Spatiotemporal Variations and Driving Factors of Ecological Land during Urbanization—A Case Study in the Yangtze River's Lower Reaches

Guohui Yao, Haidong Li, Nan Wang, Lijun Zhao, Hanbei Du, Longjiang Zhang, Shouguang Yan
2022 Sustainability  
Ecological land change is an important indicator of eco-environment quality when balancing urbanization and regional ecological safety. Nantong, located in the Yangtze River's lower reaches, has experienced rapid urbanization since the reform and opening-up policy was implemented in China in 1978. To ensure the regional ecological conservation and restoration of the Yangtze River and the city's sustainable development, we used remote sensing technology and statistical yearbook data as well as
more » ... nd use dynamic degree (LUDD) and Geodetector methods to determine the spatiotemporal dynamics of ecological land in the Nantong riverine area from 1980 to 2020 and further discussed the potential driving factors. We found that (1) from 1980 to 2020, the major types of ecological land changed from cropland (82.08%), water (17.19%), and grassland (0.69%) to cropland (70.11%), water (26.98%), and forestland (2.25%), and the ecological land area decreased by 4091.36 km2 during the same period with a significantly increased dynamic degree of land use. (2) Spatial heterogeneity existed in the distribution and variation of ecological land. Water was the dominant ecological land use in the Yangtze River levee's inner area, with transitions to cropland and impervious surfaces as the primary conversion types; cropland was the primary land use in the levee's external area, with transitions from cropland and water to impervious surface as the primary conversion types. In addition, in cities with an early start and a high level of urbanization, most of the ecological land had been converted to impervious surfaces by urban development, whereas cities without those characteristics had retained more of their ecological land. (3) Ecological land change was influenced by a combination of natural and socio-economic factors, and there were enhanced-bi and enhanced-nonlinear interactions between them. (4) The dominant factors influencing ecological land changes during the three stages of urbanization (1980–2000, 2000–2010, and 2010–2020) were the distance to the Yangtze River, the population, and the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of secondary industry, respectively. The role of environmental policies has gradually increased in recent years, which has played a positive role in ecological land use restoration. The findings of this study can assist policymakers in optimizing land use and restoring ecological space to conserve biodiversity.
doi:10.3390/su14074256 fatcat:3urfmooq2bd45jryzdtbf7u7ie