Monitoring wetland dynamics and related land-use changes over long-time periods is essential to understanding wetland evolution and supporting knowledge-based conservation policies. Combining multi-source remote sensing images, this study identifies the dynamics of marshes, a core part of wetlands, in the Small Sanjiang Plain (SSP), from 1965 to 2015. The influence of human activities on marsh patterns is estimated quantitatively by the trajectory analysis method. The results indicate that the marsh area decreased drastically by 53.17% of the total SSP area during the study period, which covered the last five decades. The marsh mostly transformed to paddy field and dry farmland in the SSP from 1965 to 2015, indicating that agricultural encroachment was the dominant contributor to marsh degradation in the area. Analysis of the landscape indexes indicates that marsh fragmentation was aggravated during the past five decades in the SSP. Trajectory analysis also indicated that human activities have acted as the primary driving force of marsh changes in the SSP since 1965. This study provides scientific information to better understand the evolution of the wetland and to implement ecological conservation and sustainable management of the wetlands in the future.
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