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DOI:

Received April 08, 2003,Revised May 10, 2003, Accepted , Available online

Volume 16,2004,Pages 490-496

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Littoral zone is a special land/ landscape type. As an important kind of land resource in support, the use of littoral zone is vital to eastern coastal areas in China. And the research on littoral zone relates to the key theory of landscape ecology. Based on the theory of landscape ecology, the littoral zone was divided into four types: mud flat, sand beach, bench, and biological flat. The distribution of each type in China is pointed out. As a typical open system, littoral zone has six landscape ecological characteristics: (1) high sensitivity to disturbance; (2) distinct edge effect; (3) spatial aggregation of natural resources; (4) frequently spatial oscillation; (5) obviously spatial heterogeneity; and (6) noticeably spatial differentiation. Some proposals are also put forward on the land use and development of littoral zone for environmental protection and environmental management.

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