LANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING - Dramatic mariculture expansion and associated driving factors in Southeastern China


July 16, 2021 - Author: Jing Wu, Tomas Marín Del Valle, Mary Ruckelshaus, Guojin He, Yongyong Fu, Jinsong Deng, Jianguo Liu, Wu Yang


Mariculture has a profound potential to meet the escalating demand for food. However, so far the understandings of spatiotemporal dynamics of mariculture and indicators of underlying mechanisms are altogether missing in the existing literature. Using high-resolution satellite images, here we provide a first ever detailed analysis to map the spatiotemporal dynamics and explore associated driving factors of mariculture expansion in Southeastern China. We find a 709% increase in total mariculture area between 2003 and 2016, with 836% increase of seaweed mariculture and 264% growth of animal mariculture, respectively. In addition, animal and seaweed mariculture went through different rates and timing of expansion. Animal mariculture area increased steadily in the two periods, exhibiting an annual growth rate of 8.2% (0.71 km2/year between 2003 and 2010) and 11.2% (1.54 km2/year between 2010 and 2016), respectively, while seaweed mariculture area experienced a rapid onset followed by a steep decline in the rate of expansion with an annual growth rate of 95.2% (28.82 km2/year between 2003 and 2010) and 1.5% (3.52 km2/year between 2010 and 2016), respectively. We find both seaweed and animal mariculture expand from the coastline out towards the ocean, surround the islands from the inside to the outside, infill the inner harbor dispersedly, and tend to aggregate away from human disturbance. Sustaining the provision of ecosystem services from coastal and marine ecosystems will require comprehensive monitoring and assessment, systematic spatial planning of mariculture and other uses, regulations of mariculture behaviors via environmental awareness education, scientific training of farm design, and management of feed and energy use in China and beyond.



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