Exploring changes in landscape ecological risk in the Yangtze River Economic Belt from a spatiotemporal perspective

Penglai Ran, Shougeng Hu, Amy E. Frazier, Shijin Qu, De Yu, Luyi Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Landscape ecological risk reflects the extent to which ecosystems are threatened by human activities and environmental changes and is increasingly seen as the basis for decision-making in regional ecosystem management. Although the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB) has experienced drastic land use changes affected by human activities, the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of ecological risk in the region has not been thoroughly investigated. This study develops and applies an ecological risk assessment framework that integrates landscape pattern characteristics and landscape vulnerability dynamics to analyze spatiotemporal variations in landscape ecological risk in the YREB from 2000 to 2018. The results show moderate risk levels across most of the YREB during the study period, but risk was notably higher in the western and northern regions. Due to the gradual improvement in regional policies and the implementation of ecosystem restoration projects, there is a clear trend of risk reduction, and the area previously designated as high or medium–high risk was reduced by more than 150,000 km2 over the study period. Approximately 45% of the study area, where the risks are more difficult to mitigate or maintain at lower levels, was identified as a key area for future risk management. Significant spatiotemporal differences in ecological risks underscore the necessity of implementing spatially differentiated risk management strategies and long-term dynamic monitoring. This study provides a reference for future land use optimization and sustainable landscape management in the YREB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108744
JournalEcological Indicators
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Land use change
  • Landscape pattern
  • Spatiotemporal pattern
  • Yangtze River Economic Belt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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