Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (5): 515-530.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1283-2

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Land use transitions and their dynamic mechanism: The case of the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain

Yongqiang LIU1(), Hualou *LONG2()   

  1. 1. Faculty of Architectural, Civil Engineering and Environment, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, Zhejiang, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2016-01-08 Accepted:2016-02-15 Online:2016-05-25 Published:2016-05-25
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Yongqiang (1982-), PhD and Lecturer, specialized in land use transition and environmental effects. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Long Hualou (1971-), PhD and Professor, specialized in rural restructuring, urban-rural development and land use transition. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171149, No.41130748;The National Key Technology R&D Program of China, No.2014BAL01B05;Non-profit Industry Financial Program of Ministry of Land and Resources of China, No.201511004-3


Land use transition refers to changes in land use morphology, including dominant morphology and recessive morphology, of a particular region over a period of time driven by various factors. Recently, issues related to land use transition in China have attracted interest among a wide variety of researchers as well as government officials. This paper examines the patterns of land use transition and their dynamic mechanism in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain during 2000-2010. First, the spatio-temporal patterns of land use transition, their characteristics and the laws governing them were analyzed. Second, based on the established conceptual framework for analyzing the dynamic mechanism of land use transition, a spatial econometric regression analysis method was used to analyze the dynamic mechanism of the five types of major land use transition in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain at the county level. Land use pattern changes in the study area were characterized by an increase in construction land, water body and forested land, along with a decrease in farmland, unused land and grassland. The changes during 2000-2005 were much more significant than those during 2005-2010. In terms of factors affecting land use transitions, natural factors form the basis, and they have long-term effects. Socio-economic factors such as population and GDP, however, tend to determine the direction, structure, size and layout of land use transition over shorter time periods. Land law and policy factors play a mandatory guiding and restraining role in land use transitions, so as to improve the overall efficiency of land use. Land resource engineering is also an important tool to control land use transitions. In general, the five types of major land use transition were the result of the combined action of various physical, social and economic factors, of which traffic condition and location condition had the most significant effects, i.e. they were the common factors in all land use transitions. Understanding the spatio-temporal process of land use transitions and their dynamic mechanisms is an important foundation for utilizing land resources, protecting regional ecological environment and promoting sustainable regional socio-economic development.

Key words: land use transition, dynamic mechanism, farming area, Huang-Huai-Hai Plain