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Land-Use Variations in Regions with Rapid Economic Development - A Case Study in the Pearl River Delta

M. M. Hu and B. C. Xia*

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

*Corresponding author. Tel.: 86-20-31145320. E-mail address: (B. C. Xia).


This study evaluates land use/cover changes (LUCC), urban expansion and landscape pattern in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) from 1995 to 2015. Specifically, analysis of spatial-temporal process and transfer directions of LUCC. From the perspective of landscape pattern analysis, select twelve types of landscape indexes, and comprehensively explore the impact of LUCC on landscape pattern. The results show that forestland has the largest area in all landscape types, occupying more than 50%. The forest coverage rate of the PRD is relatively high; meanwhile, forestland presents a spatially distributed form of aggregation. Urban-land expansion is primarily driven by population growth and economic development. The LUCC is imbalanced and shows a one-way transition; the proportion of built-up land increased from 7.91% in 1995 to 14.34% in 2015 (expansion has nearly doubled in size). The prominent built-up land expansions found in Foshan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan; mainly though the occupation of large amounts of forest and cropland. The landscape tends to be more fragmented and diversified. Human activities, as the main driving force, need to avoid the acceleration of the urbanization process to occupy a large amount of ecological land in future development and maintain the existing forest coverage.

Keywords: land use/cover change, landscape pattern, landscape heterogeneity, Pearl River Delta

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