Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 1873–1888 | Cite as

Land cover change in different altitudes of Guizhou-Guangxi karst mountain area, China: patterns and drivers

  • Tian-tian Chen
  • Li Peng
  • Shao-quan Liu
  • Qiang Wang


Topography, especially altitude, will influence the way, process and characteristics of land cover changes in mountainous area, simultaneously, the vertical difference of land cover changes will affect soil quality and regional ecological environment. Therefore, the gradient relationship analysis between land cover changes and altitude is very important for regional sustainability. This study investigated land cover dynamics based on land cover data from a typical mountainous area in the Guizhou-Guangxi karst mountain area, China, in 2000 and 2010, then explored the relationship between altitude and land cover change and analyzed different drivers of land cover change at different altitudes. Our findings are as follows. 1) From 2000 to 2010, the total area of land cover transition was 7167.04 km2 or 2.8% of the region. The increasing area of build-up land (926.23 km2) was larger than that of forest (859.38 km2), suggesting that the urban construction speed was higher than that of reforestation. 2) Intensity of land cover transition in northwestern Guizhou-Guangxi karst mountain area was much larger than that of southeast part and their transition trend was also significantly different, which was consistent with regional population and economy. 3) Human activity was the most dramatic at altitudes between 0–500 m. For 500–1000 m, grassland mainly converted to forest and build-up land. Area of land cover transition was the greatest between 1000–1500 m, while above 1500 m, the transition of grassland was the most obvious. 4) The drivers of land cover change varied. Land cover change was positively correlated with gross domestic product and population density but was inversely related to relief amplitude. There were correlations between land cover change and distance to roads and rivers, and their correlations varied with altitude. By revealing patterns and causes of land cover changes in different altitudes, we hope to understand the vertical dependence of land cover changes, so as to improve land productivity and protect land ecological environment scientifically.


Land cover change Vertical difference Drivers Regional sustainability Guizhou-Guangxi karst mountain area 


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This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973Program, 2015CB452706), the youth talent team program of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS (SDSQB-2015-01), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41401198 and 41571527), and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS(No. 2016332).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Chengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina

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