Integrated assessment of land-use/coverage changes and their impacts on ecosystem services in Gansu Province, northwest China: implications for sustainable development goals

  • Lijun Liu
  • Youjia LiangEmail author
  • Shizuka Hashimoto
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Natural Resource Management


A sustainable supply of ecosystem services (ESs) is key to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). The ESs concept is based on socio-ecological complexity integrated with local decision demands. It helps prevent both regional ecological degradation and conflicts associated with large-scale land-use/coverage-change (LUCC). In this study, an integrated assessment method was developed to analyze spatiotemporal changes in the supply capacities of ESs and assess their implications on the SDGs. Therefore, land-system dynamics in Gansu Province, northwest China were elucidated based on LUCC maps (1992–2015) using several assessment tools. The LUCC analysis indicated rapid expansion of grassland and cultivated land in Gannan and Qingyang cities, respectively, which was attributed to conversion of forests and bare land. The supply capacity of ESs indicated a monotonous increasing trend (cultural service > supporting service > provisioning service > regulating service) which was associated with positive changes in multiple ESs. However, the decrease in specific services likely caused unexpected losses which potentially offset profits from the current management of the socio-ecological system. Frequency of linkages with the SDGs indicated the following order: regulating service > provisioning service > cultural service > supporting service. Further, flood prevention, carbon sequestration, and nutrient retention were the most frequent ESs. Additionally, the top 25% frequency of occurrence of ESs that occurred in SDGs comprised SDG15 (40), SDG11 (18), and SDG2 (17), indicating that key policy implications in Gansu province should emphasize sustainable management of forest ecosystems, cities, and cropping systems under limited water resources. Therefore, this study provides an integrated assessment of the effects of changing land-system dynamics on the potential provision of ESs and their subsequent impacts on the SDGs in typical semi-arid and arid regions.


Ecosystem services mapping Land-use change Impact assessment Hotspot analysis Social-ecological systems Sustainable development goals 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41601184), the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund [S-15 Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services (PANCES)] of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17KT0076, and the ‘Research and Social Implementation of Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction as Climate Change Adaptation in Shrinking Societies’ of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Japan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11625_2019_758_MOESM1_ESM.doc (44 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOC 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Intelligent Transportation Systems Research CenterWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of NavigationWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  3. 3.National Engineering Research Center for Water Transport SafetyWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  4. 4.School of Resources and Environmental EngineeringWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  5. 5.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Institute for Global Environmental StrategiesHayamaJapan

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