Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (12): 1551-1561.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0414

Special Issue: 生态遥感及应用

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Changes of aquatic plants in Donghu Lake of Wuhan based 1990-2020 Landsat images

JIANG Yan(), CHEN Xing-Fang, YANG Xu-Jie   

  1. Hubei Province Key Laboratory for Geographical Process Analysis & Simulation, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2021-11-15 Accepted:2022-04-21 Online:2022-12-20 Published:2023-01-13
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31300394)


Aims Since the dynamic distribution of aquatic plants can reflect the variation of water ecological environment, it is of great significance to fully understand the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of aquatic plants for better lake management and monitoring.

Methods On the basis of Landsat image data, this study calculated three vegetation indices, including normalized difference water index (NDWI), green veg index (Green), and macroalgae index (MAI), and constructed an aquatic plant extraction for the Donghu Lake of Wuhan using the decision tree classification method. With this method, we mapped the seasonal distribution of emergent/floating and submerged plants in the Donghu Lake in 2020, as well as their inter-annual variations during a 31-year period from 1990 to 2020.

Important findings Our results showed that the decision tree model is capable of determining the distribution of aquatic plants in the Donghu Lake accurately, with an overall accuracy of 82.29% and Kappa coefficient of 72.39%. The analysis of the seasonal variation of aquatic plants in the Donghu Lake reveal that the area of aquatic plants first increased and then decreased. In spite of being limited in February, the distribution area gradually expanded from April to August, and subsequently declined after October. The distribution and area of aquatic plants varies greatly, which can be divided into three stages regarding the long-term analysis. In the first stage (1990-1996), the area of emergent/floating plants decreased first and then increased, while that of submerged plants presented an increasing trend on a continued basis. In the second stage (1997-2015), the area of submerged plants and emergent/floating plants exhibited significant fluctuations from year to year. During this period, the area of aquatic plants reached a maximum of 2.61 km2, whereas the minimum of 0.49 km2. In the third stage (2016-2020), the aquatic plants in the Donghu Lake gradually recovered, leading to a 30% increase in the area of emergent/floating plants and a 18% increase in the area of submerged plants. Upon a study of the relationship between the area of aquatic plants, annual average temperature, and annual precipitation over the recent three decades, a conclusion can be drawn that annual average temperature and annual precipitation had little influence on the area of aquatic plants in the Donghu Lake. Instead, we found that environmental indicators, such as total phosphorus content, total nitrogen content, water depth, transparency, and turbidity, have significant spatial differences in the Donghu Lake, which are likely to affect the distribution of aquatic plants.

Key words: aquatic plant, remote sensing, water quality, Donghu Lake of Wuhan