Effects of Tidal Channels and Roads on Landscape Dynamic Distribution in the Yellow River Delta, China

  • 6 Accesses


Landscape characters in estuarine regions generally controlled by tidal regimes and human activities like road construction. In this work, tidal channels and road construction in the Yellow River Delta (YRD) were extracted by visual interpretation methods so as to decipher impacts of tidal channel development and road construction on landscape patch change during 1989–2016. Spatial distribution history of three wetlands, which covered by Phragmites australis (freshwater marsh, FM), Suaeda salsa (salt marsh, SM), and mudflats (MD) were also established. Results indicated that tidal channel, number, frequency, and fractal dimension were all the maximum in 2003, and the minimum in 1998, respectively. Road length, number, and density showed increasing trend during 1989–2016. MD were the predominant landscape type, followed by FM and SM during 1989–2016. Principal component analysis implied two extracted factors, F1 and F2, which could represent 91.93% of the total variations. F1 mainly proxied tidal channel development, while F2 represented road construction. A multiple linear regression analysis showed positive effects of both F1 and F2 on FM patch numbers and negative impacts on SM patch areaes with R2 values of 0.416 and 0.599, respectively. Tidal channels were negatively related to MD patch numbers, while roads were positively related to that. In any case, road construction showed larger impacts on landscape type shifting than that of tidal channel development in the YRD.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA


  1. Angeles G R, Perillo G M E, Piccolo M C et al., 2004. Fractal analysis of tidal channels in the Bahía Blanca Estuary (Argentina). Geomorphology, 57(3–4): 263–274. doi:

  2. Chen Xiuzhi, Guo Shuiliang, Zhu Lili et al., 2011. Distribution pattern of main plant populations around tidal creeks in different grades in the Jiuduansha shoals in the mouth of Yangtze River. Wetland Science, 9(1): 52–60. (in Chinese)

  3. Chen Yanguang, 2011. Mathematical Methods for Geography. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

  4. Chrzanowski T H, Spurrier J D, 1987. Exchange of microbial biomass between a Spartina alterniflora marsh and the adjacent tidal creek. Estuaries, 10(2): 118–125. doi:

  5. Cook E A, 2002. Landscape structure indices for assessing urban ecological networks. Landscape and Urban Planning, 58(2–4): 269–280. doi:

  6. Cui B S, Wang C F, Tao W D et al., 2009. River channel network design for drought and flood control: a case study of Xiaoqinghe River basin, Jinan City, China. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(11): 3675–3686. doi:

  7. Cui Chengqi, Li Shitang, Sun Xiaoxia et al., 2001. Research on the development of the Huanghe River Delta coastline and the tidal creek system as well as fractional dimension-Research on the space-time lineage of the tidal bank coast of the Huanghe River Delta III. Marine Science Bulletin, 20(6): 60–70. (in Chinese)

  8. Gu Yuanze, Jiang Mingxing, Xu Congliang et al., 2000. The impact on the project of the Yellow River estuary Qing 8 and its influence on estuary evolution. Journal of Sediment Research, (5): 57–61. (in Chinese)

  9. Horton R E, 1945. Erosional development of streams and their drainage basins; hydrophysical approach to quantitative morphology. GSA Bulletin, 56(3): 275–370. doi:[275:EDOSAT]2.0.CO;2

  10. Hou Minghang, Liu Hongyu, Zhang Huabing, 2014. Effection of tidal creek system on the expansion of the invasive Spartina in the coastal wetland of Yancheng. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 34(2): 400–409. (in Chinese)

  11. Huang Haijun, Fan Hui, 2004. Change detection of tidal flats and tidal creeks in the Yellow River Delta using Landsat TM/ETM+ images. Acta Geographica Sinica, 59(5): 723–730. (in Chinese)

  12. Ichoku C, Chorowicz J, 1994. A numerical approach to the analysis and classification of channel network patterns. Water Resources Research, 30(2): 161–174. doi:

  13. Isbell F, Craven D, Connolly J et al., 2015. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes. Nature, 526(7574): 574–577. doi:

  14. Jiang Dongsheng, Yan Yongxin, Wang Jing, 2015. Influence of water and sediment regulation on hydrological characteristics in Shandong reach of the Yellow River. Yellow River, 37(12): 6–8. (in Chinese)

  15. Kearney W S, Fagherazzi S, 2016. Salt marsh vegetation promotes efficient tidal channel networks. Nature Communications, 7(1): 12287. doi:

  16. Lerberg S B, Holland A F, Sanger D M, 2000. Responses of tidal creek macrobenthic communities to the effects of watershed development. Estuaries, 23(6): 838–853. doi:

  17. Li G X, Wei H L, Han Y S et al., 1998. Sedimentation in the Yellow River delta, part I: flow and suspended sediment structure in the upper distributary and the estuary. Marine Geology, 149(1–4): 93–111. doi:

  18. Li Jianguo, Yang Deming, Hu Ke et al., 2006. Study on hetroptera kitag spatial characteristics in Honghai Beach of Panjin City. Journal of Jilin University (Earth Science Edition), 36(S1): 108–112. (in Chinese)

  19. Li Min, Liu Shuaishuai, Xu Fei, 2017. Response of structure and functions of Comm. Phragmites australis + Suaeda salsa in Yellow River Delta to 3 kinds of human-caused disturbances. Wetland Science, 15(1): 92–98. (in Chinese)

  20. Li Pulin, Chen Jing, Sun Bingxiang et al., 2018. Research on urban water system planning based on connectivity. Yellow River, 40(1): 31–35, 49. (in Chinese)

  21. Lu Tao, Ma Keming, Fu Bojie et al., 2008. Effects of ditch network structure on landscape pattern in the Sanjiang plain, Northeast China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 28(6): 2746–2752. (in Chinese)

  22. Luo Meng, Wang Qing, Qiu Dongdong et al., 2018. Hydrological connectivity characteristics and ecological effects of a typical tidal channel system in the Yellow River Delta. Journal of Beijing Normal University (Natural Science), 54(1): 17–24. (in Chinese)

  23. Mallin M A, Lewitus A J, 2004. The importance of tidal creek ecosystems. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 298(2): 145–149. doi:

  24. Marani M, Belluco E, D’Alpaos A et al., 2003. On the drainage density of tidal networks. Water Resources Research, 39(2): 1040. doi:

  25. Naiman R J, Decamps H, Pollock M, 1993. The role of riparian corridors in maintaining regional biodiversity. Ecological Applications, 3(2): 209–212. doi:

  26. Obolewski K, 2011. Macrozoobenthos patterns along environmental gradients and hydrological connectivity of oxbow lakes. Ecological Engineering, 37(5): 796–805. doi:

  27. Paillex A, Dolédec S, Castella E et al., 2009. Large river flood-plain restoration: predicting species richness and trait responses to the restoration of hydrological connectivity. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46(1): 250–258. doi:

  28. Shi Haidong, Shen Yongming, Kang Min, 2016. Rapid response of tidal creek network patterns to the reclamation on the central Jiangsu coast. Haiyang Xuebao, 38(1): 106–115. (in Chinese)

  29. Spurrier J D, Kjerfve B, 1988. Estimating the net flux of nutrients between a salt marsh and a tidal creek. Estuaries, 11(1): 10–14. doi:

  30. Sun Xiaogong, Zhao Haihong, Cui Chengqi, 2001. The fractal characteristics of tidal flat and tidal creek system in the Huanghe River Delta. Oceanologia et Limnologia Sinica, 32(1): 74–80. (in Chinese)

  31. Teal J M, 1962. Energy flow in the salt marsh ecosystem of Georgia. Ecology, 43(4): 614–624. doi:

  32. Wang Jining, Meng Yonghui, Zhang Lixia, 2016. Remote sensing monitoring and change analysis of Yellow River Estuary coastline in the past 42 years. Remote Sensing for Land & Resources, 28(3): 188–193. (in Chinese)

  33. Wang Kuifeng, 2019, Evolution of Yellow River Delta coastline based on remote sensing from 1976 to 2014, China. Chinese Geographical Science, 29(2): 181–191. doi:

  34. Wang Yuncai, 2009. The connectivity evaluation of Shanghai urban landscape eco-network. Geographical Research, 28(2): 284–292. (in Chinese)

  35. Wolaver T, Whiting G, Kjerfve B et al., 1985. The flume design—a methodology for evaluating material fluxes between a vegetated salt marsh and the adjacent tidal creek. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 91(3): 281–291. doi:

  36. Wu Deli, Shen Yongming, Fang Renjian, 2013. A morphological analysis of tidal creek network patterns on the central Jiangsu coast. Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(7): 955–965. (in Chinese)

  37. Xia Min, Zhou Zhen, Zhao Haixia, 2017. Evaluation of water system connectivity of the district around Chaohu Lake based on comprehensive indexes. Geography and Geo-information Science, 33(1): 73–77. (in Chinese)

  38. Xu Guobin, Zhang Jinliang, Lian Jijian, 2005. Effect of water-sediment regulation of the Yellow River on the lower reach. Advances in Water Science, 16(4): 518–523. (in Chinese)

  39. Xu Jianhua, 2014. Quantitative Geography. 2nd ed. Beijing: Higher Education Press. (in Chinese)

  40. Yin Yanhong, 1997. Status quo and progress in tidal channel. Marine Geology Letters, 13(7): 1–4. (in Chinese)

  41. Yu Xiaojuan, Zhang Zhongsheng, Xue Zhenshan et al., 2018. Morphological characteristics and connectivity of tidal channels in the Yellow River Delta for 7 periods since 1989. Wetland Science, 16(4): 517–523. (in Chinese)

  42. Zhao Xinsheng, Cui Baoshan, Sun Tao et al., 2010. The relationship between the spatial distribution of vegetation and soil environmental factors in the tidal creek areas of the Yellow River Delta. Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 19(8): 1855–1861. (in Chinese)

  43. Zhao Yingshi, 2003. Principles and Methods of Remote Sensing Application Analysis. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

  44. Zhu C M, Zhang X P, Huang Q H, 2018. Four decades of estuarine wetland changes in the Yellow River delta based on Landsat observations between 1973 and 2013. Water, 10(7): 933. doi:

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Zhenshan Xue.

Additional information

Foundation item

Under the auspices of National Key Research and Development Project (No. 2017YFC0505901)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yu, X., Zhang, Z., Xue, Z. et al. Effects of Tidal Channels and Roads on Landscape Dynamic Distribution in the Yellow River Delta, China. Chin. Geogr. Sci. 30, 170–179 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11769-020-1103-6

Download citation


  • tidal channel development
  • road construction
  • principal component analysis
  • multiple linear regression analysis
  • the Yellow River Delta