Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 138, Issue 1–3, pp 139–147 | Cite as

A landscape approach to quantifying land cover changes in Yulin, Northwest China

  • Yong Zha
  • Yansui Liu
  • Xiangzheng Deng


In this study we quantified land cover changes in the arid region of Yulin City, Northwest China between 1985 and 2000 using remote sensing and GIS in conjunction with landscape modeling. Land covers were mapped into 20 categories from multitemporal Landsat TM images. Five landscape indices were calculated from these maps at the land cover patches level. It was found that fallow land decreased by 125,148 ha while grassland and woodland increased by 107,975 and 17,157 ha, respectively. Landscape heterogeneity, dominance and fractal dimension changed little during the 15-year period while landscape became more fragmented, with an index rising from 0.56 to 0.58. The major factors responsible for these changes are identified as the change in the government policy on preserving the environment, continued growth in mining, and urbanization.


Land cover Landscape TM Northwest China 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Geographic ScienceNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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