Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (2): 287-305.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1597-y

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effect of terrain factors on rice production: A case study in Hunan Province

Chenzhi WANG1,2(), Zhao ZHANG1,2,*(), Jing ZHANG1,2, Fulu TAO3, Yi CHEN3, Hu DING4   

  1. 1. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resources Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment of Ministry of Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2018-03-20 Accepted:2018-05-10 Online:2019-02-25 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Zhao ZHANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Chenzhi, Master Candidate, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Creative Research Groups of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41621061;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571493, No.31561143003


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the most important staple crop of China, and its production is related to both natural condition and human activities. It is fundamental to comprehensively assess the influence of terrain conditions on rice production to ensure a steady increase in rice production. Although many studies have focused on the impact of one or several specific factors on crop production, few studies have investigated the direct influence of terrain conditions on rice production. Therefore, we selected Hunan Province, one of the major rice-producing areas in China, which exhibits complex terrain conditions, as our study area. Based on remote sensing data and statistical data, we applied spatial statistical analysis to explore the effects of terrain factors on rice production in terms of the following three aspects: the spatial patterns of paddy fields, the rice production process and the final yield. We found that 1) terrain has a significant impact on the spatial distribution of paddy fields at both the regional scale and the county scale; 2) terrain controls the distribution of temperature, sunlight and soil, and these three environmental factors consequently directly impact rice growth; 3) compared with the patterns of paddy fields and the rice production process, the influences of terrain factors on the rice yield are not as evident, with the exception of elevation; and 4) the spatial distribution of paddy fields mismatched that of production resources due to terrain factors. Our results strongly suggest that managers should scientifically guide farmers to choose suitable varieties and planting systems and allocate rice production resources in the northern plain regions to ensure food security.

Key words: rice production, terrain factor, spatial distribution, rice phenology