Spatial pattern of land cover change in China's semiarid environment

Baolin Li, Qiming Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study seeks a routine to quantify spatial pattern of land cover changes in semiarid environment of China based on post-classification comparison method. The method consists of three major steps: (1) the image classification and unification of classified results based on two-level land cover classification themes, (2) the establishment of land cover change classes based on an unification land cover classification theme, (3) the reclassification and mapping of land cover change classes with three overall classes including no-change, gain and loss based on the unification land cover class. This method was applied to detect the spatial pattern of land cover changes in Yinchuan Plain, one of famous irrigation agricultural zones of the Yellow River, China. The results showed the land cover had undergone a remarkable change from 1991 to 2002 in the study area (the changed area was over 30%). Rapid increase of cropland (12.5%), built-up area (131.4%) and rapid decrease of bare ground (51.7%) were alarming. The spatial pattern of land cover changes showed clear regional difference in the study area and was clearly related to human activities or natural factors. Thus, it obtained a better understanding of the human impact on the fragile ecosystem of China's semiarid environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Arid Land
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Change detection
  • Human activities
  • Land cover
  • Remote sensing
  • Semiarid zone of china
  • Spatial pattern


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