The impact of land use and land cover changes on land surface temperature in a karst area of China

Satellite images have been used extensively to study temporal changes in land use and land cover (LULC) in China. However, few studies have been conducted in the karst areas despite the large area and population involved and the fragile ecosystem. In this study, LULC changes were examined in part of Guizhou Province of southern China from 1991 to 2001 based on Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images of November 7, 1991, December 5, 1994, and December 19, 2001. Land surface temperature (LST) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were computed based on LULC types. The results show that agricultural land decreased, while urban areas expanded dramatically, and forest land increased slightly. Barren land increased from 1991 to 1994, and then decreased from 1994 to 2001. These changes in LULC widened the temperature difference between the urban and the rural areas. The change in LST was mainly associated with changes in construction materials in the urban area and in vegetation abundance both in the urban and rural areas. Vegetation had a dual function in the temperatures of different LULC types. While it could ease the warming trend in the urban or built-up areas, it helped to keep other lands warmer in the cold weather. The study also reveals that due to the government’s efforts on reforestation, rural ecosystems in some of the study area were being restored. The time required for the karst ecosystem to recover was shorter than previously thought.

Suggested citation or credit:

Honglin Xiao, Qihao Weng. “The impact of land use and land cover changes on land surface temperature in a karst area of China.” Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 85, Issue 1, October 2007, Pages 245-25.

Source: Journal of Environmental Management

Publication Date: July 2006

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