Landscape analysis of dynamic soil erosion in Subtropical China: A case study in Xingguo County, Jiangxi Province: A case study in Xingguo County, Jiangxi Province

K. Wang, H. J. Wang, Xueda Shi, David Weindorf, D. S. Yu, Ying Liang, D. M. Shi

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11 Scopus citations


As a case study on landscape pattern analysis of soil erosion change, Xingguo County in Jiangxi Province, China, was once one of the most severely eroded regions in Subtropical China. However, its soil erosion has been completely controlled in recent years. This county was historically full of forest as well as waterways that were well protected and soil erosion was seldom seen even by the mid-19th century. However, large areas of forest were destroyed after that period due to over-logging, which resulted in excessive erosion, bare hills, and mountains devoid of vegetation. Fortunately, soil erosion in Xingguo has been controlled gradually since 1982 after the county was appointed as 1 of the 8 Key National Level Erosion Control Regions. In this study, a raster (grid) soil erosion map was collected on the basis of soil erosion intensity maps from 1958, 1975, 1982 and 2000 with the aid of GIS software (ARC/INFO). Over 10 landscape indices were calculated using FRAGSTATS software for landscape pattern analysis. A set of free spatial statistics that address a fundamental problem in GIS, and soil erosion distribution patterns and their changes in the county were quantitatively analyzed at the landscape and class levels, respectively. Moreover, transformations of soil erosion types from 1958 to 1975, 1975 to 1982, and 1982 to 2000 were also calculated using the CROSSTAB module in IDRISI software. Results showed that at the landscape level, heterogeneity of soil erosion decreased. This was supported by decreasing tendencies of patch indices SHDI (Shannon'. s diversity index), SHEI (Shannon'. s evenness index), and IJI (Interspersion and juxtaposition index). This indicates that most of the severely eroded soil types were transformed into non-apparently eroded or slightly eroded types. Meanwhile, at the class level, a consistent pattern was found where the surface areas of non-apparently eroded or slightly eroded lands increased, and moderately, severely, very severely and extremely eroded lands deceased. In general, soil erosion in Xingguo County experienced three pronounced phases during the study periods: the exacerbation phase (1958-1975), the alleviation phase (1975-1982), and the overall alleviation phase (1982-2000). By the year 2000, 74.6% of total territory of this county was covered by land with no significant soil loss, indicating that severe soil erosion had been substantially controlled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Landscape indices
  • Landscape pattern
  • Soil erosion


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