainty, this study calls for an adaptive management approach to regional ecological rehabilitation policy to be adopted, with a focus on the dynamic interactions between people and their environments in a changing world.


Tuan Y F, 1971. Geography, phenomenology, and the study of human nature.Canadian Geographer, 15(3): 181-192.


Zhang F, Taxipulati T, Ding J et al., 2009. The change of land use/cover and characteristics of landscape pattern in arid areas oasis: A case study of Jinghe County, Xinjiang Province.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 29(3): 1251-1263. (in Chinese)Land use change has been affecting the function and structure of landscape ecological system directly or indirectly,and it influences the landscape processing in the surface of the earth.This paper uses 3S technology in macroscopic.Combined the integrated technology of ecological quantity analytical method with GIS technology through ArcGIS and Fragstats,and the author study the images of 1972,1991,2001 and 2005 and obtained land use data in Jinghe County.Then,the change of land use/cover and landscape pattern had been analyzed in this paper in Jinghe County of Xinjiang,The conclusions are as follows:(1)The trend of LUCC is that the area of oasis expends slowly in nearly 33 years between 1972 to 2005 in Jinghe County.While the area of human oasis expends fast,the area of natural oasis decreases.It is the area of farmland and human forestland increasing while the grassland decreasing in class.(2)The area of water area is mainly influenced by Ebinur lake,so the area expends a little in this period.(3)The area of salinization land expands at first and reduces later.Its area is largest in 1990 and decrease largely in 2005.The area of sand land decreases and the other land class increases while the probability of transfer is always high.The period in the middle is higher than others two-periods.(4)Landscape change is also obviously in the decades.Totally,landscape density increases,the largest path index decreases at first and expends later,the weight area index decreases and the shape of landscape becomes regulation.The nearest distances,the degrees of reunite and outspread decreases.It shows that the connection of mainly path in 1972 is better than 2005,the patch becomes more complexity.From the change of Shannon's Diversity Index and Shannon's Evenness Index,we know that the diversity of landscape and the Interspersion Juxtaposition Index increase.The degree of diversity landscape and fragmentation increasing also shows that the land uses become more complex.The reason of the change is that human activity influenced the path,the substance,energy and information stream changes,so the landscape pattern changes,the index of fragmentation and diversity increases too.At the inner of oasis,the patch complexity influenced by the level of agriculture,the CONTAG increases either.At the edge of oasis,the area of farmland expends,so the shape of landscape becomes complexity and the scrambling increases.All in all,it is essential to intensify the spatial relationships among landscape elements and to maintain the continuity of landscape ecological process and pattern in the course of area expansion.

Zhao B, Kreuter U, Li B et al., 2004. An ecosystem service value assessment of land-use change on Chongming Island, China.Land Use Policy, 21(2): 139-148.


Zhou D, Zhao S, Zhu C, 2011. Impacts of the sloping land conversion program on the land use/cover change in the Loess Plateau: A case study in Ansai County of Shaanxi Province, China. Journal of Natural Resources, 26(11): 1866-1878. (in Chinese)Induced by population pressure,economic growth,and historic exploitation,a large portion of China's primary forests and wetland was depleted,and a high percentage of its farmland and grassland was degraded.These ecosystem disturbances caused extensive desertification,flooding,soil erosion,dust storms,elevated levels of greenhouse gas emissions,and severe damage to wildlife habitat.In order to address devastating environmental crises and improve human well-being,China has been undertaking several major ecological restoration efforts,of which the Sloping Land Conversion Program(SLCP)(also called Grain for Green Project) is the largest land retirement/reforestation program in the developing world,which can alter the land use/cover pattern in a considerably short time period.Here,we characterized the impacts of the SLCP on the land use/cover pattern and their consequences in Ansai County on the Loess Plateau,China,by using Landsat MSS/TM/ETM+images of six periods of 1978,1990,1995,1999,2006 and 2010.Land use/cover information was obtained using satellite remote sensing techniques.Then the impacts of SLCP on the land use/cover pattern were analyzed by the statistical models.Grassland,cultivated land and woodland were the three dominant land cover categories of the study area,and the land use/cover change was generally in unbalanced status dominated by one-way transition.In the whole research period,cultivated land declined substantially after a small increase,with an overall decreasing rate of 38.4%,woodland decreased first then followed by an increase,with an overall increasing rate of 4.36%,and shrubs together with grasslands decrease while the built-up area increased continuously.SLCP accelerated the decline trend of the cultivated land,and increased the newly forested land substantially.The area of newly forested land had significantly exceeded that of the natural forest.These changes may reduce soil erosion and water yield,restore the soil structure,and increase the soil organic matter.Most farmers support the SLCP because it can increase farmer's net income.Nevertheless,the potential negative consequences of SLCP can never be ignored.These findings are not only useful for an integrated understanding over the impacts of SLCP,but also for the planning and decision-making of the eco-restoration projects together with the eco-environmental protection.