Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (12): 1689-1706.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1353-5

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reconstructing the historical spatial land use pattern for Jiangsu Province in mid-Qing Dynasty

Xiaobin JIN1,2(), Qian PAN1, Xuhong YANG1, Qing BAI2, Yinkang ZHOU1,2   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Natural Resources Research Center of Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2016-03-31 Accepted:2016-04-30 Online:2016-12-20 Published:2016-12-20
  • About author:

    Author: Jin Xiaobin (1974-), specialized in land use and land planning. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671082


This study is proposed to reconstruct a high-resolution spatial distribution of historical land use pattern with all land use types to overcome low-accuracy and/or the monotonic land use type in current historical land use reconstruction studies. The year of 1820 is set as the temporal section and the administrative area of Jiangsu Province is the study area. Land use types being reconstructed include farmland, residential land (including both urban land and rural residential land), water body, and other land (including forest land, grassland, and unused land). Data sources mainly refer to historical documents, historical geographic research outcomes, contemporary statistics, and natural environmental data. With great considerations over regional natural resources and social and economic conditions, a few theoretical assumptions have been proposed to facilitate the adjustment on prefecture farmland, urban land, and rural residential land. Upholding the idea that the contemporary land use pattern has been inherently in sequence with the historical land use pattern as well as the land use pattern shall be consistent to its accessibility, this study reconstructs the land use pattern in Jiangsu Province in 1820 with 100 m*100 m grids based on accessibility analysis and comprehensive evaluation. The outcome has been tested as valid by regionalization and correlation analysis. The resulted spatial distribution shows that back in 1820 in Jiangsu Province: (1) farmland, urban land, rural residential land, water body, and other land take about 48.49%, 4.46%, 0.16%, 15.03%, and 31.86% of the total land area respectively; (2) the land use pattern features high proportion of land in farming while low-proportion land in non-farming uses while population, topography, and the density of water body lead to great spatial variations; and (3) the reconstruction methodology has been tested as reasonable based on significant positive correlations between 1820 data and 1985 for both farmland and rural residential land at the prefecture level.

Key words: land use, grid, reconstruction, mid-Qing Dynasty, Jiangsu Province