Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (5): 606-618.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1395-3

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reconstruction of Lu-level cropland areas in the Northern Song Dynasty (AD976-1078)

Fanneng HE1,*(), Meijiao Li1,2(), Shicheng Li3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2016-11-01 Accepted:2016-12-10 Online:2017-05-10 Published:2017-05-10
  • About author:

    Author: He Fanneng, Professor, specialized in historical geography and environmental changes. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271227;The Special Program for Basic Work of the Ministry of Science and Technology, China, No.2014FY210900


Based on data on taxed-cropland area and on the number of households in historical documents, a probabilistic model of cropland distribution and a cropland area allocation model were designed and validated. Cropland areas for the years AD976, 997, 1066, and 1078 were estimated at the level of Lu (an administrative region of the Northern Song Dynasty). The results indicated that (1) the cropland area of the whole study region for AD976, 997, 1066, and 1078 was about 468.27 million mu (a Chinese unit of area, with1 mu=666.7m2), 495.53 million mu, 697.65 million mu, and 731.94 million mu, respectively. The fractional cropland area (FCA) increased from 10.7% to 16.8%, and the per capita cropland area decreased from 15.7 mu to 8.4 mu. (2) With regard to the cropland spatial pattern, the FCA of the southeast, north, and southwest regions of the Northern Song territory increased by 12.0%, 5.2%, and 1.2%, respectively. The FCA of some regions in the Yangtze River Plain increased to greater than 40%, and the FCA of the North China Plain increased to greater than 20%. However, the FCA of the southwest region (except for the Chengdu Plain) in the Northern Song territory was less than 6%. (3) There were 84.2% Lus whose absolute relative error was smaller than 20% in the mid Northern Song Dynasty. The validation results indicate that our models are reasonable and that the results of reconstruction are credible.

Key words: land use/cover change, cropland area, Lu-level reconstruction, spatial-temporal characteristics, Northern Song Dynasty