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Water 2014, 6(12), 3758-3782; doi:10.3390/w6123758

An Analysis of Land Use Change Dynamics and Its Impacts on Hydrological Processes in the Jialing River Basin

1
College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, No. 1 Xikang Road, Nanjing 210098, Jiangsu Province, China
2
National Engineering Research Center of Water Resources Efficient Utilization and Engineering Safety, Hohai University, No. 1 Xikang Road, Nanjing 210098, Jiangsu Province, China
3
Changjiang Water Resources Protection Institute, No. 515 Qintai Street, Wuhan 430051, Hubei Province, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 25 November 2014 / Published: 4 December 2014
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Abstract

Land use changes are important aspects of global change and affect regional water cycles, environmental quality, biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems. To understand the temporal and spatial land use change in the Jialing River Basin and its impacts on the hydrological cycle, land use change models and the variable infiltration capacity (VIC) model were applied separately to the Jialing River Basin. Real change and final change were analyzed to determine the consequences of land use changes and their hydrological consequences. Real change is defined as the total variation during a fixed period, including increases and decreases. Thus, real change is the sum of the absolute values of the decrease and the increase. Final change is defined as the difference between the beginning and end of a given period for a specific factor. Overall, the amounts of settlement and shrub land area changed significantly in the entire Jialing River (with final change rates of 20.77% and −16.07%, respectively, and real change rates of 34.2% and 30.1%, respectively, from 1985 to 1995, as well as final and real change rates of 29.37%, 12.40%, 39.9% and 32.8%, respectively, from 1995 to 2000). Compared with the final change, the real change highlighted the rate of change and the change in woodland area. The land use changes in the Lueyang (LY), Shehong (SH) and Fengtan (FT) subcatchments were more dynamic than in the other subcatchments. The economy, population and macro-policy were the main factors responsible for driving the land use changes. The decrease in woodland area in the LY subcatchment corresponded with an increase in evapotranspiration (ET) and with decreases in the other hydrological elements. Overall, the final changes in the hydrological elements in the LY, SH and FT subcatchments were not significant due to the average and compensation effects. The LY subcatchment was mainly affected by the average effect, whereas the SH and FT subcatchments were affected by the average and compensation effects. The use of real change can increase the detectability of hydrological elements changes caused by land use change in SH and FT. The results of this study provide new insights regarding the examination of the effects of land use changes on hydrological regimes. These results are useful for land use planners and water resource managers. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use; land use change model; hydrological response; VIC model; real change; final change; average effect; compensation effect land use; land use change model; hydrological response; VIC model; real change; final change; average effect; compensation effect
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, T.; Zhang, X.; Xia, D.; Liu, Y. An Analysis of Land Use Change Dynamics and Its Impacts on Hydrological Processes in the Jialing River Basin. Water 2014, 6, 3758-3782.

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