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Journal of Arid Land
Research Articles     
Spatial pattern of land cover change in China’s semiarid environment
BaoLin LI, QiMing ZHOU
1 State Key Laboratory of Environment and Resources Information System, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; 2 Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China
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Abstract  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.

Received: 10 September 2009      Published: 09 November 2009
Corresponding Authors: QiMing ZHOU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

BaoLin LI, QiMing ZHOU. Spatial pattern of land cover change in China’s semiarid environment. Journal of Arid Land, 2009, 1(1): 16-25.

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