Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 1381-1400.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1902-4

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Spatio-temporal analysis of cropland change in the Guanzhong area, China, from 1650 to 2016

WEI Xueqiong1(), LI Yuanfang1, GUO Yu1, CHEN Tiexi1, LI Beibei2   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
    2. Research Institute for History of Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • Received:2020-09-30 Accepted:2021-03-17 Online:2021-09-25 Published:2021-09-16
  • About author:Wei Xueqiong, PhD, specialized in historical land cover reconstruction. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41807433);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41972193);Basic Research Program (Natural Science Foundation) of Jiangsu Province(BK20180804);Jiangsu Students’ Platform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program(201910300074Y)


As one of the most critical impact factors of global change, historical land-use change is an indispensable input in climate and environment simulations. To better understand the cropland change in the Guanzhong area, gazetteers, statistics, and survey data were collected as data sources. Methods of registered tax-paying cropland data collection, selection of time points, and data interpolation and calibration were used to reconstruct changes in the cropland area. The cropland area data at the county level were allocated to 1 km×1 km grid cells. The total cropland area in the Guanzhong area was influenced by changes in population, wars, natural disasters, and land-use types, and it fluctuated from 1650 to 2016. From 1780 to 1830, the cropland expanded in the northern and western parts of Guanzhong area, and the cropland in the north of Qinling Mountains increased slightly. The spatial pattern of cropland reached its maximum range in 1980, and the cropland area declined in the whole study area, especially in the cities of Xi’an and Xianyang in 2016. The comparison between HYDE 3.2 and the data obtained in this study showed that the grid cells of HYDE 3.2 exhibit lower values of cropland area fractions in the Guanzhong Basin and higher values in high-altitude areas around the Guanzhong Basin as compared to those in this study.

Key words: cropland change, reconstruction, Guanzhong area, past 300 years