Next Article in Journal
Quantitative Analysis on the Influence Factors of the Sustainable Water Resource Management Performance in Irrigation Areas: An Empirical Research from China
Next Article in Special Issue
Carbon Neutral by 2021: The Past and Present of Costa Rica’s Unusual Political Tradition
Previous Article in Journal
The Effect of Absorptive Capacity on Green Customer Capital under an Organizational Unlearning Context
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 270;

Responses of Vegetation Cover to Environmental Change in Large Cities of China

1,2,3,* and 2,4
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
College of Geomatics, Xi’an University of Science and Technology, Xi’an 710054, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [5542 KB, uploaded 20 January 2018]   |  


Vegetation cover is crucial for the sustainability of urban ecosystems; however, this cover has been undergoing substantial changes in cities. Based on climate data, city statistical data, nighttime light data and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset, we investigate the spatiotemporal variations of climate factors, urban lands and vegetation cover in 71 large cities of China during 1998–2012, and explore their correlations. A regression model between growing-season NDVI (G-NDVI) and urban land proportion (PU) is built to quantify the impact of urbanization on vegetation cover change. The results indicate that the spatiotemporal variations of temperature, precipitation, PU and G-NDVI are greatly different among the 71 cities which experienced rapid urbanization. The spatial difference of G-NDVI is closely related to diverse climate conditions, while the inter-annual variations of G-NDVI are less sensitive to climate changes. In addition, there is a negative correlation between G-NDVI trend and PU change, indicating vegetation cover in cities have been negatively impacted by urbanization. For most of the inland cities, the urbanization impacts on vegetation cover in urban areas are more severe than in suburban areas. But the opposite occurs in 17 cities mainly located in the coastal areas which have been undergoing the most rapid urbanization. Overall, the impacts of urbanization on G-NDVI change are estimated to be −0.026 per decade in urban areas and −0.015 per decade in suburban areas during 1998–2012. The long-term developments of cities would persist and continue to impact on the environmental change and sustainability. We use a 15-year window here as a case study, which implies the millennia of human effects on the natural biotas and warns us to manage landscapes and preserve ecological environments properly. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation cover; urbanization; climate change; NDVI; cities; China vegetation cover; urbanization; climate change; NDVI; cities; China

Figure 1

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).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jin, K.; Wang, F.; Li, P. Responses of Vegetation Cover to Environmental Change in Large Cities of China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 270.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top