CHINESE GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCE - Spatial and Temporal Changes of Arable Land Driven by Urbanization and Ecological Restoration in China


October 21, 2019 - Author: Liyan Wang, , Liyun Zhang, Yi Xiao, Yaqing Wang, Yang Xiao, & Zhiyun Ouyang

Chinese Geographical Science

DOI: 10.1007/s11769-018-0983-1

Since the industrial revolution, human activities have both expanded and intensified across the globe resulting in accelerated land use change. Land use change driven by China’s development has put pressure on the limited arable land resources, which has affected grain production. Competing land use interests are a potential threat to food security in China. Therefore, studying arable land use changes is critical for ensuring future food security and maintaining the sustainable development of arable land. Based on data from several major sources, we analyzed the spatio-temporal differences of arable land among different agricultural regions in China from 2000 to 2010 and identified the drivers of arable land expansion and loss. The results revealed that arable land decreased by 5.92 million ha or 3.31%. Arable land increased in the north and decreased in the south of China. Urbanization and ecological restoration programs were the main drivers of arable land loss, while the reclamation of other land cover types (e.g., forest, grassland, and wetland) was the primary source of the increased arable land. The majority of arable land expansion occurred in the Northwest, but the centroid for grain production moved to northeast, which indicated that new arable land was of poor quality and did not significantly contribute to the grain production capacity. When combined with the current ‘Red Line of Arable Land Policy’ (RAL) and ‘Ecological Redline Policy’ (EPR), this study can provide effective information for arable land policymaking and help guide the sustainable development of arable land. Keywords: arable land; spatio-temporal characteristic; agricultural regionalization; driver; China


Tags: center for systems integration and sustainability, department of fisheries and wildlife


Anna Herzberger

Anna Herzberger


Jianguo "Jack" Liu

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