Future simulation of land use changes in rapidly urbanizing South China based on land change modeler and remote sensing data

Sarah Hasan, Wenzhong Shi, Xiaolin Zhu, Sawaid Abbas, Hafiz Usman Ahmed Khan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Landscape transformations in rapidly urbanizing Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao (GHKM) regions of South China represent the most complex and dynamic processes altering the local ecology and environment. In this study, Land Change Modeler (LCM) is applied to land use land cover (LULC) maps for the years 2005, 2010, and 2017, derived from Landsat images, with the aim of understanding land use land cover change patterns during 2005-2017 and, further, to predict the future scenario of the years 2024 and 2031. Furthermore, the changes in spatial structural patterns are quantified and analyzed using selected landscape morphological metrics. The results show that the urban area has increased at an annual rate of 4.72% during 2005-2017 and will continue to rise from 10.31% (20,228.95 km2) in 2017 to 16.30% (31,994.55 km2) in 2031. This increase in urban area will encroach further into farmland and fishponds. However, forest cover will continue to increase from 45.02% (88,391.98 km2) in 2017 to 46.88% (92,049.62 km2) in 2031. This implies a decrease in the mean Euclidian nearest neighbor distance (ENN_MN) of forest patches (from 217.57 m to 206.46 m) and urban clusters (from 285.55 m to 245.06 m) during 2017-2031, indicating an accelerated landscape transformation if the current patterns of the change continues over the next decade. Thus, knowledge of the current and predicted LULC changes will help policy and decision makers to reconsider and develop new policies for the sustainable development and protection of natural resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4350
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Guangdong
  • Hong Kong
  • Land change modeler
  • Land use land cover
  • Landsat
  • Macao
  • Prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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