As a way of turning sea into land for living space for humans, the actions of sea reclamation bring about significant benefits. Nevertheless, it is also an under-recognized threat to the environment and the marine ecosystem. Based on images in two periods, sea reclamation information of countries around the South China Sea was extracted from 1975 to 2010. The spatial state and driven forces of sea reclamation are then discussed. Results show that the overall strength of sea reclamation in the South China Sea was great. New reclaimed land added up to 3264 km2
. Sea reclamation for fish farming was the main reclamation type and widely distributed in the whole area, especially on the coast from the Pearl River Delta to the Red River Delta, and the coast of Ca Mau Peninsula. Sea reclamation in China and Vietnam was rather significant, which occupies 80.6% of the total reclamation area. Singapore had the highest level of sea reclamation. New reclaimed land for fish farming holds a key role in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, while new reclaimed land for construction and docks dominated in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. Areas and use-type compositions of new reclaimed land in countries varied greatly due to the differences of economic factors, policy inclination, and landscapes in the respective countries.
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