Land use and land cover change and its impacts on dengue dynamics in China: A systematic review

P.J. Gao*, E. Pilot, C. Rehbock, M. Gontariuk, S. Doreleijers, L. Wang, T. Krafft, P. Martens, Q.Y. Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


BackgroundDengue is a prioritized public health concern in China. Because of the larger scale, more frequent and wider spatial distribution, the challenge for dengue prevention and control has increased in recent years. While land use and land cover (LULC) change was suggested to be associated with dengue, relevant research has been quite limited. The "Open Door" policy introduced in 1978 led to significant LULC change in China. This systematic review is the first to review the studies on the impacts of LULC change on dengue dynamics in China. This review aims at identifying the research evidence, research gaps and provide insights for future research.</p> MethodsA systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA protocol. The combinations of search terms on LULC, dengue and its vectors were searched in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Baidu Scholar. Research conducted on China published from 1978 to December 2019 and written in English or Chinese was selected for further screening. References listed in articles meeting the inclusion criteria were also reviewed and included if again inclusion criteria were met to minimize the probability of missing relevant research.</p> Results28 studies published between 1978 and 2017 were included for the full review. Guangdong Province and southern Taiwan were the major regional foci in the literature. The majority of the reviewed studies observed associations between LULC change factors and dengue incidence and distribution. Conflictive evidence was shown in the studies about the impacts of green space and blue space on dengue in China. Transportation infrastructure and urbanization were repeatedly suggested to be positively associated with dengue incidence and spread. The majority of the studies reviewed considered meteorological and sociodemographic factors when they analyzed the effects of LULC change on dengue. Primary and secondary remote sensing (RS) data were the primary source for LULC variables. In 21 of 28 studies, a geographic information system (GIS) was used to process data of environmental variables and dengue cases and to perform spatial analysis of dengue.</p> ConclusionsThe effects of LULC change on the dynamics of dengue in China varied in different periods and regions. The application of RS and GIS enriches the means and dimensions to explore the relations between LULC change and dengue. Further comprehensive regional research is necessary to assess the influence of LULC change on local dengue transmission to provide practical advice for dengue prevention and control.</p>Author summaryDengue is a major public health concern in China. The rapid development of urbanization along with climate change increases the challenge for dengue prevention and control. Previous research has mainly focused on the meteorological variables whereas land use and land cover (LULC) change received comparatively less attention. Our review identified that the regional research hotspots of dengue epidemics in China were Guangdong Province and southern Taiwan. Though inconsistent, most included studies somehow observed associations between at least one of the LULC change factors and dengue. A geographical information system (GIS) was widely used to perform spatial analysis in the selected literature. Its application provided a novel view to describe the relationships between environmental factors and the situation of dengue, which enabled scholars to explore more characteristics of dengue transmission. Meanwhile, the use of remote sensing (RS) enriched the means of environmental monitoring. However, there are research gaps in the area of dengue and LULC change, such as the less consideration of dengue vector study, the lack of interplays between factors, and the lack of considering interventions and policies. Furthermore, because of different research settings, results from these studies were difficult to compare. Thus, further comprehensive and comparable investigations are necessary to better understand the effects of LULC change on dengue in China. This review is the first to expound the studies on the associations between LULC change and dengue dynamics in China. It demonstrates the findings and methodologies and provided insights for future research.</p>
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009879
Number of pages21
JournalPlos Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021




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