Analysis of land cover and landscape change patterns in Ebinur Lake Wetland National Nature Reserve, China from 1972 to 2013


For effective monitoring and protection, researchers need to analyze the trends and causes of landscape pattern change in wetlands. The present study used Geographic Information System and remote sensing technology to analyze temporal and spatial dynamics of landscape pattern and related driving forces in the Ebinur Lake Wetland National Nature Reserve (ELWNNR) in China. We used Landsat images from 1972, 1998, 2007 and 2013, and classified the landscape into six types of land cover: water body, wetland, vegetation, salinized land, desert, and other objects (i.e., Gobi and Mountain). Landscape transition matrices and change pattern analysis were used understand wetland dynamics. Our results showed that land cover had changed dramatically during 1972–2013. The spatial extent of much of the wetland areas in the ELWNNR had reduced gradually from 1972 to 2007, and wetland loss occurred more rapidly after 2007. From 1972 to 2013, 415.8 km2 of wetland area had been lost and only 250.1 km2 wetland area had expanded, which represents a 22% decrease in wetland area in the ELWNNR. At the same time, the landscape pattern experienced diverse changes in the Nature Reserve. The high-density human population of the region has an intensive effect on the region. Wetlands in the nature reserve have also changed with recent rapid development in the region. This study may provide scientific information for developing effective and sustainable conservation plans for the ELWNNR.

Publication Title

Wetlands Ecology and Management