Skip to content


Correlations between Urbanization and Vegetation Degradation across the World’s Metropolises Using DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data

Changes in biodiversity owing to vegetation degradation resulting from widespread urbanization demands serious attention. However, the connection between vegetation degradation and urbanization appears to be complex and nonlinear, and deserves a series of long-term observations. On the basis of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the image’s digital number (DN) in nighttime stable light data (NTL), we delineated the spatiotemporal relations between urbanization and vegetation degradation of different metropolises by using a simplified NTL calibration method and Theil-Sen regression. The results showed clear and noticeable spatiotemporal differences. On spatial relations, rapidly urbanized cities were found to have a high probability of vegetation degradation, but in reality, not all of them experience sharp vegetation degradation. On temporal characteristics, the degradation degree was found to vary during different periods, which may depend on different stages of urbanization and climate history. These results verify that under the scenario of a OPEN ACCESS Remote Sens. 2015, 7 2068 vegetation restoration effort combined with increasing demand for a high-quality urban environment, the urbanization process will not necessarily result in vegetation degradation on a large scale. The positive effects of urban vegetation restoration should be emphasized since there has been an increase in demand for improved urban environmental quality. However, slight vegetation degradation is still observed when NDVI in an urbanized area is compared with NDVI in the outside buffer. It is worthwhile to pay attention to landscape sustainability and reduce the negative urbanization effects by urban landscape planning.

Data and Resources


Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Yanxu Liu, Yanglin Wang, Jain Peng, Yueyue Du, Xianfeng Liu, Shuangshuang Li, Donghai Zhang
Last Updated March 25, 2021, 16:34 (UTC)
Created December 7, 2020, 22:28 (UTC)
Stable Link
Date 2015-02-02
Publishing Body Remote Sensing
Content Type Publications
Primary Category Land Use & Land Cover
Sub Category Urbanization Process
Country Name Global