Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 30, pp 30808–30825 | Cite as

Investigating the urbanization process and its impact on vegetation change and urban heat island in Wuhan, China

  • Xuan Gui
  • Lunche WangEmail author
  • Rui Yao
  • Deqing Yu
  • Chang’an Li
Research Article


Rapid urbanization significantly changes vegetation coverage and heat distribution, which threatens the sustainable development and the quality of life. As the largest developing city in Central China, Wuhan was chosen as the experimental region. This study investigated the urbanization process of Wuhan from 1989 to 2917 based on Landsat data. Combined with MODIS EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index) and LST (Land Surface Temperature) data, vegetation disturbance and surface urban heat island (SUHI) caused by urbanization were discussed for 2001–2017. Furthermore, correlation between ∆EVI (urban EVI minus rural EVI) and ∆LST (urban LST minus rural LST) was also conducted. The results were as follows: (1) Wuhan experienced a strong urbanization over the past 29 years, with an increasing urban expansion rate and the altered dominant urban expansion pattern (edge expansion and infilling). After the enhanced vegetation functions and urban increased structures, the urbanization finally caused the fragmented patches and irregular urban shapes. (2) Urbanization had a positive effect on LST but a negative effect on EVI. From 2001 to 2017, the highest increasing rate of ∆LST for the old urban area (OUA) and urbanized area (UA) was both observed in summer daytime (OUA, 0.106 °C/a; UA, 0.207 °C/a). The decreasing rate of ∆EVI reached the highest value in summer (OUA, 0.00697/a; UA, 0.00298/a). (3) There was a strong negative correlation (except spring and winter for OUA) between ∆EVI and ∆LST in daytime, which proved that the activity of vegetation in daytime could relieve LST to a certain extent. This study clarifies the dynamic urbanization process of Wuhan and discusses its impacts on vegetation change and SUHI. Efficiently investigating urbanization process and quantifying its impacts on urban environment are critical for regional ecological conservation.


Urbanization Impervious surface EVI LST Wuhan 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41601044 and 41801021), the Special Fund for Basic Scientific Research of Central Colleges, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan (CUGL170401, and CUGCJ1704), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Grant XDA19020303.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Key Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, School of Geography and Information EngineeringChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Remote Sensing Centre of Hunan ProvinceChangshaChina

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