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J Environ Manage. 2007 May;83(3):351-64. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Socio-economic driving forces of land-use change in Kunshan, the Yangtze River Delta economic area of China.

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Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Anwai, Beijing 100101, PR China.


This paper analyzes characteristics, major driving forces and alternative management measures of land-use change in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China. The study used remote sensing (RS) maps and socio-economic data. Based on RS-derived maps, two change matrices were constructed for detecting land-use change between 1987 and 1994, and between 1994 and 2000 through pixel-to-pixel comparisons. The outcomes indicated that paddy fields, dryland, and forested land moderately decreased by 8.2%, 29% and 2.6% from 1987 to 1994, and by 4.1%, 7.6% and 8% from 1994 to 2000, respectively. In contrast, the following increased greatly from 1987 to 1994: artificial ponds by 48%, urban settlements by 87.6%, rural settlements by 41.1%, and construction land by 511.8%. From 1994 to 2000, these land covers increased by 3.6%, 28.1%, 23.4% and 47.1%, respectively. For the whole area, fragmentation of land cover was very significant. In addition, socio-economic data were used to analyze major driving forces triggering land-use change through bivariate analysis. The results indicated that industrialization, urbanization, population growth, and China's economic reform measures are four major driving forces contributing to land-use change in Kunshan. Finally, we introduced some possible management measures such as urban growth boundary (UGB) and incentive-based policies. We pointed out that, given the rapidity of the observed changes, it is critical that additional studies be undertaken to evaluate these suggested policies, focusing on what their effects might be in this region, and how these might be implemented.

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