Quantitatively assessing ecological stress of urbanization on natural ecosystems by using a landscape-adjacency index

Lin, Meixia; Lin, Tao; Jones, Laurence ORCID:; Liu, Xiaofang; Xing, Li; Sui, Jinling; Zhang, Junmao; Ye, Hong; Liu, Yuqin; Zhang, Guoqin; Lu, Xin. 2021 Quantitatively assessing ecological stress of urbanization on natural ecosystems by using a landscape-adjacency index [in special issue: Smart city development and remote sensing application in urban ecology] Remote Sensing, 13 (7), 1352. 16, pp.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
N530079JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (5MB) | Preview


Urban spatial expansion poses a threat to regional ecosystems and biodiversity directly through altering the size, shape, and interconnectivity of natural landscapes. Monitoring urban spatial expansion using traditional area-based metrics from remote sensing provides a feasible way to quantify this regional ecological stress. However, variation in landscape-adjacency relationships (i.e., the adjacency between individual landscape classes) caused by urban expansion is often overlooked. In this study, a novel edge-based index (landscape-adjacency index, LAdI) was proposed based on the spatial-adjacency relationship between landscape patches to measure the regional ecological stress of urban expansion on natural landscapes. Taking the entire Yangtze River Delta Urban Agglomerations (YRD) as a study area, we applied the LAdI for individual landscape classes (Vi) and landscape level (LV) to quantitatively assess change over time in the ecological stress of YRD from 1990 to 2015 at two spatial scales: municipal scale and 5 km-grid scale. The results showed that the vulnerable zones (LV ≥ 0.6) were mainly distributed in the north of the YRD, and cultivated land was the most vulnerable natural landscape (Vi ≥ 0.6) at the 5 km-grid scale. The most vulnerable landscape at the municipal scale was cultivated land in 19 of 26 cities in each period, and that in the remaining 7 cities varied at distinct urbanization stages. We used scatter diagrams and Pearson correlation analysis to compare the edge-based LAdI with an area-based index (percent of built-up area, PB) and found that: LV and PB had a significant positive correlation at both the municipal scale and 5 km-grid scale. But there were multiple LVs with different values corresponding to one PB with the same value at the 5 km-grid scale. Both indexes could represent the degree of urban expansion; however, the edge-based metric better quantified ecological stress under different urban-sprawl patterns sharing the same percent of built-up area. As changes in land use affect both the size and edge effect among landscape patches, the area-based PB and the edge-based LAdI should be applied together when assessing the ecological stress caused by urbanization.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2072-4292
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: landscape-adjacency degree, urban expansion, ecological stress, land use, Yangtze River Delta Urban Agglomerations
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 19 Apr 2021 10:54 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...