Sui, LC; Kang, JM; Yang, XM; Wang, ZH; Wang, J (2020). Inconsistency distribution patterns of different remote sensing land-cover data from the perspective of ecological zoning. OPEN GEOSCIENCES, 12(1), 324-341.

Analyzing consistency of different land-cover data is significant to reasonably select land-cover data for regional development and resource survey. Existing consistency analysis of different datasets mainly focused on the phenomena of spatial consistency regional distribution or accuracy comparison to provide guidelines for choosing the land-cover data. However, few studies focused on the hidden inconsistency distribution rules of different datasets, which can provide guidelines not only for users to properly choose them but also for producers to improve their mapping strategies. Here, we zoned the Sindh province of Pakistan by the Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World as a case to analyze the inconsistency patterns of the following three datasets: GlobeLand30, FROM-GLC, and regional land cover (RLC). We found that the inconsistency of the three datasets was relatively low in areas having a dominant type and also showing homogeneity characteristics in remote sensing images. For example, cropland of the three datasets in the ecological zoning of Northwestern thorn scrub forests showed high consistency. In contrast, the inconsistency was high in areas with strong heterogeneity. For example, in the southeast of the Thar desert ecological zone where cropland, grassland, shrubland, and bareland were interleaved and the surface cover complexity was relatively high, the inconsistency of the three datasets was relatively high. We also found that definitions of some types in different classification systems are different, which also increased the inconsistency. For example, the definitions of grassland and bareland in GlobeLand30 and RLC were different, which seriously affects the consistency of these datasets. Hence, producers can use the existing landcover products as reference in ecological zones with dominant types and strong homogeneity. It is necessary to pay more attention on ecological zoning with complex land types and strong heterogeneity. An effective way is standardizing the definitions of complex land types, such as forest, shrubland, and grassland in these areas.