Special Issue "Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Wei Song
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A, Datun Road Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
Interests: land use change monitoring using remote sensing technology; land use change modelling, such as the development of the system dynamics model and multi-agent model; effects of land use change on ecosystem services; land use policies
Prof. Dr. Hualin Xie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Ecological Civilization, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
Interests: land use; ecological security; resource and environmental policy; cultivated land protection; geographic information system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global population has been increasing dramatically since the 1950s. The huge population pressure not only goes along with an unprecedented scale of resource consumption, but also aggravates the exploitation of the ecological environment by humans. As an important link between human activities and ecosystems, the land use mode and intensity are not only an important driving factor of global ecological environment changes but also a result of environmental changes, and there is a close interdependent relationship between land use and global environmental changes. At global and regional scales, humans are increasingly realizing that a functional ecological environment is an important basis for the sustainable development of a social economy and for improving human wellbeing. In recent years, numerous studies have focused on land use changes and the corresponding ecological responses, including the identification of regional land use change processes based on remote sensing technology, the discussion of landscape effects on land use changes, and the construction of a series of ecosystem service evaluation models.

However, before the concept of ecological management can be integrated into studies of land use resources, it is necessary to systematically (1) reveal the typical land use change processes, such as the reclamation and abandonment of marginal arable land, in ecologically fragile areas, (2) assess ecosystem vulnerability, (3) identify important ecological sources and key ecological corridors, (4) clarify the concept and connotation of land use ecological risks, (5) reveal the quantitative relationship between land use change and ecological risks, and (6) evaluate the ecological responses and potential risks of regional land use changes. Such results can provide a scientific basis for the establishment of adequate policies.

Dr. Wei Song
Prof. Dr. Hualin Xie
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • land use changes
  • reclamation and abandonment of cropland
  • urban expansion
  • ecologically fragile areas
  • ecosystem risk
  • fragility of ecosystems
  • ecological corridor
  • ecosystem service
  • ecological security

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Spatiotemporal Variation in Rainfall Erosivity and Correlation with the ENSO on the Tibetan Plateau since 1971
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111054 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 277
Abstract
Soil erosion is a serious ecological problem in the fragile ecological environment of the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Rainfall erosivity is one of the most important factors controlling soil erosion and is associated with the El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO). However, there is a [...] Read more.
Soil erosion is a serious ecological problem in the fragile ecological environment of the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Rainfall erosivity is one of the most important factors controlling soil erosion and is associated with the El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO). However, there is a lack of studies related to the spatial distribution and temporal trends of rainfall erosivity on the TP as a whole. Additionally, the understanding of the general influence of ENSO on rainfall erosivity across the TP remains to be developed. In this study, long-term (1971–2020) daily precipitation data from 91 meteorological stations were selected to calculate rainfall erosivity. The analysis combines co-kriging interpolation, Sen’s slope estimator, and the Mann–Kendall trend test to investigate the spatiotemporal patten of rainfall erosivity across the TP. The Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) and multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) were chosen as ENSO phenomenon characterization indices, and the relationship between ENSO and rainfall erosivity was explored by employing a continuous wavelet transform. The results showed that an increasing trend in annual rainfall erosivity was detected on the TP from 1971 to 2020. The seasonal and monthly rainfall erosivity was highly uneven, with the summer erosivity accounting for 60.36%. The heterogeneous spatial distribution of rainfall erosivity was observed with an increasing trend from southeast to northwest. At the regional level, rainfall erosivity in the southeastern TP was mainly featured by a slow increase, while in the northwest was more destabilizing and mostly showed no significant trend. The rainfall erosivity on the whole TP was relatively high during non-ENSO periods and relatively low during El Niño/La Niña periods. It is worth noting that rainfall erosivity in the northwest TP appears to be more serious during the La Niña event. Furthermore, there were obvious resonance cycles between the rainfall erosivity and ENSO in different regions of the plateau, but the cycles had pronounced discrepancies in the occurrence time, direction of action and intensity. These findings contribute to providing references for soil erosion control on the TP and the formulation of future soil conservation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Ecological Effect of Ecological Engineering Projects on Low-Temperature Forest Cover in Great Khingan Mountain, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10625; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010625 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
The evaluation of ecological restoration projects can provide support for further strengthening the efforts of ecological restoration work and implementing the strategic objectives of the ecological region. Considering the current problem of the single evaluation index, this study evaluated the implementation effect of [...] Read more.
The evaluation of ecological restoration projects can provide support for further strengthening the efforts of ecological restoration work and implementing the strategic objectives of the ecological region. Considering the current problem of the single evaluation index, this study evaluated the implementation effect of ecological projects from different temporal and spatial dimensions. Based on the MODIS vegetation index time series data, this study first computed the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 15.3.1 of Great Khingan Mountain (GKM) to evaluate the impact of ecological engineering on land use change and land productivity. As a common indicator, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values showed a trend of a decrease and then gradual increase after the start of the Natural Forest Protection Project (NFPP) II, which was related to the land use changes from the forest to the grassland during the implementation of the NFPP. However, land productivity maintained a steady trend because of the transition between the forest and grassland. Meanwhile, to detect changes in vegetation at a smaller scale, the LandTrendr algorithm was used to identify the magnitude of forest disturbance, the years when it occurred, and the year of restoration. After implementing the ecological project, the forests in the GKM region were only partially disturbed, and most of the forests in most areas maintained a stable trend. Our study highlighted the varying effectiveness of different indexes for NFPP and evaluated the ecological impact of ecological projects from multiple perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Simulation and Analysis of Urban Production–Living–Ecological Space Evolution Based on a Macro–Micro Joint Decision Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189832 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
The precise simulation of urban space evolution and grasping of the leading factors are the most important basis for urban space planning. However, the simulation ability of current models is lacking when it comes to complicated/unpredictable urban space changes, resulting in flawed government [...] Read more.
The precise simulation of urban space evolution and grasping of the leading factors are the most important basis for urban space planning. However, the simulation ability of current models is lacking when it comes to complicated/unpredictable urban space changes, resulting in flawed government decision-making and wasting of urban resources. In this study, a macro–micro joint decision model was proposed to improve the ability of urban space evolution simulation. The simulation objects were unified into production, living and ecological space to realize “multiple planning in one”. For validation of the proposed model and method, remote sensing images, geographic information and socio-economic data of Xuzhou, China from 2000 to 2020 were collected and tested. The results showed that the simulation precision of the cellular automata (CA) model was about 87% (Kappa coefficient), which improved to 89% if using a CA and multi-agent system (MAS) joint model. The simulation precision could be better than 92% using the prosed model. The result of factor weight determination indicated that the micro factors affected the evolution of production and living space more than the macro factors, while the macro factors had more influence on the evolution of ecological space than the micro factors. Therefore, active policies should be formulated to strengthen the ideological guidance towards micro individuals (e.g., a resident, farmer, or entrepreneur), and avoid disordered development of living and production space. In addition, ecological space planning should closely link with the local environment and natural conditions, to improve urban ecological carrying capacity and realize urban sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
The Adjustment of China’s Grain Planting Structure Reduced the Consumption of Cropland and Water Resources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147352 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Driven by technological progress and market demand, the optimization and adjustment of grain planting structure played an important role in increasing grain output. Due to the great difference between the yield per unit area of different types of food crops, the consumption of [...] Read more.
Driven by technological progress and market demand, the optimization and adjustment of grain planting structure played an important role in increasing grain output. Due to the great difference between the yield per unit area of different types of food crops, the consumption of cropland and water resources has a significant change during the grain growth. From the perspective of structural adjustment, rather than the usual productive factor input, we analyze the process of adjustment for grain planting structure in China and its effect on the consumption of cropland and water resources by using the scenario comparative analysis method. The results show that: (1) From 2003 to 2019, China’s grain output has increased steadily and the planting structure has changed greatly. Rice was replaced by corn to become the grain crop with the maximum proportion of planting area since 2007. The increase of corn planting structure proportion is concentrated in the northern regions. (2) At the national level, according to the adjustment of grain planting structure, the saving of cropland and water resources consumption showed a “cumulative effect” as time went on. (3) The saving effects of structural adjustment in the northern regions on cropland and water resources consumption are better than that in the southern regions, such as Northeast China Plain, Northern arid and semiarid region and Loess Plateau. (4) In reality, although the adjustment of grain planting structure saved lots of cropland and water resources, the continuous growth of grain output has increased the pressure on the ecological environment in the northern regions according to theirs water limits. Therefore, it is necessary to continuously optimize the grain planting structure and restrict land reclamation in northern China. In addition, to ensure food security, it is feasible to encourage the southern regions with abundant water and heat resources to increase the grain planting area and meet its self-sufficiency in grain demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
The Impact of Urban Development Intensity on Ecological Carrying Capacity: A Case Study of Ecologically Fragile Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7094; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137094 - 02 Jul 2021
Viewed by 710
Abstract
In ecologically fragile areas, an uncontrolled increase in urban development intensity (UDI) will erode the ecological carrying capacity (ECC). This study aimed to explore the relationship between UDI and ECC and quantify the impacts of UDI on ECC. The Three Gorges Reservoir Area [...] Read more.
In ecologically fragile areas, an uncontrolled increase in urban development intensity (UDI) will erode the ecological carrying capacity (ECC). This study aimed to explore the relationship between UDI and ECC and quantify the impacts of UDI on ECC. The Three Gorges Reservoir Area (Chongqing section) was chosen for the case study. Firstly, the UDI and ECC were comprehensively evaluated. Then, the coupling coordination relationship between the two was analyzed by a coupling coordination degree model. Finally, the influences of UDI on the coordinated development of the two were analyzed by a geographically weighted regression model. The results show that the distributions of UDI and ECC are opposite; UDI and ECC are mutually restricted to some extent. UDI and ECC are moderately coupled and poorly coordinated, and a higher UDI is mostly correlated to a higher coordination degree of UDI and ECC. In areas with higher UDI, an appropriate control on population and economy may benefit the coordinated development. Meanwhile, in areas with lower UDI, the promotion of population aggregation and economic investment would enhance the coordinated development between UDI and ECC. This study could optimize the dimensional control of UDI, which contributes to the long-term sustainability of ecologically fragile areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Distribution and Influencing Factors of Ecosystem Vulnerability on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126508 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 765
Abstract
As the “Third Pole”, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is threatened by environmental changes. Ecosystem vulnerability refers to the sensitivity and resilience of ecosystems to external disturbances. However, there is a lack of relevant studies on the driving factors of ecosystem vulnerability. Therefore, based on [...] Read more.
As the “Third Pole”, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is threatened by environmental changes. Ecosystem vulnerability refers to the sensitivity and resilience of ecosystems to external disturbances. However, there is a lack of relevant studies on the driving factors of ecosystem vulnerability. Therefore, based on spatial principal components analysis and geographic detectors methods, this paper evaluates the ecosystem vulnerability and its driving factors on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from the years 2005 to 2015. The results were as follows: (1) The ecosystem vulnerability index (EVI) of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is mainly heavy and extreme, showing a gradually increasing trend from southeast to northwest. (2) The spatial heterogeneity of the EVI is significant in the southeast and northwest, but not in the southwest and central parts. (3) Analysis of influencing factors shows that environmental factors have more significant effects on EVI than socioeconomic variables, facilitating the proposal of adequate policy implications. More efforts should be devoted to ecological protection and restoration to prevent grassland degradation and desertification in the high-EVI areas in northwest. The government is also urged to improve the ecological compensation mechanisms and balance ecological protection and residents’ development needs in the southeast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Erosion on the Loess Plateau: A Case Study in the Ansai Watershed
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6266; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126266 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 891
Abstract
Large-scale vegetation restoration greatly changed the soil erosion environment in the Loess Plateau since the implementation of the “Grain for Green Project” (GGP) in 1999. Evaluating the effects of vegetation restoration on soil erosion is significant to local soil and water conservation and [...] Read more.
Large-scale vegetation restoration greatly changed the soil erosion environment in the Loess Plateau since the implementation of the “Grain for Green Project” (GGP) in 1999. Evaluating the effects of vegetation restoration on soil erosion is significant to local soil and water conservation and vegetation construction. Taking the Ansai Watershed as the case area, this study calculated the soil erosion modulus from 2000 to 2015 under the initial and current scenarios of vegetation restoration, using the Chinese Soil Loess Equation (CSLE), based on rainfall and soil data, remote sensing images and socio-economic data. The effect of vegetation restoration on soil erosion was evaluated by comparing the average annual soil erosion modulus under two scenarios among 16 years. The results showed: (1) vegetation restoration significantly changed the local land use, characterized by the conversion of farmland to grassland, arboreal land, and shrub land. From 2000 to 2015, the area of arboreal land, shrub land, and grassland increased from 19.46 km2, 19.43 km2, and 719.49 km2 to 99.26 km2, 75.97 km2, and 1084.24 km2; while the farmland area decreased from 547.90 km2 to 34.35 km2; (2) the average annual soil erosion modulus from 2000 to 2015 under the initial and current scenarios of vegetation restoration was 114.44 t/(hm²·a) and 78.42 t/(hm²·a), respectively, with an average annual reduction of 4.81 × 106 t of soil erosion amount thanks to the vegetation restoration; (3) the dominant soil erosion intensity changed from “severe and light erosion” to “moderate and light erosion”, vegetation restoration greatly improved the soil erosion environment in the study area; (4) areas with increased erosion and decreased erosion were alternately distributed, accounting for 48% and 52% of the total land area, and mainly distributed in the northwest and southeast of the watershed, respectively. Irrational land use changes in local areas (such as the conversion of farmland and grassland into construction land, etc.) and the ineffective implementation of vegetation restoration are the main reasons leading to the existence of areas with increased erosion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Control Models and Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Air Pollution in the Rapidly Developing Urban Agglomerations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116177 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4696
Abstract
This paper systematically summarizes the hierarchical cross-regional multi-directional linkage in terms of air pollution control models implemented in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, including the hierarchical linkage structure of national-urban agglomeration-city, the cross-regional linkage governance of multiple provinces and municipalities, the multi-directional linkage mechanism [...] Read more.
This paper systematically summarizes the hierarchical cross-regional multi-directional linkage in terms of air pollution control models implemented in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, including the hierarchical linkage structure of national-urban agglomeration-city, the cross-regional linkage governance of multiple provinces and municipalities, the multi-directional linkage mechanism mainly involving industry access, energy structure, green transportation, cross-regional assistance, monitoring and warning, consultation, and accountability. The concentration data of six air pollutants were used to analyze spatiotemporal characteristics. The concentrations of SO2, NO2, PM10, PM2.5, CO decreased, and the concentration of O3 increased from 2014 to 2017; the air pollution control has achieved good effect. The concentration of O3 was the highest in summer and lowest in winter, while those of other pollutants were the highest in winter and lowest in summer. The high pollution ranges of O3 diffused from south to north, and those of other pollutants decreased significantly from north to south. Finally, we suggest strengthening the traceability and process research of heavy pollution, increasing the traceability and process research of O3 pollution, promoting the joint legislation of different regions in urban agglomeration, create innovative pollution discharge supervision mechanisms, in order to provide significant reference for the joint prevention and control of air pollution in urban agglomerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Spatiotemporal Changes of Ecosystem Service Value Determined by National Land Space Pattern Change: A Case Study of Fengdu County in The Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 5007; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18095007 - 09 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Exploring the spatiotemporal change characteristics of ecosystem service value (ESV) under the influence of national land space pattern (NLSP) changes is of great significance for promoting the rational use of land resources and the optimization of ecosystems. In this study, Fengdu County in [...] Read more.
Exploring the spatiotemporal change characteristics of ecosystem service value (ESV) under the influence of national land space pattern (NLSP) changes is of great significance for promoting the rational use of land resources and the optimization of ecosystems. In this study, Fengdu County in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area was selected as a case study. We analyzed the changes in NLSP using land use data from 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018. Then, we used the equivalent factor method and exploratory spatial data analysis method to explore the spatiotemporal change characteristics of the ESV of Fengdu County. The results show that: (1) From 1990 to 2018, the changes in NLSP in Fengdu County generally manifested in the transformation of agricultural space into urban space and ecological space; (2) The spatiotemporal change of ESV is a process that positively responds to the increase in ecological space and negatively responds to the expansion of urban space. From 1990 to 2018, the total ESV of Fengdu County showed a trend of continuous growth, with a total increase of CNY 11.10 × 108, and the change rate was 9.33%. The ESV gain area is mainly located along the Yangtze River and the southernmost part of the county, and the loss area is mainly located near the south bank of the Yangtze River; (3) ESV and its changes in Fengdu County have a significant positive spatial autocorrelation. The cold and hot spots of ESV change are mainly distributed along the Yangtze River and to the south of the Yangtze River. Therefore, it is suggested to integrate ESV as an important indicator into the decision-making of national land space planning. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the intensive use of urban space and protect the important ecological space from decreasing. Our study results provide useful insights for the development of regional NLS management and environmental protection policies. However, it is worth noting that the results of this paper are more applicable to areas where the terrain is dominated by mountains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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Article
Identifying Ecological Corridors and Networks in Mountainous Areas
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094797 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 741
Abstract
Since the 1950s, human activities have been driving economic development and land changes, hindering the conservation of biological habitats and landscape connectivity. Constructing ecological networks is an effective means to avoid habitat destruction and fragmentation. Mountain areas are hotspots of biological habitats and [...] Read more.
Since the 1950s, human activities have been driving economic development and land changes, hindering the conservation of biological habitats and landscape connectivity. Constructing ecological networks is an effective means to avoid habitat destruction and fragmentation. Mountain areas are hotspots of biological habitats and biodiversity; however, the pace of urbanization in mountain areas is also accelerating. To protect an ecosystem more effectively, it is necessary to identify ecological corridors and ecological networks. Therefore, based on the Minimal Cumulative Resistance model and taking Chongqing in China as an example, the identification of potential ecological corridors and the construction of an ecological network in Chongqing were realized using the Linkage Mapper software. The results were as follows: (1) From 2005 to 2015, the patch area of cultivated land and grassland in Chongqing decreased by 0.08% and 1.46%, respectively, while that of built-up areas increased by 1.5%. The fragmentation degree of cultivated land was higher, and the internal connectivity of forestry areas was worse. (2) In total, 24 ecological sources were selected, and 87 potential ecological corridors and 35 ecological nodes were generated using the Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis and the Conefor2.6 software. The total length of the ecological network in Chongqing is 2524.34 km, with an average corridor length of 29.02 km. (3) The overall complexity and network efficiency are high, but the spatial distribution of ecological corridors is uneven, especially in the southwest of Chongqing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Changes and the Corresponding Ecological Risks)
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