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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-408
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Aug 2018

Research article | 24 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

The Potential of Integrating Landscape, Geochemical and Economical Indices to Analyze Watershed Ecological Environment

Huan Yu1,4, Bo Kong2, Zheng-Wei He1, Guangxing Wang3, and Qing Wang3 Huan Yu et al.
  • 1College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, 610059, Chengdu, China
  • 2Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 610041, Chengdu, China
  • 3Department of Geography and Environmental Resources, Southern Illinois University, 62901, Carbondale, USA
  • 4Key Laboratory of Geoscience Spatial Information Technology of Ministry of Land and Resources, Chengdu University of Technology, China

Abstract. A river watershed is a complicated ecosystem, and its spatial structure and temporal dynamics are driven by various natural factors such as soil properties and topographic features, human activities, and their interactions. Thus, characterizing the river watershed ecosystem and monitoring its dynamics is very challenging. In this study, we explored the characteristics of the ecosystem and environment of Yalong River watershed in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province of China by analyzing and modeling the relationships among economic indices, heavy metal elements and landscape metrics. Landsat 8 data were used to generate a land cover classification map and to derive landscape pattern indices. Governmental finance statistics yearbook data were referred to provide economic indices. Moreover, a total of 9 water samples were collected from the upstream to the downstream to obtain the values of heavy metal concentrations in the water body. Then, both correlation and regression analyses were applied to analyze and model the relationships among these indices. The results of this study showed that 1) The ecological status and process of this river watershed could be explained by analyzing the relationships among the economic indices, heavy metal elements and landscape pattern indices selected based on correlation analysis; 2) Compared with the economic indices, the accumulated economic indices were more significantly correlated with most of the heavy metal elements and should be applied for the integrated assessment of the watershed ecological environment; 3) Landscape pattern indices SHDI and IJI had strong correlations with the important economic indices Population and Population Density and could be used for the integrated assessment of the watershed characteristics; 4) Compared with land cover area, land cover area ratios were more sensitive to the variation of the economic indices. The dominated land cover types Forest and Grassland had strong relationships with the economic indices; and 5) Cu and Zn had significant correlations with the landscape pattern indices. This study implied that analyzing and modeling the relationships among the economic indices, heavy metal elements and landscape pattern indices can provide a powerful tool for characterizing the ecosystem of the river watershed and useful guidelines for the watershed management and sustainable development.

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Short summary
The main goals of this study are to: (a) analyze whether and how the relationships among these indices including landscape pattern, geochemistry and economy can be found, and (b) explore the potential of analyzing the ecological environment of a watershed based on a landscape, geochemistry and economy integrated view. The conclusions will play a fundamental role in establishing the synthetic models for management of watersheds.
The main goals of this study are to: (a) analyze whether and how the relationships among these...
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