Global analysis of land-use changes in karst areas and the implications for water resources

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Karst areas contain valuable groundwater resources and high biodiversity, but are particularly vulnerable to climate change and human impacts. Land-use change is the cause and consequence of global environmental change. The releases of the Climate Change Initiative-Land Cover (CCI-LC) and World Karst Aquifer Map (WOKAM) datasets have made it possible to explore global land-use changes in karst areas. This paper firstly analyses the global karst land-use distribution in 2020, as well as the land-use transition characteristics between 1992 and 2020. Then, two indicators, proportion of land-use change and dominant type of land-use change, are proposed to identify the spatial characteristics of land-use change in global karst areas. Finally, three examples of land-use change in karst areas are analyzed in detail. Land-use types and proportions of the global karst areas from large to small are as follows: forest (31.78%), bare area (27.58%), cropland (19.02%), grassland (10.87%), shrubland (7.21%), wetland (1.67%), ice and snow (1.16%) and urban (0.71%). The total area of global karst land-use change is 1.30 million km2, about 4.85% of global karst surface. The land-use change trend of global karst is dominated by afforestation, supplemented by scattered urbanization and agricultural reclamation. The tropical climate has a higher intensity of land-use change. Regions of agricultural reclamation are highly consistent with the population density. These results reflect the impact of human activities and climate change on land-use changes in global karst areas, and serve as a basis for further research and planning of land resource management.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1208
Number of pages12
JournalHydrogeology journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

External IDs

WOS 001014679100001
ORCID /0000-0003-0076-7079/work/145695579



  • Anthropogenic use, Global mapping, Karst, Land-use change, Satellite imagery