Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 351-362.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1602-5

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal differentiation of changes in maize phenology in China from 1981 to 2010

Yujie LIU1,3,*(), Ya QIN1,2, Quansheng GE1,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Surveying and Mapping Science and Technology, Xi'an University of Science and Technology, Xi'an 710054, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-01-15 Accepted:2018-07-12 Online:2019-03-25 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Yujie LIU
  • About author:

    Author: Zhu Guofeng (1983-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in hydrology and water resources.E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671037;Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS, No.2016049;Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS, No.QYZDB-SSW-DQC005;Program for “Kezhen” Excellent Talents in IGSNRR, CAS, No.2017RC101


Spatio-temporal changes in the differentiation characteristics of eight consecutive phenological periods and their corresponding lengths were quantitatively analyzed based on long-term phenological observation data from 114 agro-meteorological stations in four maize growing zones in China. Results showed that average air temperature and growing degree-days (GDD) during maize growing seasons showed an increasing trend from 1981 to 2010, while precipitation and sunshine duration showed a decreasing trend. Maize phenology has significantly changed under climate change: spring maize phenology was mainly advanced, especially in northwest and southwest maize zones, while summer and spring-summer maize phenology was delayed. The delay trend observed for summer maize in the northwest maize zone was more pronounced than in the Huang-Huai spring-summer maize zone. Variations in maize phenology changed the corresponding growth stages length: the vegetative growth period (days from sowing date to tasseling date) was generally shortened in spring, summer, and spring-summer maize, although to different degrees, while the reproductive growth period (days from tasseling date to mature date) showed an extension trend. The entire growth period (days from sowing date to mature date) of spring maize was extended, but the entire growth periods of summer and spring-summer maize were shortened.

Key words: maize, phenology, climate change, spatio-temporal differentiation, China