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The spatial distribution of land use potentials and their implication for land use change and landuse policies in Korea


From 09/2010

Principal Investigator: Soo Jin Park
Grant: IRTG 1565 WP IV TERRECO - Complex Terrain and Ecological Heterogeneity - Evaluating ecosystem services in production versus water yield and water quality in mountainous landscapes

Due to the high population density and mountainous terrain, demands for land resources are extremely high in Korea. Rapid economic development and urbanization processes during the past few decades have brought in many aversive impacts on land quality and its ecological functions. This study developed an algorithm to characterize land use potential at the national level, and compare the results with land use change patterns and current land use policies in Korea. The algorithm developed is based on the premise that there are distinctive landscape units over the landscape in which unique hydrological, geomorphological, and ecological processes occur. A semivariogram analysis was first used to characterize the spatial dependency of environmental factors, which resulted in a clear hierarchical structure of the following order; climate > vegetation > physiography > geology > landforms. A multi-scale hierarchical delineation procedure identified 42 different landscape units, and a numerical ranking method was applied to derive a land use potential index from the landscape units delineated. The comparison between the land use potential and land use changes during last thirty five years shows significant spatial and temporal trends; the high correlation coefficient with the proportion of agricultural lands is decreasing rapidly at the si-gun administrative level, while the correlation coefficient with the proportion of urban area is increasing. High land use potential areas are clustered at few locations with poor spatial connectivity among them. These results suggest that the spatial differentiation of land use policy with the increase of spatial connectivity is the best strategy to meet both the high demand on land resource and ecological sustainability in Korea. The implication of the findings for future land use patterns in the Haean study site are being considered.


last modified 2010-11-03