In this study, land use/cover change was systematically investigated in the Qeshm Island to understand how human and nature interact in the largest island of Persian Gulf. Land-use maps were prepared for 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014 using Landsat satellite imagery in six classes including agriculture, bare-land, built-up, dense-vegetation, mangrove, and water-body, and then dynamic of changes in the classes was evaluated using intensity analysis at three levels: interval, category, and transition. Results illustrated that, while the land changes were fast over the first and third time intervals (1996–2002 and 2008–2014), the trend of changes was slow in the second period (2002–2008). Driven by high demand for construction and population growth, the built-up class was identified as an active gainer in all the three time intervals. The class of bare-land was the main supplier of the land for other classes especially for built-up area, while built-up did not act as the active supplier of the land for other classes. The dense-vegetation class was active in all three time intervals. As for the mangrove class, drought and cutting by residents had negative effects, while setting up protected areas can effectively maintain this valuable ecosystem. High demands were observed for land change in relation to built-up and agriculture classes among other classes. The findings of this study can advance our understanding of the relationship and behavior of land use/cover classes among each other over 18 years in a coastal island with arid climate.
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