Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 146–154 | Cite as

Spatial pattern of rural settlements in the upper reaches of the Minjiang River

— a case study in Maoxian County, Sichuan
  • Feng Wenlan Email author
  • Li Ainong 
  • Zhou Wancun 


A quantitative analysis of the spatial pattern of rural settlements in the upper reaches of the Minjiang River was made with the major data sources being the relevant ETM image and the national geographical database of China (including contour line, river and road) at the scale of 1:250 000, and using image interpretation and field investigation to obtain spatial information on rural settlements. The results of the spatial analysis technique of GIS and correlation analysis showed that most settlements (78.2 %) were located in the mountain area at 1500 ∼ 2700 m altitude, and almost half in the arid valley area. More than 80.0 % of settlements had their slopes above 15°. Most settlements had good access to water resources, roads and communications, and tended to cluster close to the road network rather than the river. About half of the rural settlements in the study area were relatively concentrated, while the others were decentralized. Those with higher altitude usually had land with steep slope, inconvenient water and road accesses, and were located far apart from each other. In view of such a situation, further research should be done to make reasonable countermeasures on these settlements for better living conditions and ecosystem stability.


Rural settlement spatial pattern GIS Maoxian County China 


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Copyright information

© Science Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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