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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 237; doi:10.3390/su8030237

Characteristics of Land Use/Cover and Macroscopic Ecological Changes in the Headwaters of the Yangtze River and of the Yellow River over the Past 30 Years

1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 3 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Based on land use and land cover (LULC) datasets in the late 1970s, the early 1990s, 2004 and 2012, we analyzed characteristics of LULC change in the headwaters of the Yangtze River and Yellow River over the past 30 years contrastively, using the transition matrix and LULC change index. The results showed that, in 2012, the LULC in the headwaters of the Yellow River were different compared to those of the headwaters of the Yangtze River, with more grassland and wet- and marshland. In the past 30 years, the grassland and wet- and marshland increasing at the expense of sand, gobi, and bare land and desert were the main LULC change types in the headwaters of the Yangtze River, with the macro-ecological situation experiencing a process of degeneration, slight melioration, and continuous melioration, in that order. In the headwaters of the Yellow River, severe reduction of grassland coverage, shrinkage of wet- and marshland and the consequential expansion of sand, gobi and bare land were noticed. The macro-ecological situation experienced a process of degeneration, obvious degeneration, and slight melioration, in that order, and the overall change in magnitude was more dramatic than that in the headwaters of the Yangtze River. These different LULC change courses were jointly driven by climate change, grassland-grazing pressure, and the implementation of ecological construction projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: LULC change; comparative analysis; remote sensing; headwaters of the Yangtze River; headwaters of the Yellow River LULC change; comparative analysis; remote sensing; headwaters of the Yangtze River; headwaters of the Yellow River
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, L.; Cao, W.; Shao, Q.; Huang, L.; He, T. Characteristics of Land Use/Cover and Macroscopic Ecological Changes in the Headwaters of the Yangtze River and of the Yellow River over the Past 30 Years. Sustainability 2016, 8, 237.

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