Spatially-invariant land use and cover changes (LUCC) are not suitable for managing non-stationary drought conditions. Therefore, developing a spatially varying framework for managing land resources is necessary. In this study, the Dongjiang River Basin in South China is used to exemplify the significance of spatial heterogeneity in land planning optimization for mitigating drought risks. Using ERA5 that is the 5th major atmospheric reanalysis from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast, we computed the Standardized Runoff Index (SRI) to quantify the hydrologic drought during 1992 to 2018. Also, based on Climate Change Initiative land use product, The Geographically Weighted Principal Component Analysis was used to identify the most dominant land types in the same period. Then, we used the Emerging Hot Spots Analysis to characterize the spatiotemporal evolution of historical LUCC and SRI. The spatially varying coefficients of Geographically and Temporally Weighted Regression models were used to reveal the empirical relationships between land types and the SRI. Results indicated that rainfed cropland with herbaceous cover, mosaic tress and shrub, shrubland, and grassland were four land types having statistical correlations with drought conditions over 27 years. Moreover, since 2003, the DRB was becoming drier, and the northern areas generally experienced severer hydrologic drought than the south. More importantly, we proposed region-specific land-use strategies for drought risk reductions. At a basin scale, we recommended to 1) increase rainfed herbaceous cropland and 2) reduce mosaic tree and shrub. At a sub-basin scale, the extents of shrub and grassland were suggested to increase in the northern DRB but to reduce in the south. Region-specific land use planning, including suitable locations, scales, and strategies, will contribute to handling current ‘one-size-fits-all’ LUCC. Planners are suggested to integrate spatial characteristics into future LUCC for regional hydrologic management.
- Land use and cover changes
- Hydrologic drought
- Standardized runoff index (SRI)