Land use changes in mountainous regions were greatly enhanced as the rapid development of economy due to the expanded population in developing countries. Acting geographically as the basic unit of mountainous regions, valleys are the primary sites of economic activities. Therefore optimization of land use policy in valleys is of critical important to the sustainable development in mountainous regions. On the basis of land use data in 1995 and 2012, this study explored the changes of land use according to the assessment of varied topographic factors (i.e., altitude and slope) in typical valleys of the Beijing mountainous regions, China. Our results showed that the valley is an efficiently geographical unit to evaluate land use changes in mountainous regions. We also found that major land use changes in mountainous regions of Beijing from 1995 to 2012 were the dramatic losses of grassland to the cultivated and construction lands, while most of these changes took place at the altitude of 0–400m and the slope of 6–15°. Considering the ever increasing economic development in Beijing mountainous regions, the increases of the construction and cultivated lands are inevitable, however, the great changes at a steeper slope imply the need to tailor land use structure coming into line with topographic factors, and suggesting ecological barriers and water conservation must be exercised in the developments of these areas.
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Vol. 7 • No. 1