Assessing the Ecological Quality of Nanjing during Its Urbanization Process by Using Satellite, Meteorological, and Socioeconomic Data


  • Assessing the ecological status of different districts within a city undergoing urbanization is challenging given their complex surface types and fast pace of development. In this study, we utilized satellite data obtained from Landsat 5/TM (Thematic Mapper) and Landsat 8/OLI (Operational Land Imager) images in conjunction with meteorological and socioeconomic data to construct a remote sensing ecological index (RSEI) for monitoring the ecological quality of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. A higher RSEI value corresponded to better ecological quality. Five ratings were associated with RSEI values of city districts: very poor, poor, average, good, and excellent. In Nanjing, the percentage of areas evidencing good RSEI ratings decreased from 55.9% in 2000 to 48.0% in 2018, whereas there was a slight increase in areas with very poor RSEI ratings during this period. Of the 11 city districts, 16.8%, 21.8%, and 61.4% respectively evidenced the increasing, decreasing, and stable ecological quality relative to their quality in 2000. Of the 11 administrative districts in Nanjing, the main urban districts evidenced increased RSEI values in 2018 compared with those in 2000, with the improved areas exceeding the ones that had deteriorated in these districts. However, the ecological quality of new urban and ed because of the urban expansion, with areas that had deteriorated exceeding the improved ones. Of the three protected ecological zones, the quality of Zijin Mountain National Forest Park was considerably better than that of Laoshan and Jiangxinzhou. Overall, the urbanization rate and RSEI evidenced a high negative correlation coefficient value (−0.76). The urbanization process of Nanjing induced a declining trend for the ecological quality, indicating the need of strong protection measures for the maintenance or improvement of its ecological environment.
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