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How to prioritize protected areas: A novel perspective using multidimensional land use characteristics

Rao, Yongheng, Zhang, Jianjun, Wang, Ke, Wu, Xia
Land use policy 2019 v.83 pp. 1-12
conservation areas, ecology, land policy, land use change, roads, sustainable development
Mappings of land use priority can be used to balance the ecology and economy to achieve sustainable development. This paper, taking the city of Wu’an as a study area, focuses on the land itself to establish prioritized protected areas. The land use change law over the entire study area, the importance of the ecological land, and the results of an ecological interference analysis of the road networks are all indicators presented by the land itself that constitute a basic framework for the delineation of protected areas. Via a cumulative analysis of these factors, the core patches of the protected areas can be obtained. These areas are further combined with the regional human activity distance to create a buffer zone, and finally, the prioritized protected areas are mapped based on the land use. The results show that the core patches have good integrity and that there is more ecological land and less land for construction in the established protected areas. This may reduce conflicts when land is used in different ways. Following this idea when we formulate the land use policy, it is possible to replace multiple indicators with land-based factors to reduce or even avoid the mutual interference of various indicators.