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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2019, Vol. 29 Issue (5) : 643-657     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1619-9
Rural land engineering and poverty alleviation:Lessons from typical regions in China
LIU Yansui1,2(),WANG Yongsheng1,*()
1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Poverty is a key issue restricting rural sustainable development; concurrently, regional land degradation impedes agricultural development and rural revitalization. China faces severe land degradation and deepening rural poverty under the context of rapid urbanization. To address these challenges, sustainable land use is an important tool in our society’s economic development. Rural engineering, including rural land consolidation, reclamation, restoration, reallocation, improvement, and development, is the most direct and effective way to achieve rural sustainable poverty alleviation. This study clarifies the framework between land engineering and rural poverty alleviation, and introduces land engineering technologies, newly created land utilization practices, and the contributions to poverty alleviation in representative degraded land regions. Land engineering can increase land quantity, improve land quality, enhance land ecological function, and promote man-land system coupling. Further, it can erase rural poverty by increasing county revenue and households’ income, lead to industrial development, and improve living environment. Specifically, degraded sandy land, gully land, hollowed construction land, and barren hilly land are transformed into productive land by improving the land structure. Innovated land engineering technologies and sustainable land utilization modes can provide the basic theories and reference approaches for rural poverty alleviation. Identifying obstacles to effective land and corresponding engineering practices are crucial to regional land exploitation and development, improving quality of life and alleviating rural poverty.

Keywords rural land engineering      poverty alleviation      man-land system coupling      sustainable development      rural geography     
Fund:National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2017YFC0504701;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41801174
Corresponding Authors: WANG Yongsheng     E-mail:;
Issue Date: 19 April 2019
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LIU Yansui,WANG Yongsheng. Rural land engineering and poverty alleviation:Lessons from typical regions in China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 643-657.
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Figure 1  Framework of land engineering and model of the relationship with poverty alleviation
Types Practices Objectives
Land consolidation Sandy land comprehensive consolidation. Increase land quantity
Land development Filling gullies to create farmland.
Land improvement High-standard farmland construction. Improve land quality
Land reallocation Three Rights Separation.
Land restoration Polluted and damaged land restoration. Improve land eco-environment
Land reclamation Barren hilly land reclamation.
Table 1  Typical land engineering practices in China
Figure 2  Research framework of experimental station on optimization engineering of modern agriculture
Figure 3  Research framework for gully land consolidation and sustainable land use
Figure 4  Research framework for hollowed construction land consolidation engineering
Figure 5  Research framework for barren hilly land consolidation and county development
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