Mapping the fine-scale spatial pattern of artificial light pollution at night in urban environments from the perspective of bird habitats

Sci Total Environ. 2020 Feb 1;702:134725. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134725. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


The increase in artificial light at night (ALAN) is a global concern, while the pattern of ALAN pollution inside urban areas has not yet been fully explored. To fill this gap, we developed a novel method to map fine-scale ALAN pollution patterns in urban bird habitats using high spatial resolution ALAN satellite data. First, an ALAN pollution map was derived from JL1-3B satellite images. Then, the core habitat nodes (CHNs) representing the main habitats for urban birds to inhabit were identified from the land cover map, which was produced using Gaofen2 (GF2) data, and the high probability corridors (HPCs), indicating high connectivity paths, were derived from Circuitscape software. Finally, the ALAN patterns in the CHNs and HPCs were analysed, and the mismatch index was proposed to evaluate the trade-off between human activity ALAN demands and ALAN supply for the protection of urban birds. The results demonstrated that 115 woodland patches covering 4149.0 ha were selected as CHNs, and most of the CHNs were large urban parks or scenic spots located in the urban fringe. The 2923 modelled HPCs occupying 1179.2 ha were small remaining vegetation patches and vegetated corridors along the major transport arteries. The differences in the ALAN pollution patterns between CHNs and HPCs were mainly determined by the characteristics of the green space patches and the light source types. The polluted regions in the CHNs were clustered in a few regions that suffered from concentrated and intensive ALAN, while most of the CHNs remained unaffected. In contrast, the 727 HPCs were mainly polluted by street lighting was scattered and widely distributed, resulting a more varying influence to birds than that in the CHNs. Relating patterns of the ALAN to bird habitats and connectivity provides meaningful information for comprehensive planning to alleviate the disruptive effects of ALAN pollution.

Keywords: ALAN pollution; Circuitscape; Land cover; Nighttime light image; Urban ecology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds*
  • Cities
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollution*
  • Light*