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J Environ Manage. 2012 Dec 30;113:447-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.09.011. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Effects of rapid urban sprawl on urban forest carbon stocks: integrating remotely sensed, GIS and forest inventory data.

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Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China.


Research on the effects of urban sprawl on carbon stocks within urban forests can help support policy for sustainable urban design. This is particularly important given climate change and environmental deterioration as a result of rapid urbanization. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effects of urban sprawl on dynamics of forest carbon stock and density in Xiamen, a typical city experiencing rapid urbanization in China. Forest resource inventory data collected from 32,898 patches in 4 years (1972, 1988, 1996 and 2006), together with remotely sensed data (from 1988, 1996 and 2006), were used to investigate vegetation carbon densities and stocks in Xiamen, China. We classified the forests into four groups: (1) forest patches connected to construction land; (2) forest patches connected to farmland; (3) forest patches connected to both construction land and farmland and (4) close forest patches. Carbon stocks and densities of four different types of forest patches during different urbanization periods in three zones (urban core, suburb and exurb) were compared to assess the impact of human disturbance on forest carbon. In the urban core, the carbon stock and carbon density in all four forest patch types declined over the study period. In the suburbs, different urbanization processes influenced forest carbon density and carbon stock in all four forest patch types. Urban sprawl negatively affected the surrounding forests. In the exurbs, the carbon stock and carbon density in all four forest patch types tended to increase over the study period. The results revealed that human disturbance played the dominant role in influencing the carbon stock and density of forest patches close to the locations of human activities. In forest patches far away from the locations of human activities, natural forest regrowth was the dominant factor affecting carbon stock and density.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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