Tropical and subtropical forests provide important ecosystem goods and services including carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. These forests are facing increasing socioeconomic pressures and are rapidly being degraded and fragmented. This analysis focuses on the rate of change and patterns of fragmentation in a collective forest area in Zhejiang province, China, during the time period 1988–2005. The research consisted of two parts. The first was the development of general land cover maps and the identification of land cover changes by interpreting Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) time series imagery. The second part involved the computation and analysis of forest fragmentation metrics. For this portion of the study, fragmentation statistics were analyzed, and images were developed to depict forest fragmentation patterns and trends. Results revealed that there was a net loss of 7.8% in forest coverage, dropping from 66.8% in 1988 to 59.0% in 2005, primarily caused by agricultural expansion and poor forest management practices. An acceleration of forest fragmentation was also witnessed during the time intervals, which was evidenced by a decreasing trend in interior forest (57.2% in 1988, 55.0% in 1996 and 54.8% in 2005 respectively) coupled with the scales of the selected geospatial metrics. Continued forest loss and fragmentation are closely correlated with the existing political, educational, institutional and economic processes of contemporary China. To unlock the developmental potentials of the collective forests and to effectively mitigate the rate of forest loss and fragmentation, reforms of forest tenure and ecological immigration practices are recognized as a prospective alternative. The produced fragmentation maps further illustrates the importance of assessing landscape change history, especially the spatiotemporal patterns of forest fragments, when developing landscape level plans for biodiversity conservation, land use management and ecologically sustainable forestry.
|Title||Characterizing fragmentation of the collective forests in southern China from multitemporal Landsat imagery: A case study from Kecheng district of Zhejiang province|
|Authors||M. Li, Z. Zhu, James E. Vogelmann, D. Xu, W. Wen, A. Liu|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Applied Geography|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center|