Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2009, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (5): 545-556.doi: 10.1007/s11442-009-0545-7

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Structural change of agricultural land use intensity and its regional disparity in China

CHEN Yuqi1,2, LI Xiubin1, TIAN Yujun1,2, TAN Minghong1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2009-04-15 Revised:2009-06-18 Online:2009-10-25 Published:2010-10-23
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2006BAB15B02

Abstract:

Based on the data from the Cost-benefit Data of Farm Produce and the China Agricultural Yearbook, this paper divided the intensity of cultivated land use into labor intensity and capital intensity, and then analyzed their temporal and spatial change at both national and provincial levels between 1980 and 2006. The results showed that: (1) At the national level, labor intensity on food produce decreased from 398.5 day/ha in 1980 to 130.25 day/ha in 2006; and a continuous decrease with a steep decline between 1980 and 1986, a slower decline from 1987 to 1996, and another steep decline from 1997 to 2006. On the contrary, capital intensity shows an increasing trend since 1980. As to the internal composition of capital intensity, the proportion of seed, chemical fertilizer and pesticide input decreased from 90.36% to 73.44% and the proportion of machinery increased from 9.64% to 26.56%. The less emphasis on yield-increasing input and more emphasis on labor-saving input are the main reasons for a slow increase of yield per unit area after 1996. (2) At the provincial level, the developed areas have lower labor intensity and higher capital intensity. The less developed ones have higher labor intensity but lower capital intensity. From the viewpoint of the internal composition of capital intensity, labor-saving input accounts for more proportion in the developed areas than that of other areas. The main reason is that in these developed areas, labor input has become a constraint factor in food production as more and more labors engaged in off-farm work. Farmers increase the labor-saving input for higher labor productivity. However, in the less developed areas, the major constraint is the shortage of capital; food production is still depending on labor and yield-increasing inputs.

Key words: labor intensity, capital intensity, labor-saving input, yield-increasing input, China