The purpose of this study is to investigate the land use intensity and land use change type at the basin scale in the middle and lower reaches of the Hanjiang River Basin (in Hubei Province, China) by combining the Landsat TM images in 1995 and 2000 with the land use database (in scale 1:10,000) and relative data. In this study, the basic data is acquired from the interpretation of remote sensing (RS) images. The intensity of land use and the rate of change in double-directions of land use dynamics are calculated with the support of software ARC/INFO. The intensity of land use is indicated by the intensity coefficient of land use, and the transition of land use types is quantified as the rate of change in double-direction of land use types and also expressed as the transition matrix of land use types. The results are expressed in space by Geographic Information System (GIS) software. Results of this study show that (1) the intensity of land use is high in the study region, the intensity coefficients of land use in 1995 and 2000 are 260.025 and 290.526, respectively, and the intensity of development and utilization of land is trend to increscent;and (2) the rate of land use change in double directions in the whole study region is 0.52 with great spatial variation and the differentiation of land use types. In the differentiation of land use types, the unutilized land (with the rate to 4.391) is developed fast, the grassland (with 2.836) and water area (with 1.664) are disturbed severely, and these changes will influence the eco-environment in the Hanjiang River Basin and all the Yangtze Basin. The rates of the farmland and the woodland are 0.424 and 0.344, respectively, meaning that the fundamentals of regional human-environmental system are relative stable. With this study, we can conclude that (1) the patterns of land use are increasingly changing in the study region, the environmental impacts are escalated on this stage, and the further outcomes are destined to change the stability of the regional human-environmental system;and (2) the most useful method to study the present land use and its change is through the use of the RS/GIS with the land use database (in scale 1:10,000). ©2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.