Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (7): 1068-1079.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201507004

• Ecology and Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Human activity intensity of land surface: Concept, method and application in China

Yong XU1(), Xiaoyi SUN1,2, Qing TANG1()   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100039, China
  • Received:2014-07-17 Revised:2014-11-24 Online:2015-07-20 Published:2015-07-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171449;Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZZD-EW-06


Human activity intensity is a synthesis index for describing the effect and influence of land surface. This paper presents the concepts of human activity intensity and construction land equivalent, builds an algorithm model for human activity intensity, and establishes a method for converting different land use/land cover types into construction land equivalent as well. An application in China based on the land use data from 1984 to 2008 is also included. The results are shown as follows: (1) Human activity intensity is defined as the degree of land use, transformation and exploitation by human beings. It is an effective way to determine the construction land equivalent coefficient of different land use/land cover types by taking construction land equivalent as a basic unit and identifying the alteration of land surface natural properties caused by human activities. The application in China and correlation analysis with population density indicated that it is feasible to take the ratio of the construction land equivalent area to the total area as an indicator of human activity intensity. (2) We adopted a two-level method of eight attribute labels to construct general standard of converting different land use types into construction land equivalent, and establish a method for calculating the coefficient of construction land equivalent. We also built a coefficient table for constructing land equivalent of 49 land use types based on the latest land use classification system. (3) The human activity intensity in China increased from 7.63% in 1984 to 8.54% in 2008. It could be generally divided into five levels: very high, high, medium, low and very low, according to the human activity intensity at county level in 2008, which is rated by over 27%, 16%-27%, 10%-16%, 6%-10% and below 6%. The human activity intensity in China was spatially split into eastern and western parts by the line of Helan Mountain-Longmen Mountain-Jinghong; the eastern part was characterized by the levels of very high, high and medium, while the western part was featured by the low and very low levels.

Key words: human activity intensity, land surface, construction land equivalent, land use/land cover types, China