Spatiotemporal variations of land use intensity and its driving forces in China, 2000–2010

  • Feng Xu
  • Guangqing ChiEmail author
Original Article


Land use change exhibits spatiotemporal variations in China due to hetergenous spatial patterns of urbanization and unevenness of regional development. However, the spatiotemporal aspects of the mechanism that drives land use change have not been fully explored. By introducing and improving an index called land use intensity (LUI), this study quantifies the spatiotemporal dynamics of county-level land use across China from 2000 to 2010 and examines the relationship between LUI change and its driving forces by considering spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the effects. A set of spatial regression models are used to identify the spatial variations of human, environmental, and physical factors’ effects on LUI change. Results indicate both LUI and its changes show obvious regional differences but overlap in space with regional urban agglomerations. Heterogeneity exhibits in the spatial dimension of LUI changes. The influences and spatiotemporal characteristics of driving forces vary. The improvements of the LUI measure offer a new pathway to track the urbanization process and review regional development strategies. The identification of LUI change and its driving factors provides insights for the improvement of policies concerning regional differences, local vulnerability, and sustainable development.


Land use change Land use intensity Driving forces Spatiotemporal variation Spatial regression China 


Funding information

This research was financially supported in part by the State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources (Award no. GPMR201606), the China Scholarship Council (CSC no. 201606410004), and the Social Science Research Institute and the Institutes for Energy and the Environment of the Pennsylvania State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Land Resources ManagementChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, Population Research Institute, and Social Science Research InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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