Analysis of Agricultural Land Use Change in the Middle Reach of the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China
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The Heihe River Basin (HRB) is the second largest inland river basin in arid Northwest China. The expanding agricultural irrigation, growing industrialization, and increasing urban development in the middle reach have depleted much of the river flow to the lower reach, degrading the corresponding ecosystems. Since the enactment of the State Council of China's new HRB water allocation policy in 2000 tremendous land use and land cover (LULC) changes have taken place to reduce water consumption in the middle reach and deliver more water downstream. This paper analyzes LULC changes during the period of 2000-2009 to understand how the changing land use patterns have altered water resource dynamics in the region. Results, while yet to be further verified in the field, show that from 2000 to 2009, urban, agricultural land, rangeland, and forest areas have increased, and barren area has decreased. Within the cropland, rice (a high water consumption crop) planting area decreased, while corn and wheat (relatively lower water consumption crops) planting areas increased. These changes in land use patterns, especially in the agricultural zones, have ensured the discharge of the required amount of water to the lower reach.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Copyright 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, author. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Environmental Impact Assessment