Non-point source pollution is the main factor causing water quality deterioration. Landscape patterns affect the transmission of non-point source pollutants. Many studies have been carried out to analyze the correlation between landscape patterns and water quality, while most former studies neglected the scale effect. The Jiulong River basin in southeast China was selected as the study area. Based on a landscape cover map generated from satellite images, we determined the riparian buffer zones with different widths, set the catchment as the complementary scale, and then established the multiple linear regression models to explore the relationship between landscape metrics and water quality indices at different scales. The degree of significance of the effect of various landscape metrics on the water quality at different scales was quantitatively analyzed in this paper by using multiple linear regression analysis. The results showed that not only the impact of landscape metrics but also the influence of land cover type on the water quality indices would vary when the spatial scale changed. The credible regression models established in this study can help regional managers understand the correlation between landscape and water quality, and the regression results can be used for land use allocation in a watershed.
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