Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2006, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (3): 286-292.doi: 10.1007/s11442-006-0304-y

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Regional disparity in the changes of agricultural land use intensity in China during 1980–2002

LIU Chengwu1,2, LI Xiubin1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    2. Department of Town Planning and Resources Sciences, Xianning College, Xianning 437005, China
  • Received:2006-03-26 Revised:2006-05-10 Online:2006-09-25 Published:2006-09-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571003; European Committee Item, No.ICA4-CT-2001-10085; Provincial Natural Foundation of Hubei, No.2005ABA008; Foundation of Hubei Provincial Education Department, No.D200528002


Based on the cost-benefit data (1980–2002) of farm products and China Agriculture Yearbooks, this paper studies the regional disparity in the changes of the agricultural land use in China during the period 1980–2002 from three aspects such as the degree of intensity, the sown area and the abandoned farmland. The results show that: (1) The degree of intensity of land use in the western region during 1980–2000 has a strong uptrend, but in the eastern and central regions the degree of intensity descends obviously and has shown a continuous downtrend since 1997. (2) The total sown area shrinks notably in the eastern region, while it enlarges constantly in the western region. (3) The sown area in the eastern, central and western regions has gone through a similar cyclic process: down (1980–1985)–up (1985–1991)–down (1991–1994)–up (1994–1999)–down (1999–2002). However, there are obvious differences in amplitude variation and tendency among them. The sown area has shrunk in the eastern region and expanded in the central and western regions especially before 1999. (4) The most cases of abandoned farmland are reported in the central region, the second in the eastern region and the least in the western region. The abandonment phenomena chiefly occurred during 1992–1995 in the eastern region, and during 1998–2002 in the central region.

Key words: China, agricultural land use, the degree of intensity, sown area, abandonment of farmland, regional disparity