This study attempts to develop a methodology to quantify spatial patterns of land cover change using landscape metrics. First, multitemporal land cover types are derived based on a unified land cover classification scheme and from the classification of multitemporal remotely sensed imagery. Categorical land cover change trajectories are then established and reclassified according to the nature and driving forces of the change. Finally, spatial pattern metrics of the land cover change trajectory classes are computed and their relationships to human activities and environmental factors are analysed. A case study in the middle reach of Tarim River in the arid zone of China from 1973 to 2000 shows that during the 30-year study period, the natural force is dominant in environmental change, although the human impact through altering water resources and surface materials has increased dramatically in recent years. The human-induced change trajectories generally show lower normalized landscape shape index (NLSI), interspersion and juxtaposition index (IJI) and area-weighted mean patch fractal dimension (FARC_AM), indicating greater aggregation, less association with others and simpler and larger patches in shape, respectively. The results suggest that spatial pattern metrics of land cover change trajectories can provide a good quantitative measurement for better understanding of the spatio-temporal pattern of land cover change due to different causes.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China
State Key Laboratory of Environment and Resources Information System, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830011, China
Publication date: October 1, 2008
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