Ecological land is a land use category provided with considerable ecological value and a vital indicator reflecting regional eco-environmental quality. However, it has experienced severe fragmentation during the rapid urbanization in China which strongly threatened the regional ecological security, land use pattern and human living environment. Therefore, analysis of spatiotemporal change of ecological land use and ecological landscape pattern is particularly essential. In this paper, a case study was made in Nong’an County, which is a typical black soil farming area located in northeast China facing severe conflicts among cultivated land protection, urban expansion and ecological security. A landscape fragmentation evaluation model was proposed to measure the degree of regional ecological land fragmentation. We also determined the land use change features through the methods of dynamic change information exploration and by performing transfer trajectory analysis during the period from 1996 to 2014. The results showed that the ecological land in Nong’an County has experienced increasing fragmentation during the past 18 years. The statistical results showed that the land transition between ecological land and other land categories was quite frequent, and it especially appeared as a dramatic decline of grassland and severe increase of saline-alkali land. In addition, human interferences especially construction activities and cultivated land occupation were still the dominant factors to the fragmentation of ecological land and the frequent transition among the land use categories. The fragmentation degree showed a downward tendency at the end of the study, which indicated noticeable benefits of land use regulation and land protection policies directed towards land ecological value. This study aims to provide a scientific evaluation model for measuring ecological land fragmentation degree, and figure out the regional land use transition relationships to offer suggestions for decision-making and provide a practical case in a typical region.
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