Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (2): 179-196.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1722-y

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Exploring global food security pattern from the perspective of spatio-temporal evolution

CAI Jianming1,2,3, MA Enpu1,2,3, LIN Jing1,*(), LIAO Liuwen1,2,3, HAN Yan1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Analysis and Modelling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. School of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-08-02 Accepted:2019-10-30 Online:2020-02-25 Published:2020-02-21
  • Contact: LIN Jing
  • About author:Cai Jianming (1961-), Professor, specialized in urban and rural sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.71734001)


Food security is the primary prerequisite for achieving other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Given that the MDG of “halving the proportion of hungers by 2015” was not realized as scheduled, it will be more pressing and challenging to reach the goal of zero hunger by 2030. So there is high urgency to find the pattern and mechanism of global food security from the perspective of spatio-temporal evolution. In this paper, based on the analysis of database by using a multi-index evaluation method and radar map area model, the global food security level for 172 countries from 2000 to 2014 were assessed; and then spatial autocorrelation analysis was conducted to depict the spatial patterns and changing characteristics of global food security; then, multi-nonlinear regression methods were employed to identify the factors affecting the food security patterns. The results show: 1) The global food security pattern can be summarized as “high-high aggregation, low-low aggregation”. The most secure countries are mainly distributed in Western Europe, North America, Oceania and parts of East Asia. The least secure countries are mainly distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and West Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia. 2) Europe and sub-Saharan Africa are hot and cold spots of the global food security pattern respectively, while in non-aggregation areas, Haiti, North Korea, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have long-historical food insecurity problems. 3) The pattern of global food security is generally stable, but the internal fluctuations in the extremely insecure groups were significant. The countries with the highest food insecurity are also the countries with the most fluctuated levels of food security. 4) The annual average temperature, per capita GDP, proportion of people accessible to clean water, political stability and non-violence levels are the main factors influencing the global food security pattern. Research shows that the status of global food security has improved since the year 2000, yet there are still many challenges such as unstable global food security and acute regional food security issues. It will be difficult to understand these differences from a single factor, especially the annual average temperature and annual precipitation. The abnormal performance of the above factors indicates that appropriate natural conditions alone do not absolutely guarantee food security,while the levels of agricultural development, the purchasing power of residents, regional accessibility, as well as political and economic stability have more direct influence.

Key words: food security assessment, spatial pattern, changing characteristics, multi-nonlinear regression, influencing factors