- Assessment of impacts of LCLUC on cultural heritage complex in past research was typically limited to each historical monument individually and/or just the immediate vicinity. This paper considers changes such as urbanization that altered rural-natural environments (including degradation of forest, green space, agricultural fields, mountains, rivers, etc.) in the overall landscape of the historical complex, because such heritage complex as whole was culturally developed to form a harmonious entirety in a natural-human coupled system.
- The assessment method used in the paper is founded on the concept of Outstanding Universal Values (OUV), which is defined and used by UNESCO for heritage site assessment. Thus, the method and results from this paper are directly relevant and immediately applicable to UNESCO.
- SPOT VHR images/data in 1995-2016, available via an agreement from the French to Vietnamese colleagues, were used to investigate LCLUC impacts on the Huế Complex (recognized by UNESCO and a World Heritage Site) built by the last dynasty in Vietnam (the Nguyễn Dynasty) including the Forbidden City, Temples, and many Kings’ Tombs in the complex.
- The results show that the Hue Complex are under threat as risks increased from 1995 to 2016 with a considerable correlation between urbanization intensity index and the risks to OUV, as the urbanization occurred at the cost of degradation of rural-natural environments. (See figure below).