Assessing the impact of urbanization on regional net primary productivity in Jiangyin County, China
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Urbanization is one of the most important aspects of global change. The process of urbanization has a significant impact on the terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle. The Yangtze Delta region has one of the highest rates of urbanization in China. In this study, carried out in Jiangyin County as a representative region within the Yangtze Delta, land use and land cover changes were estimated using Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery. With these satellite data and the BEPS process model (Boreal Ecosystem Productivity Simulator), the impacts of urbanization on regional net primary productivity (NPP) and annual net primary production were assessed for 1991 and 2002. Landsat-based land cover maps in 1991 and 2002 showed that urban development encroached large areas of cropland and forest. Expansion of residential areas and reduction of vegetated areas were the major forms of land transformation in Jiangyin County during this period. Mean NPP of the total area decreased from 818 to 699 gCm(-2)yr(-1) during the period of 1991 to 2002. NPP of cropland was only reduced by 2.7% while forest NPP was reduced by 9.3%. Regional annual primary production decreased from 808 GgC in 1991 to 691 GgC in 2002, a reduction of 14.5%. Land cover changes reduced regional NPP directly, and the increasing intensity and frequency of human-induced disturbance in the urbanized areas could be the main reason for the decrease in forest NPP.
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