Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (1): 3-14.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1250-y

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Spatial distribution of maize in response to climate change in northeast China during 1980-2010

Zhengguo LI1(), Jieyang TAN1,2, Pengqin TANG1, Hao CHEN1, Li ZHANG1, Han LIU2, Wenbin WU1, Huajun TANG1, Peng *YANG1(), Zhenhuan *LIU3()   

  1. 1. Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Agri-informatics, Ministry of Agriculture/Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Beijing 100081, China
    2. Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Regional Planning, Changsha 410125, China
    3. Sun Yat-sen University, School of Geography and Planning, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2015-05-20 Accepted:2015-07-28 Online:2016-01-25 Published:2016-01-25
  • About author:

    Author: Li Zhengguo, PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in remote sensing, climate change and food security. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Liu Zhenhuan, PhD, E-mail: .Peng Yang, PhD, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171328, No.41201184, No.41101170


Based on county-level crop statistics and other ancillary information, spatial distribution of maize in the major maize-growing areas (latitudes 39°-48°N) was modelled for the period 1980-2010 by using a cross-entropy-based spatial allocation model. Maize extended as far north as the northern part of the Lesser Khingan Mountains during the period, and the area sown to maize increased by about 5 million ha. More than half of the increase occurred before 2000, and more than 80% of it in the climate transitional zone, where the annual accumulated temperature (AAT) was 2800-3400 °C·d. Regions with AAT of 3800-4000 °C·d became more important, accounting for more than 25% of the increase after 2000. The expansion of maize was thus closely related to warming, although some variation in the distribution was noticed across zones in relation to the warming, indicating that maize in northeast China may have adapted successfully to the warming by adjusting its spatial distribution to match the changed climate.

Key words: climate warming, regional response, spatial pattern, Zea mays, China