Spatial variations of terrain and their impacts on landscape patterns in the transition zone from mountains to plains—A case study of Qihe River Basin in the Taihang Mountains
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Terrain plays a key role in landscape pattern formation, particularly in the transition zones from mountains to plains. Exploring the relationships between terrain characteristics and landscape types in terrain-complex areas can help reveal the mechanisms underlying the relationships. In this study, Qihe River Basin, situated in the transition zone from the Taihang Mountains to the North-China Plain, was selected as a case study area. First, the spatial variations in the relief amplitudes (i.e., high-amplitude terrain undulations) were analyzed. Second, the effects of relief amplitudes on the landscape patterns were indepth investigated from the perspectives of both landscape types and landscape indices. Finally, a logistic regression model was employed to examine the relationships between the landscape patterns and the influencing factors (natural and human) at different relief amplitudes. The results show that with increasing relief amplitude, anthropogenic landscapes gradually give in to natural landscapes. Specifically, human factors normally dominate the gentle areas (e.g., flat areas) in influencing the distribution of landscape types, and natural factors normally dominate the highly-undulating areas (e.g., moderate relief areas). As for the intermediately undulating areas (i.e., medium relief amplitudes), a combined influence of natural and human factors result in the highest varieties of landscape types. The results also show that in micro-relief areas and small relief areas where natural factors and human factors are more or less equally active, landscape types are affected by a combination of natural and human factors. The combination leads to a high fragmentation and a high diversity of landscape patterns. It seems that appropriate human interferences in these areas can be conducive to enhancing landscape diversity and that inappropriate human interferences can aggravate the problems of landscape fragmentation.
KeywordsTransition zone Relief amplitude Mean turning-point analysis Landscape pattern Logistic regression analysis Taihang Mountains
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We sincerely thank Professor Feng Zhaodong for critically reviewing the manuscript and for careful English editing. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. This study was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2015CB452702), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41671090 & 41601091).
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