Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 45-57.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1152-4

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Dynamic trends and driving forces of land use intensification of cultivated land in China

Guogang WANG1,2(), Yansui LIU2, Yurui LI2,*(), Yangfen CHEN1   

  1. 1. Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, CAAS, Beijing 100081, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2014-06-23 Accepted:2014-08-20 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: Yurui LI;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Guogang (1984-), PhD, specialized in land sciences, agricultural economics and rural development.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401203, No.41130748;Central Research Institutes of Basic Research and Public Service Special Operations, No.005201400127


The aim of this study is to establish several important factors representing land use intensification in cultivated land (denoted by CII), using a multi-dimensional approach to achieve realistic and practical cultivated land use policies in China. For this reason, the theoretical framework was first built to explain the changes of land use intensification in the cultivated land, and then the variables and index were further developed for the purpose of characterizing the dynamic trends and driving forces of the land use intensification in the cultivated land at the provincial level. The study results indicate that the extent of CII significantly increased during the period of 1996 to 2008, due to the extensive use of fertilizers, machinery and pesticide, increased labor and capital input, and intensified land use. Moreover, the principal component regression results show that the productivity of cultivated land, economic benefits of cultivated land, labor productivity, and land use conversion are the main factors affecting the village development. The first three factors play a positive role, while the last one has a negative effect on the land use intensification in the cultivated land. According to these results, the main policies for sustainable intensification in cultivated land are proposed. First, the sustainable pathways for intensification should be adopted to reduce the unsustainable uses of chemical fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, etc. Second, the conditions for agricultural production should be further improved to increase the cultivated land productivity. Third, it is very necessary and helpful for improving labor productivity and land use efficiency from the viewpoint of accelerated the cultivated land circulation. The last step is to positively affect the production activities of peasants by means of reforming the subsidy standards.

Key words: cultivated land, land use intensification, spatial pattern, factors, China