Identifying wetland change in China’s Sanjiang Plain using remote sensing
Maximum likelihood supervised classification and post-classification change detection techniques were applied to Landsat MSS/TM images acquired in 1976, 1986, 1995, 2000, and 2005 to map land cover changes in the Small Sanjiang Plain in northeast China. A hotspots study identified land use changes in two National Nature Reserves. These were the Honghe National Nature Reserve (HNNR) and the Sanjiang National Nature Reserve (SNNR). Landscape metrics were used in both reserves to identify marsh landscape pattern dynamics. The results showed that the Small Sanjiang plain had been subject to much change. This resulted from direct and indirect impacts of human activities. Direct impacts, resulting in marsh loss, were associated with widespread reclamation for agriculture. Indirect impacts (mainly in HNNR) resulted from alterations to the marsh hydrology and this degraded the marsh ecosystem. Marsh landscape patterns changed significantly due to direct impacts in SNNR between 1976 and 1986 and again between 2000 and 2005, and, in HNNR between 1976 and 1986. Indirect impacts in HNNR after 1986 appeared to cause little change. It was concluded that effective wetland protection measures are needed, informed by the change analysis.