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Spatial Variability of Local Rural Landscape Change under Rapid Urbanization in Eastern China

School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
Chongqing Geomatics Center, Chongqing 401121, China
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
College of Landscape and Ecological Engineering, Hebei University of Engineering, Handan 056021, China
School of Architecture, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
China National Engineering Research Center for Human Settlements, Beijing 100044, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(6), 231;
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
PDF [1689 KB, uploaded 20 June 2018]


Understanding the characteristics of rural landscape change during the urbanization process is crucial to developing more elaborate rural landscape management plans for sustainable development. However, there is little information revealing how rural landscapes change at a local scale and limited evidence addressing how to improve the practicability of these management approaches. This paper aims to investigate local rural landscape compositions and patterns and to identify the spatial variability of local rural landscape change under rapid urbanization in eastern China to provide detail approaches to practicable and efficient local landscape management. The land use composition and landscape pattern from 2009 to 2012 were analyzed in three rural areas, namely, Daxing (DX) in Beijing, Quzhou (QZ) in Hebei Province and Changshu (CS) in Jiangsu Province. The results showed that the three rural areas varied in landscape pattern and land use composition change, even in the short term. Local farmland decreased slightly, demonstrating the effectiveness of the national farmland protection policy. Compared to the other two rural areas, CS was more diverse, fragmented and complex, and it had the greatest change rate between 2009 and 2012. In this rural area, semi-natural land dramatically increased, from 9.15% to 39.85%, and settlement construction unexpectedly decreased. QZ was characterized by a highly homogenous landscape dominated by farmland, which accounted for more than 80% of the total area, and it showed a slow decrease in farmland with weak increases in semi-natural land and construction. DX was characterized by a simple and homogenous landscape and had a median change rate of 9.32%, presenting a common land use change trend of a fast expansion in construction but decreases in farmland and semi-natural land. During decreases in highly valuable natural land, semi-natural land was important for nature conservation in rural areas at a local scale, but that process needs further improvement, especially in DX and QZ. Generally, local rural landscapes became more disaggregated and diverse during landscape change. Land use switches among farmland, orchards, nurseries, and other production lands were the major driving force for local change. Considering differential characteristics of landscape change among rural areas, we suggest that efficient landscape management requires the development of strategies that account for the spatial variability of urbanization effects. Subsidies for the management of semi-natural land with high natural value are meaningful for local natural conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural landscape; land use change; landscape change; local scale; urbanization rural landscape; land use change; landscape change; local scale; urbanization

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Xiao, H.; Liu, Y.; Li, L.; Yu, Z.; Zhang, X. Spatial Variability of Local Rural Landscape Change under Rapid Urbanization in Eastern China. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 231.

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