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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101026

Changes in Light Pollution and the Causing Factors in China’s Protected Areas, 1992–2012

1,2
and
1,3,*
1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
International College, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
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Abstract

The natural nighttime light environment of the earth has been significantly transformed by human activities. Such “light pollution” has a profound influence on ecosystems. Protected areas (PAs) play key ecological functions and are only effective at low light pollution levels or without any light pollution. In China, with rapid population growth and high urbanization rates, light pollution in PAs continues to aggravate and threaten a number of ecosystems. We used calibrated nighttime light images to study spatial-temporal changes in light pollution in China’s PAs from 1992 to 2012 by classifying light pollution into three levels (moderate, medium, and strong). The results showed that in China’s PAs, the area subject to light pollution increased by about 1.79 times, with a significant increase in the intensity of artificial light. The changes in light pollution exhibited significant regional differences. In the eastern developed regions, light pollution was more significant than that in other regions and the situation in East China was the most severe. In the Qinghai-Tibet, although light pollution was less significant, the area subject to light pollution increased significantly over the evaluated period. Factors influencing light pollution were also analyzed. Light pollution in a PA is influenced by both human activities and its own characteristics. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; light pollution; DMSP/OLS data; protected areas China; light pollution; DMSP/OLS data; protected areas
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Xiang, W.; Tan, M. Changes in Light Pollution and the Causing Factors in China’s Protected Areas, 1992–2012. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1026.

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