Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 759-777.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1503-z

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Farmland function evolution in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain: Processes, patterns and mechanisms

Yingnan ZHANG1,2,3(), Hualou LONG1,3,4,*(), Li MA1,2,3, Dazhuan GE1,2,3, Shuangshuang TU1,3,5, Yi QU1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Center for Assessment and Research on Targeted Poverty Alleviation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    5. Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Resources Use in Beibu Gulf, the Ministry of Education, Guangxi Teachers Education University, Nanning 530001, China
  • Received:2017-11-25 Accepted:2017-12-28 Online:2018-06-20 Published:2018-06-20
  • Contact: Hualou LONG;
  • About author:

    Author: Zhang Yingnan (1993-), PhD, specialized in urban-rural development and land use. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41731286


Using counties as the basic analysis unit, this study established an evaluation index system for farmland function (FF) from economic, social, and ecological perspectives. The method combining entropy weighting and multiple correlation coefficient weighting was adopted to determine the weights, and the FF indices were calculated for each county. Subsequently, the spatio-temporal characteristics of farmland function evolution (FFE) were analyzed and the coupled relationships between the sub-functions were explored based on a coupling coordination model. At the same time, the dynamic mechanism of FFE was quantitatively analyzed using a spatial econometric regression analysis method. The following major conclusions were drawn: (1) The farmland economic function generally exhibited a declining trend during 1990-2010, and it is essential to point out that it was stronger in underdeveloped and agriculture-dominated counties, while it continuously weakened in developed areas. Farmland social function decreased in 60.29% of the counties, whereas some counties, which were mostly located in north of Zhengzhou and west of Dezhou and Cangzhou, Yantai, and Weihai, clearly increased. A dramatic decline in farmland ecological function occurred around Beijing, Tianjin, and Jinan. Areas located in the northern part of Henan Province and the central part of Shandong Province saw an increase in ecological function. (2) There was a significant spatial difference in the coupling degree and coordination degree of the sub-functions, and the decoupling phenomenon highlighted this. The changes in social function and ecological function lagged behind economic function in developed areas, but these were highly coupled in some underdeveloped areas. (3) FFE in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain (HHHP) is resulted from the comprehensive effects of regional basic conditions and external driving factors. Furthermore, the transitions of population and industry under urbanization and industrialization played a decisive role in the evolution intensity and direction of farmland sub-systems, including the economy, society, and the ecology. According to the results mentioned above, promoting the transformation from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture should be regarded as an important engine driving sustainable development in the HHHP. Taking different regional characteristics of FFE into account, differentiated and diversified farmland use and management plans should be implemented from more developed urban areas to underdeveloped traditional agricultural areas.

Key words: land use transition, urbanization, spatio-temporal pattern, function index, coupling and coordination degree, coupling effect