Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 327–339 | Cite as

Source-sink landscape spatial characteristics and effect on non-point source pollution in a small catchment of the Three Gorge Reservoir Region

  • Jin-liang Wang
  • Jiu-pai Ni
  • Cheng-long Chen
  • De-ti Xie
  • Jing-an Shao
  • Fang-xin Chen
  • Ping Lei


The source and sink landscape patterns refer to landscape types or units that can either promote positive evolvement of non-point source (NPS) pollution process, or can prevent/defer the ecological process, respectively. Therefore, the role of a catchment landscape pattern in nutrient losses can be identified based on the spatial arrangement of source and sink landscapes. To reveal the relations between landscape spatial characteristics and NPS pollution in small catchment, a case study was carried out in a Wangjiagou small catchment of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (TGRR), China. Google earth imagery for 2015 were processed and used to differentiate source and sink landscape types, and six subcatchments were selected as sample regions for monitoring nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients. Relative elevation, slope gradient and relative flow length was used to construct the Lorenz curves of different source and sink landscape types in the catchment, in order to assess the source and sink landscape spatial characteristics. By calculating the location-weighted landscape indices of each subcatchment and total catchment, the landscape spatial load characteristics affecting the NPS pollution was identified, with a further Pearson correlation analysis for location-weighted landscape indices and nitrogen-phosphorus monitoring indicators. The analysis of Lorenz curve has revealed that the obtained distribution trend of Lorenz curve and curve area quantified well the spatial characteristics of source and sink landscape pattern related to the relative elevation, slope gradient and relative flow length in small catchment. Results of Pearson correction analysis indicated that location-weighted landscape index (LWLI) combining of terrain and landscape type factor did better in reflecting the status of nitrogen and phosphorus loss than the indices related to relative elevation, slope gradient and relative flow length.


Source-sink landscape Non-point source pollution Nutrient loss Lorenz curve Landscape index Small catchment 


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The research reported in this manuscript is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41671291).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and EnvironmentSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.School of Geography and TourismChongqing Normal UniversityChongqingChina

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