PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (6): 811-822.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.06.008

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Landscape evolution characteristic index and application

Anqi ZHANG1,2(), Chang XIA3, Jian LIN1,*(), Jianqun CHU1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
    3. School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2017-03-13 Revised:2017-07-20 Online:2018-06-28 Published:2018-06-28
  • Contact: Jian LIN;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41371534


With the rapid urbanization, urban sprawl growth and the contraction of ecological space have become a common phenomenon in China. Ground surface hardening is the main characteristic in urban landscape expansion, which has become widely concerned. Landscape expansion index (LEI) has been an important tool to describe and quantify this process. However, in the period of new urbanization, with the adjustment and optimization of urban internal structure and the improvement of urban greening rate, the shrinkage and extinction of hardened ground landscape have been another important form of urban landscape evolution. It is urgent to find a new and effective method to describe the emerging features of urban development. Therefore, a new landscape index based on the neighborhood characteristics of patches—landscape evolution characteristic index (LECI), including landscape evolution pattern index (LEPI) and landscape evolution area index (LEAI)—is proposed to comprehensively analyze the dynamic features of the landscape pattern. Collaborative analysis can be implemented by this index to recognize the expansion and shrinkage of the hardened landscape patches during the landscape pattern evolution in two or more periods. This index also can overcome the difficulty of LEI in identifying the pattern of special shaped patches. The LECI was applied to study the urban landscape expansion of metropolitan development area in Wuhan City during 1990-2010, and compared with LEI based on minimum bounding box. The results indicate that (1) LEPI can accurately identify the three modes of urban expansion—the infilling type, the edge-expansion type, and the outlying type, as well as for the isolated type, the adjacent type, and the surrounded type of urban shrinkage, and LEAI can perfectly reflect patch expansion/shrinkage intensity and landscape expansion/shrinkage direction; (2) Patch shrinkage of the hardened ground landscapes in the study area is clearly intensified. The recognition of shrinkage modes of these patches through LEPI can reveal the spatial distribution of urban ecological restoration and contribute to the construction of urban green infrastructure and residential land remediation; (3) Based on the analysis of LECI in the study area during 1990-2010, it was found that the speed of urban landscape expansion has been slowed but still rapid, and the outlying type and edge-expansion type are the dominant modes of patch change. As the distance from the central city increases, the spatial distribution pattern of different evolution modes is clearly distinctive, which are infilling/surrounded type, edge-expansion/adjacent type, and outlying/isolated type.

Key words: landscape evolution characteristic index, hardened landscape evolution, neighborhood characteristic, dissolved patch of hardened ground, Wuhan metropolitan development area