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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 2067-2088; doi:10.3390/rs70202067

Correlations between Urbanization and Vegetation Degradation across the World’s Metropolises Using DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data

1
Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 November 2014 / Accepted: 2 February 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

Changes in biodiversity owing to vegetation degradation resulting from widespread urbanization demands serious attention. However, the connection between vegetation degradation and urbanization appears to be complex and nonlinear, and deserves a series of long-term observations. On the basis of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the image’s digital number (DN) in nighttime stable light data (NTL), we delineated the spatiotemporal relations between urbanization and vegetation degradation of different metropolises by using a simplified NTL calibration method and Theil-Sen regression. The results showed clear and noticeable spatiotemporal differences. On spatial relations, rapidly urbanized cities were found to have a high probability of vegetation degradation, but in reality, not all of them experience sharp vegetation degradation. On temporal characteristics, the degradation degree was found to vary during different periods, which may depend on different stages of urbanization and climate history. These results verify that under the scenario of a vegetation restoration effort combined with increasing demand for a high-quality urban environment, the urbanization process will not necessarily result in vegetation degradation on a large scale. The positive effects of urban vegetation restoration should be emphasized since there has been an increase in demand for improved urban environmental quality. However, slight vegetation degradation is still observed when NDVI in an urbanized area is compared with NDVI in the outside buffer. It is worthwhile to pay attention to landscape sustainability and reduce the negative urbanization effects by urban landscape planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: urbanization stage; vegetation variation; nighttime light; NDVI; Theil-Sen slope urbanization stage; vegetation variation; nighttime light; NDVI; Theil-Sen slope
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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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Liu, Y.; Wang, Y.; Peng, J.; Du, Y.; Liu, X.; Li, S.; Zhang, D. Correlations between Urbanization and Vegetation Degradation across the World’s Metropolises Using DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 2067-2088.

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