Land use/cover dynamics in response to changes in environmental and socio-political forces in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river, China

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Abstract

Land use/cover change (LUCC), which results from the complex interaction of social, ecological and geophysical processes, is a major issue and the main cause of global environmental change. This study analyzed the land use/cover dynamics and their environmental and socio-political forces in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River from 1980 to 2000 by using remote sensing, climatic and socio-economic data from both research institutes and government departments. The results indicated that there had been significant land use/cover changes between 1980 and 2000 in the study area, which were characterized by a severe replacement of cropland and woodland with grassland and built-up land. The transition matrices highlight the dominant dynamic events and the internal conversions between land use/cover types during the study period and reveal two distinct transition phases. Land use/cover changes in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River during 1980 to 2000, while restricted by environmental attributes, were strongly driven by socio-political factors. However, excessively pursuing higher land use benefits likely results in serious environmental degradation. This study suggests that the restructuring of land use should be based on land suitability and sustainable protection of fragile environment in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. A thorough comprehension of historical changes will enhance our capability to predict future land use change and contribute to effective management strategies and policies for the rational land use.

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Wu, X., Shen, Z., Liu, R., & Ding, X. (2008). Land use/cover dynamics in response to changes in environmental and socio-political forces in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river, China. Sensors, 8(12), 8104–8122. https://doi.org/10.3390/s8128104

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