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Multiscale analysis of patch and landscape characteristics of forest fragmentation in Liaoning Province, China

Lei Zhang, Gui Jin, Xiaojian Wei, Peng Xie, Gege Liu, Yanfang Liu
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.4 pp. 1175-1186
forest land, forests, habitat fragmentation, issues and policy, land use change, land use planning, landscapes, residential areas, rivers, roads, shrinkage, China
Measuring dynamic changes in forest fragmentation is essential for protecting natural resources as part of regional land use planning. We investigated spatiotemporal dynamics of patch and landscape characteristics of forest fragmentation in Liaoning, China, from 2000 to 2010 by multiscale analysis based on the neighbor rule and landscape metrics. Several policy recommendations were proposed to prevent widespread loss of regional forest land. From 2000 to 2010, the area of forest loss decreased; forest patches decreased in size, subdivided, and disappeared in Liaoning at the patch level. During the study period, the transformation of forest land in most eastern counties remained in the middle phase of land transformation, with shrinkage being the main process of forest fragmentation (accounting for approximately 61.59% of lost forest area in 2000–2005 and 51.33% in 2005–2010). In contrast, the transformation of forest land in most western counties was in the later phases, with subdivision and attrition being the main processes. The areas of the four fragmentation processes decreased with increasing elevation, slope, and distance from residential lands, rivers, and roads. In most southern counties of Liaoning, forest fragmentation intensified at the landscape level. From 2000 to 2005, forest landscape patches close to rivers became irregular, isolated, and divided. However, these fragmentation metrics were not significantly related to physical, socioeconomic, and other spatial factors at the landscape level during the entire study period. Differences observed across multiple scales and levels may be used to monitor ecological processes and protect natural resources in China.