Journal of Geo-information Science ›› 2020, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (7): 1424-1436.doi: 10.12082/dqxxkx.2020.200008

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Monitoring and Analyzing Ecosystem Impact on Hydropower Projects by Remote Sensing in the Belt and Road Region

GONG Wei2(), LI Li1,*(), LIU Qinhuo1,3, XIN Xiaozhou1, PENG Zhiqing1,3, WU Mingqun1, NIU Zheng1, TIAN Haifeng4   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Chongqing Institute of Surveying and Mapping, Ministry of Natural Resources of Peoples's Republic of China, Chongqing 401120, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    4. College of Environment and Planning of Henan University, Kaifeng 475000, China
  • Received:2020-01-02 Revised:2020-06-08 Online:2020-07-25 Published:2020-09-25
  • Contact: LI Li;
  • Supported by:
    The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA19030304);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771394)


China has advocated a green, low-carbon, recyclable, and sustainable lifestyle for the sustainable development of regions along the green "belt and road". Remote sensing plays an important role in monitoring and evaluating ecological environment. This study focuses on the ecological impacts of hydropower projects in the "belt and road" region supported by China. The ecological impacts of hydropower projects on reservior area, vegetation growth, and ecological resources are analyzed based on decision trees and buffer area analysis methods using Landsat and Sentinel-2 images. In our study, first, the DEM and satellite images are used to obtain reservoir area and storage capacity of each hydropower station. Then, through buffer area analysis, buffer area type and its distance to reservior area of each hydropower station are determined by the area of reservior area, the ratio of reservior area to the smallest circumscribed square, and the average width of reservior area. Decision trees of each buffer area are further built to classify water, forest, grassland, cultivated land, and other land use types based on NDWI and NDVI. The ecological footprint and changes of each land use type before and after the hydropower construction are also analyzed. The Fraction of Vegetation Coverage (FVC) is used to evaluate the status and changes of vegetation growth for each hydropower station. Results reveal that the ecological loss caused by hydropower projects has a positive correlation with the area of reservior area. Generally, the construction of hydropower station has small impact on land use types and vegetation growth of surrounding areas as the annual average variation of land use type and FVC are about 0.35% and 1.27%, respectively. However, there is a significant difference in the lost area of land use types and FVC between hydropower stations. FVC is improved in areas with low FVC after the construction of hydropower station. Furthermore, the hydropower project in areas with low vegetation coverage significantly promotes local ecological environment. During the construction, from design, building to later maintenance of hydropower stations, experts actively take environmental protection measures to reduce reservior area, protect biodiversity, and control ecological risks. Hydropower stations can provide high-quality clean energy and promote local economic and social development.

Key words: Belt and Road, hydropower project, ecological environment, ecological resources, vegetation growth status, fraction of vegetation coverage, land use types, remote sensing, monitoring