Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (3): 441-455.doi: 10.1007/s11769-017-0876-8

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Use of Intensity Analysis to Measure Land Use Changes from 1932 to 2005 in Zhenlai County, Northeast China

YANG Yuanyuan1,2, LIU Yansui1,2, XU Di3, ZHANG Shuwen4   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    3. Urban Development Research Institute, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China;
    4. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
  • Received:2016-02-23 Revised:2016-06-15 Online:2017-06-27 Published:2017-05-09
  • Contact: ZHANG Shuwen. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of National Youth Science Foundation of China (No. 41601173), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2016M600954)


Analyzing spatiotemporal dynamics of land use and land cover over time is widely recognized as important to better understand and provide solutions for social, economic, and environmental problems, especially in ecologically fragile region. In this paper, a case study was taken in Zhenlai County, which is a part of farming-pastoral ecotone of Northeast China. This study seeks to use multi-temporal satellite images and other data from various sources to analyze spatiotemporal changes from 1932 to 2005, and applied a quantitative methodology named intensity analysis in the time scale of decades at three levels: time interval, category, and transition. The findings of the case study are as follows: 1) the interval level of intensity analysis revealed that the annual rate of overall change was relatively fast in 1932-1954 and 1954-1976 time intervals. 2) The category level showed that arable land experienced less intensively gains and losses if the overall change was to have been distributed uniformly across the landscape while the gains and losses of forest land, grassland, water, settlement, wetland and other unused land were not consistent and stationary across the four time intervals. 3) The transition level illustrated that arable land expanded at the expense of grassland before 2000 while it gained intensively from wetland from 2000 to 2005. Settlement targets arable land and avoids grassland, water, wetland and other unused land. Besides, the loss of grassland was intensively targeted by arable land, forest land and wetland in the study period while the loss of wetland was targeted by water except for the time interval of 1976-2000. 4) During the early reclamation period, land use change of the study area was mainly affected by the policy, institutional and political factors, followed by the natural disasters.

Key words: intensity analysis, land use and land cover change, pattern, driving forces, Northeast China