Land use change and anthropogenic driving forces: A case study in Yanhe River Basin

Changhong Su, Bojie Fu, Yihe Lu, Nan Lu, Yuan Zeng, Anna He, Halina Lamparski
2011 Chinese Geographical Science  
Human activities alter land use patterns and affect landscape sustainability. It is therefore very important to investigate the relationship between land use change and human activities. This study focuses on the detection of changing land use patterns in the Yanhe River Basin in northern Loess Plateau of China between 1995 and 2008. Landscape metrics were used to analyze the changing land use patterns and to explore the related anthropogenic driving forces. Results show that: 1) Totally, 186
more » ... 0 ha of croplands were converted into alternate land-use types (equivalent to 61.7% of the original cropland area). The majority of cropland areas were found to be converted into grassland and woodland areas (accounting for 55.9% and 4.9% respectively of the original cropland areas). 2) Both cropland and woodland demonstrated an increasing fragmentation tendency while grasslands showed a decreasing fragmentation tendency. 3) Multiple driving forces of land use change were thought to act together to changes in landscape metrics in the Yanhe River Basin. The anthropogenic driving forces were analyzed from four perspectives: ecological conservation policy, labor force transfer, industrial development, and rural settlement. The policy of the GfG (Grain for Green) project was the main driving factor which expedited the conversion from cropland to woodland and grassland. Industrial development was also found to affect land use change through the direct impact of economic activities such as oil exploration and agricultural production, or through indirect impacts such as the industrial structures readjustment. Labor force transfer from rural to urban areas was found to follow the industrial structure readjustment and further drove land use change from cropland to off-farm land use. Establishment of new tile-roofed houses instead of cave-type dwellings in rural settlements has helped to aggregate the original scattered land-use type of construction.
doi:10.1007/s11769-011-0495-8 fatcat:dv2mv6nxqnfptohc4q2q7mm4a4