Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (2): 281-296.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1728-5

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Traditional agroecosystem transition in mountainous area of Three Gorges Reservoir Area

LIANG Xinyuan1, LI Yangbing1,2,*(), SHAO Jing’an1,2, RAN Caihong1   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Tourism, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 401331, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Surface Process and Environment Remote Sensing in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, Chongqing 401331, China
  • Received:2019-03-04 Accepted:2019-04-28 Online:2020-02-25 Published:2020-02-21
  • Contact: LI Yangbing
  • About author:Liang Xinyuan (1996-), Master, specialized in land use change and integrated physical geography. E-mail: liang_xiny
  • Supported by:
    Key Basic Science and Cutting Edge Technology Research Plan of Chongqing(No.cstc2015jcyjB0439);Chongqing University Innovation Team for 2016(No.CXTDX201601017);National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41661020);Chongqing Research Program of Basic Research and Frontier Technology(No.cstc2018jcyjAX0539)


The Three Gorges Reservoir Area (TGRA) is typical of an ecologically vulnerable area, comprised of rural and mountainous areas, and with high immigration. Because of its economic and ecologic importance, studying the traditional agroecosystem changes in the TGRA is key to rural development and revitalization. In this study, we apply a framework of theoretical analysis, empirical study, and trend prediction to the Caotangxi River watershed within the TGRA. Using QuickBird high-resolution remote sensing images from 2012 to 2017 to evaluate natural resources and farmers’ behavior, we analyze the transition and trends in the traditional agroecosystem in mountainous areas of the TGRA at spatial scale of the man-land relationship. We find that the agroecosystem in the TGRA can be divided into four modes using 100 m interval buffer rings: high-low-low, high-low-high, low-high-low and low-low-high mode where the different modes represent the agricultural development stages in the TGRA. Furthermore, the traditional agroecosystem in TGRA, represented by system elements such as farmers and sloping farmland, is transforming to accommodate the diversification of farmer livelihoods. For example, sloping farmland, which was dominated by a production function, now has equal emphasis on ecological and economic functions. Spatially, the range of the agroecosystem transition has migrated beyond high mountain areas to flat valley areas. Generally, this study provides an overview of land use in rural areas, controls on soil and water loss in mountainous areas, and better rural living environments in the TGRA.

Key words: Three Gorges Reservoir Area, ecologically fragile area, mountainous area, traditional agroecosystem transition, empirical study, spatial scale