Landscape and Ecological Engineering

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Quantifying spatiotemporal patterns concerning land change in Changsha, China

  • Bin Quan
  • Hongge Ren
  • Robert Gilmore PontiusJr.
  • Peilin Liu
Original Paper


Changsha has undergone speedy socio-economic development, rapid modification of industrial structure, and acceleration of urbanization, which has influenced land cover change during the most recent three decades. Policies have aimed to conserve total agricultural area, but it is not clear how successful these policies have been. Our purpose is to characterize and interpret spatiotemporal patterns of land change with respect to the policy to maintain agricultural area in Changsha, China. Maps at 1990, 2000, and 2010 show four land categories: Built, Forest, Crop and Other. We compute change components and apply Intensity Analysis to compare the land changes during two time intervals: 1990–2000 and 2000–2010. We also compare the central region to the peripheral region during 1990–2010. The maps show that Changsha’s land change accelerated from 1990–2000 to 2000–2010. Change was more intensive in the central region than in the peripheral region. Crop and Forest experienced net decreases while Built experienced net increase during both time intervals and in both regions. Built’s gain targeted Crop and avoided Forest during both time intervals and in both regions. The central region’s largest change component is quantity change, due to Built’s net gain. The peripheral region’s largest change component is exchange, due to simultaneous transitions from Forest to Crop and from Crop to Forest. According to these data, policies have not maintained the quantity of Crop, as the peripheral region has not gained Crop sufficiently to compensate for Crop’s loss from the central region.


Change components Intensity Analysis Urbanization Socio-economic development Land cover Agricultural area 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant 41271167), the Key Project of Hunan Provincial Department of Education of China (grant 17A067) and the Recruitment Program of High-end Foreign Experts of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China (grant GWD201543000243). The Talent Introduction Project of Hengyang Normal University also supported this work via grant 17D03. The US National Science Foundation supported this work through the Long-Term Ecological Research Network via grant OCE-1637630. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funders. Clark Labs facilitated this work by creating the software TerrSet. Anonymous reviewers supplied constructive feedback that helped to improve this paper. The research complies with the laws of the country in which the authors performed the research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of City and Tourism and HIST Hengyang Base of UNESCOHengyang Normal UniversityHengyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Resource, Environment and Safety EngineeringHunan University of Science and TechnologyXiangtanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of GeographyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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