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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (12): 1274-1286    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0089-y
Geography, geology and natural resources in Central Asia (Guest Editorial Board Member:Prof. Dr. XIAO Wenjiao)     
Land use/land cover change responses to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of Tarim River, China
WANG Shanshan1,2,3,4,*(), ZHOU Kefa1,2,3, ZUO Qiting5, WANG Jinlin1,2,3,4, WANG Wei1,2,3
1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources and Digital Geology, Urumqi 830011, China
3Xinjiang Research Centre for Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
5School of Water Conservancy & Environment, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China
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The Tarim River is the longest inland river in China and is considered as an important river to protect the oasis economy and environment of the Tarim Basin. However, excessive exploitation and over-utilization of natural resources, particularly water resources, have triggered a series of ecological and environmental problems, such as the reduction in the volume of water in the main river, deterioration of water quality, drying up of downstream rivers, degradation of vegetation, and land desertification. In this study, the land use/land cover change (LUCC) responses to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of the Tarim River were investigated using ENVI (Environment for Visualizing Images) and GIS (Geographic Information System) data analysis software for the period of 1990-2018. Multi-temporal remote sensing images and ecological water conveyance data from 1990 to 2018 were used. The results indicate that LUCC covered an area of 2644.34 km2 during this period, accounting for 15.79% of the total study area. From 1990 to 2018, wetland, farmland, forestland, and artificial surfaces increased by 533.42 km2 (216.77%), 446.68 km2 (123.66%), 284.55 km2 (5.67%), and 57.51 km2 (217.96%), respectively, whereas areas covered by grassland and other land use/land cover types, such as Gobi, bare soil, and deserts, decreased by 103.34 km2 (14.31%) and 1218.83 km2 (11.75%), respectively. Vegetation area decreased first and then increased, with the order of 2010<2000<1990<2018. LUCC in the overflow and stagnant areas in the lower reaches of the Tarim River was mainly characterized by fragmentation, irregularity, and complexity. By analyzing the LUCC responses to 19 rounds of ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of the Tarim River from 2000 to the end of 2018, we proposed guidelines for the rational development and utilization of water and soil resources and formulation of strategies for the sustainable development of the lower reaches of the Tarim River. This study provides scientific guidance for optimal scheduling of water resources in the region.

Key wordsland use/land cover change (LUCC)      remote sensing      land use dynamic index      ecological water conveyance      Tarim River     
Received: 31 October 2020      Published: 31 December 2021
Corresponding Authors: *WANG Shanshan (E-mail:
Cite this article:

WANG Shanshan, ZHOU Kefa, ZUO Qiting, WANG Jinlin, WANG Wei. Land use/land cover change responses to ecological water conveyance in the lower reaches of Tarim River, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(12): 1274-1286.

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Fig. 1 Annual variations of cumulative water conveyance volume and cumulative water conveyance days in the lower reaches of the Tarim River from 2000 to 2018
Fig. 2 Overview of the lower reaches of the Tarim River
Fig. 3 Flowchart of the methodology used in this study. RF, random forest.
Fig. 4 Distribution of land use/land cover classification in the lower reaches of the Tarim River in 1990 (a), 2000 (b), 2010 (c), and 2018 (d)
Meadowland Farmland Forestland Others Artificial surfaces Wetland Total in 1990
Meadowland 338.62 154.57 126.63 26.87 11.55 63.89 722.14
Farmland 7.30 321.66 18.80 0.25 10.09 3.11 361.20
Forest land 202.89 284.00 4026.31 252.27 9.31 243.72 5018.50
Others 64.58 29.17 1046.52 8864.39 36.75 331.25 10,372.67
Artificial surfaces 0.78 7.41 1.21 0.72 16.11 0.15 26.39
Wetland 4.63 11.07 83.58 9.34 0.09 137.37 246.08
Total in 2018 618.80 807.88 5303.06 9153.84 83.90 779.50 16,746.98
Change in area -103.34 446.68 284.55 -1218.83 57.51 533.42 0.00
Change in area rate (%) -14.31 123.66 5.67 -11.75 217.96 216.77 0.00
Table 1 Land use/land cover change (LUCC) matrix in the lower reaches of the Tarim River in 1990 and 2018 (km2)
Fig. 5 Land use/land cover change (LUCC) in the lower reaches of the Tarim River from 1990 to 2018. ''-'' means the conversion of land use/land cover type.
Land use/land cover type 1990-2000 2000-2010 2010-2018
P1 (%) P2 (%) P1 (%) P2 (%) P1 (%) P2 (%)
Forestland -0.17 0.32 -0.13 0.39 0.98 4.35
Meadowland -0.74 1.03 -2.63 2.67 2.66 9.30
Farmland 4.31 4.31 3.36 3.79 1.79 4.73
Wetland -1.06 3.11 6.71 7.42 11.36 17.31
Artificial surfaces 3.14 3.14 12.54 12.63 0.84 8.00
Others 0.00 0.00 -0.12 0.12 -0.98 1.65
Table 2 Single land use dynamic index (P1) and spatial variability of a single land use pattern (P2)in the lower reaches of the Tarim River from 1990 to 2018
Fig. 6 Annual changes in the area of vegetation and wetland in 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2018
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