Using Landsat TM data from 1995 and 2000, changes in the landscape erosion pattern of the Yellow River Basin, China were analysed. The aim was to improve our understanding of soil-erosion change so that sustainable land use could be established. First, a soil-erosion intensity index model was developed to study soil-erosion intensity change in the study area. Over the 5 years, the areas of weak erosion, moderate erosion, severe erosion, and very severe erosion all increased. The area of weak erosion increased dramatically by 7.94×105 ha, and areas of slight erosion and acute erosion decreased by 1.93×106 ha and 4.50×104 ha, respectively. The results show that while the intensity of soil erosion has gradually been decreasing as a whole, in some regions the soil erosion is becoming more severe. Based on landscape indices, the pattern of changes in soil erosion over the past 5 years was analysed. The changes in landscape pattern of soil erosion resulted from human activities. Analysis showed that human impact increases fragmentation, having three major effects on landscape pattern, reduction in patch area, variations in patch shape, and changes in spatial pattern. In the study area, population growth, farming, governmental policy and forest degradation are the major factors causing soil erosion change over a 5-year period.