Next Article in Journal
An Unexpected Means of Embedding Ethics in Organizations: Preliminary Findings from Values-Based Evaluations
Next Article in Special Issue
Building Sustainable Smallholder Cooperatives in Emerging Market Economies: Findings from a Five-Year Project in Kenya
Previous Article in Journal
Resource Usage Strategies and Trade-Offs between Cropland Demand, Fossil Fuel Consumption, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Building Insulation as an Example
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Quest for Rural Sustainability in Russia
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 614; doi:10.3390/su8070614

Spatiotemporal Changes in Rural Settlement Land and Rural Population in the Middle Basin of the Heihe River, China

College of Earth Environmental Science, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David J. O’Brien
Received: 18 March 2016 / Revised: 22 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5836 KB, uploaded 29 June 2016]   |  


Understanding the relationship between the spatiotemporal expansion of rural settlement land and the variation of rural population is the foundation of rational and specific planning for sustainable development. Based on the integration of Landsat TM, ETM+, and OLI images and demographic data, using mathematical models, landscape indexes, and a decoupling model, the spatiotemporal changes of the rural settlement land area and its decoupling relationship with the rural registered population were analyzed for the middle basin of the Heihe River in China. During the period 1986–2014, the following changes occurred: (1) The study area experienced increases of 124.94%, 55.16%, and 1.56% in rural settlement land area, number of patches, and rural registered population, respectively; (2) Edge-expansion, dispersion, and urban encroachment were the dominant patterns of dynamic changes in the studied rural settlement land. Among these, edge-expansion was the most prevalent development pattern; it contributed more than half of the total increase in the number of patches and the total area growth; (3) The annual growth rate of the rural registered population increased from 0.7% in 1986–2002 to −0.5% in 2002–2014. By that time the rural settlement land area had undergone a gentle increase from 3.4% to 3.6%. Generally, the rural registered population and rural settlement land has experienced a shift from weakly decoupled in 1986–2009 to strongly decoupled in 2009–2014; (4) From 1986 to 2014, rural urbanization and modernization were the main causes that led to the decline in the rural registered population; however, economic growth promoted the expansion of rural settlement land during this same period. We believe that with the rapid development of urbanization, the decoupling relationship between the rural settlement land area and the reduction in the rural registered population cannot be completely reversed in the short term. It is recommended that the government should enhance the role of planning rural settlement land during the process of urbanization. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural settlement land; landscape change; rural registered population; decoupling; middle basin of the Heihe River rural settlement land; landscape change; rural registered population; decoupling; middle basin of the Heihe River

Figure 1

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).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Shi, M.; Xie, Y.; Cao, Q. Spatiotemporal Changes in Rural Settlement Land and Rural Population in the Middle Basin of the Heihe River, China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 614.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top