Characteristics of Land Cover Change in Headwaters of the Yangtze River over the Past 30 Years

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received date: 2013-05-20

  Revised date: 2013-08-19

  Online published: 2014-01-05


The water conservation service of headwaters of the Yangtze River is very important for ecological security in China. It is generally acknowledged that the source of the Yangtze River includes the Tuotuohe headwater, Dangqu headwater and Chumaerhe headwater. Based on the land cover dataset of middle and late 1970s, early 1990s, 2004 and 2008, this paper analyzed temporal and spatial change characteristics of land cover and ecological condition in headwaters of the Yangtze River over the past 30 years, using the method of direction and extent of land cover change, land cover condition index and land cover change index. The results showed that grassland was the main land cover type in this region in 2008, with a ratio of 66.93% in area. The glaciers were mainly distributed in Tuotuohe headwater, while the marshland was mainly distributed in Dangqu headwater. The change rate of land cover condition index during 1970s-1990s, 1990s-2004 and 2004-2008 was -0.15, -0.24 and 0.01, respectively; while the land cover change index of three periods was -0.20, -0.66 and 0.08, respectively. The land cover and ecological condition of the study area had overall experienced a process of degenerated—obviously degenerated—slightly meliorated since 1970s. The mean annual temperature and precipitation from 2004 to 2008 was 0.57℃ and 17.63mm higher than that from 1970s to 2004. Regional climate change over recent years was helpful for natural ecosystem recovery. In addition, implementation of the ecological protection and construction project since 2004 also had certain positive effects on vegetation restoration.

Cite this article

WU Dan, SHAO Quanqin . Characteristics of Land Cover Change in Headwaters of the Yangtze River over the Past 30 Years[J]. Journal of Geo-information Science, 2014 , 16(1) : 61 -69 . DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1047.2014.00061


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