Human-induced land use/cover change (LUCC) forms an important component of global environmental change. Therefore, it is important to study land use/cover and its change at local, regional and global scales. In this paper we conducted the study of land use change in Northeast China, one of the most important agricultural zones of the nation. From 1986 to 2000, according to the study results obtained from Landsat images, widespread changes in land use/cover took place in the study area. Grassland, marsh, water body and woodland decreased by 9864, 3973, 1367 and 10,052km2, respectively. By comparison, paddy field, dry farmland, and built-up land expanded by 7339, 17193 and 700km2, respectively. Those changes bore an interactive relationship with the environment, especially climate change. On the one hand, climate warming created a potential environment for grassland and marsh to be changed to farmland as more crops could thrive in the warmer climate, and for dry farmland to paddy field. On the other hand, the changed surface cover modified the local climate. Those changes, in turn, have adversely influenced the local environment by accelerating land degradation. In terms of socio-economic driving forces, population augment, regional economic development, and national and provincial policies were confirmed as main driving factors for land use change.