The dynamics of vegetation and implications for ecosystem services in the context of urbanisation: An example from Huangyan-Taizhou, China

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Suili Xiao - (Author)
  • Till Fügener - (Author)
  • Wolfgang Wende - , Chair of Urban Development (Author)
  • Wentao Yan - (Author)
  • Hui Chen - (Author)
  • Ralf-Uwe Syrbe - (Author)
  • Bing Xue - (Author)


Urban sprawl and associated land use changes have been referred as primary drivers of environmental change. Yet it is unclear in detail how land use changes impact vegetative structures or ecosystem services and what the specific drivers of change are, especially in urban-rural interfaces in medium-sized Chinese cities. Our future contribution is intended to highlight the importance of urban-rural interfaces for sustainable land use and the development of ecosystem services. To this end, we mapped the dynamics of land cover and the condition of vegetation as well as ecosystem services based on remote sensing data for the period of 1992–2020, to quantify these changes in Huangyan district, Taizhou, China. The results show a dramatic increase in urban area over the 28-year timeframe, i.e. 265% growth in Huangyan district. This rise was particularly evident in the period of 2015–2020. The huge expansion in urban area came at the cost of arable land. To compensate the resulting loss of farmland, large-scale natural ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and wetlands were continuously transformed into arable (as well as urbanized) land. Despite the dramatic reduction in green space as a result of urbanisation, we found a slight increase in the overall mean NDVI value for Huangyan, mainly due to the improved condition and density of remaining forest area in the western countryside. Further, we evaluated the provision of ecosystem services (ESS) by adapting an existing assessment methodology elaborated by Burkhard et al. (2012). The results show that ESS supply continually fell in Huangyan since 1992, reflecting a reduction of green space. The highest ecosystem capacity is seen in recreation and biodiversity due to the large proportion of forested area. Our findings serve as an important basis for further investigations in the region of Huangyan by framing the general issue of green space dynamics and highlighting specific developments of ecosystem distribution and change as well as ESS supply.


Original languageEnglish
Article number106614
JournalEcological Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85126901022