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Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2263; doi:10.3390/su9122263

Analysis of Landscape Patterns of Arid Valleys in China, Based on Grain Size Effect

1
Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Key Laboratory of Eco-hydrology of Inland River Basin, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
College of Earth Sciences and Resources, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710054, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 2 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 13 December 2017
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Abstract

Landscape metrics are useful tools in investigating spatial structure and in describing the heterogeneity of landscapes, but are sensitive to grain size. Thus, it is necessary to determine the appropriate grain size before researching landscape patterns. However, there have been few large-scale investigations in high-precision research about the effect of grain size on landscape patterns, especially in arid valleys in China. Thus, we selected three representative sample areas according to the basic characteristics of arid valleys, and we chose 22 grain sizes from 15 to 450 m to calculate twelve landscape metrics at the landscape level and six landscape metrics at the class level to analyze the most appropriate grain size for the arid valleys. All basins in the study area were converted to an appropriate-sized grid to analyze the landscape patterns. Our results showed that the effect of grain size on landscape metrics can be categorized as: no law, increasing, decreasing, or no change. The majority of the fitted landscape index curves were good, with high R2 values. The most appropriate grain size at both levels was 75 m. The landscape pattern of arid valleys was scale-dependent. At the landscape level, arid valley landscape patterns changed from northwest to southeast due to topography and hydrothermal conditions. While the value of aggregation for different size classes was high, the other metrics showed significant differences due to area and degree of human activity at the class level. View Full-Text
Keywords: arid valleys; landscape metrics; landscape level; class level arid valleys; landscape metrics; landscape level; class level
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Fang, S.; Zhao, Y.; Han, L.; Ma, C. Analysis of Landscape Patterns of Arid Valleys in China, Based on Grain Size Effect. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2263.

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