Journal of Arid Land


This study seeks a routine to quantify spatial pattern of land cover changes in semiarid envi-ronment of China based on post-classification comparison method. The method consists of three major steps: (1) the image classification and unification of classified results based on two-level land cover classification themes, (2) the establishment of land cover change classes based on an unification land cover classification theme, (3) the reclassification and mapping of land cover change classes with three overall classes including no-change, gain and loss based on the uni-fication land cover class. This method was applied to detect the spatial pattern of land cover changes in Yinchuan Plain, one of famous irrigation agricultural zones of the Yellow River, China. The results showed the land cover had undergone a remarkable change from 1991 to 2002 in the study area (the changed area was over 30%). Rapid increase of cropland (12.5%), built-up area (131.4%) and rapid decrease of bare ground (51.7%) were alarming. The spatial pattern of land cover changes showed clear regional difference in the study area and was clearly related to human activities or natural factors. Thus, it obtained a better understanding of the human impact on the fragile ecosystem of China’s semiarid environment.


change detection, spatial pattern, land cover, semiarid zone of China, remote sensing, human activities

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