Title: Changes in spatiotemporal land use patterns in selected hydrogeomorphic areas of China and the USA Authors
Submitted to: International Journal of Geosciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2013
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Citation: Quan, B., Romkens, M.J., Bingner, R.L., Momm, H., Wilcox, D.L. 2013. Changes in spatiotemporal land use patterns in selected hydrogeomorphic areas of China and the USA. International Journal of Geosciences. 4(3):537-548. Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of the changes in the spatiotemporal land use pattern of a land area is of great importance in assessing the regional and global impact on the environment and ecology. Ever since China opened up to the world, it has undergone revolutionary changes in agriculture and industry in which millions of people have moved from the countryside of the interior to the industrialized areas and cities along the coast and to the cities in the interior which offered more economic opportunities. We have seem similar changes in the USA, where a significant reduction in the population has taken place on the mainland in the central part of the USA as one travels from North Dakota to Texas. The difference with China is that the scale of change in China has been more intense and widespread. With these changes in the population density, land use changes have also taken place where agricultural land is converted to industrial land and suburban areas (China) or land holdings are enlarged through machine use (USA). This paper has used a dynamic degree concept that measures these changes. While the changes in China cover a much larger area and are more intense, in the USA these changes manifest themselves in land use changes involving different crops. The study was undertaken to see whether this methodology developed in China might have usefulness for applications in the USA.
Technical Abstract: Differences exist in land use/cover pattern and its change between the P. R. China and the USA. In order to describe those differences, land use changes in representative regions were quantitatively analyzed and compared. Xiamen City, Changzhutan region and Liupan Mountains regions were selected to represent three different hydrogeomorphic areas of eastern, central, and western China, respectively, while the Goodwin Creek Experimental Watershed (GCEW) located in the north-central part of Mississippi in the bluff hills just east of the Mississippi River floodplain was chosen in the USA. By integrating historical Landsat TM imagery and geographical information system data, the spatiotemporal land use dynamics and conversion of land use in China and the USA between 1980 and 2010 were explored and compared. Results indicated an urban sprawl in eastern and central China, which encroached upon large amount of cropland, forest land and grassland. On the other hand, western China reclaimed cropland from grassland, forest land, which led to severe soil erosion between 1990 and 2000. Goodwin Creek Watershed of the USA converted 73.3% of the lost cropland into forest land, pasture and idle land, which accounted for about 90% in 2010. Further, counter-urbanization occurs in the GCEW due to favorable eco-environment for living. Compared with the land dynamic degree of the GCEW, eastern China is greater than it; western China is smaller than it while central China is almost equal to it. And the land use intensity index of GCEW is smaller than that of China all these years. Eastern China advocated ecological civilization in 2007 to meet the serious challenges of sustainable development. Western China started the Return of Land from Farming to Forestry and Grassland Project in 2000. The Changzhutan region in central China is served as the resource-saving and environment-friendly community in 2007, which will be favorable for the sustainable land utilization and protection of ecology. From the eco-environmental view, China might use the experience of USA for future reference.