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Open AccessArticle

Associations between Road Density, Urban Forest Landscapes, and Structural-Taxonomic Attributes in Northeastern China: Decoupling and Implications

Key Laboratory of Forest Plant Ecology, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
Urban Forests and Wetland Group, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Changchun 130102, China
Colleage of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(1), 58;
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
A better understanding on the associations between road density (RD), urban forest structural-taxonomic attributes, and landscape metrics is vital for forest ecological service evaluations and suitable management in sprawling urban areas with increasing road networks. We chose Harbin, a fast growing provincial capital city in northeast China, as a case study to address this issue. We utilized ArcGIS software (Esri, version 10.0; Redlands, CA, USA) and FRAGSTATS (V4.2.589) to digitize GF-1 images (Gaofen No.1 remote sensing images) to acquire road net characteristic information and landscape metrics of urban forests in Harbin. Together with forest structural-taxonomic attributes from a stratified random sampling survey, statistical methods such as an analysis of variance, a regression analysis, and a redundancy analysis were used to determine the road-dependent differences and to decouple the associations between them. The results indicated that road area percentages, road length/imperious surface area (ISA) ratios, road area/ISA ratios, and road cross-points sharply increased from low to heavy RD areas. This road intensification was strongly associated with increased urban forest area, patch density, and diverse patch shapes; smaller tree sizes, lower tree densities, and diverse tree species compositions were generally observed. Redundancy-based variation partitioning showed that part of the variations in structural-taxonomic attributes of forests could be explained by road intensity characteristics. In low RD (0–1.5 km/km2) regions, the road characteristics significantly affected forest characteristics (Shannon Wiener diversity index, species richness, and evenness index); however, such associations weakened with increasing forest landscape-related associations in medium to heavy RD (1.5–6 km/km2) regions. Our findings highlighted that road development is strongly associated with forest characteristics in Harbin city, and RD-dependent forest landscape regulating management could favor the maximization of forest ecological services that are related to structural and species identities. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape metrics; taxonomic attributes; road density fraction landscape metrics; taxonomic attributes; road density fraction
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Yang, Y.; Lv, H.; Fu, Y.; He, X.; Wang, W. Associations between Road Density, Urban Forest Landscapes, and Structural-Taxonomic Attributes in Northeastern China: Decoupling and Implications. Forests 2019, 10, 58.

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