This paper analyzes the role of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in advancing human geography in China by focusing on five key research areas: land use, urban systems and urban agglomeration, economic globalization, climate change and social and cultural geographies. All NSFC-funded human geography programs related to these five topics from 1986 to 2017 comprise the sample for analysis, and the research topics, content, teams, and peer-reviewed journal publications supported by these programs are investigated. Specifically, this paper analyzes the NSFC’s promotion of the expansion of research topics in response to national developmental needs and the shifting frontiers of human geography research internationally, its enhancement of interdisciplinary research, and its contributions to the assembly of specialized research teams. The paper also reports important progress in Chinese human geography over the past 30 years through the institutional lens of the NSFC, revealing major characteristics and trends in the discipline. The paper concludes by calling for further collaboration between the research community and the NSFC for the development of a locally suitable and globally influential Chinese human geography.
The rapid progress of China’s industrialization has been manifested in space as the formation and evolution of a series of industrial bases. Employing data from the years 1985, 2001 and 2010, this paper carries out differentiation, screening, and categorization of industrial bases in China. It then analyses the evolutional characteristics of these industrial bases and explores different paths of growth according to their scale or types, and summarizes the general pattern for their formation and evolution. The results of this study indicate that China’s industrial bases as a whole have gone through three spatial stages since the founding of the PRC in 1949: decentralized development before reform and opening up in 1978, gradual concentration in eastern coastal regions during the early period of reform and opening up, and balanced and diversified development since the beginning of the 21st century. By 2010, China had a total of 251 industrial bases and had thereby established the overall spatial map of its industrialization. As industrial bases expand in scale, their industrial structures develop from homogenization to diversification, and then again from diversification to competitive optimization. Leading industries in the vast majority of industrial bases constantly evolve along the track of light industries, basic materials industries, and advanced manufacturing industries. Meanwhile, the key factors in their evolution and development transition from traditional factors of production like resources and labor to new ones like capital and information, but there are significant differences in terms of influencing factors and growth paths between large, medium, and small bases. Small industrial bases primarily rely on natural resources to maintain development through a single leading industry, medium industrial bases gradually become more comprehensive in their industrial compositions, and large industrial bases evolve in the direction of a combination of basic materials industries and equipment manufacturing industries.
Numerous domestic scholars have argued that a remote location is the major factor preventing the transformation and sustainable development of resource-exhausted cities. Research to date, however, has not presented relevant evidence to support this hypothesis or explained how to identify the concept of ‘remoteness’. Resource-exhausted cities designated by the State Council of China were examined in this study alongside the provincial capital cities that contain such entities and three regional central cities that are closely connected to this phenomenon: Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Spatial and temporal distances are used to calculate and evaluate the location remoteness degrees (LRDs) of resource-exhausted cities, in terms of both resource types and regions. The results indicate that resource-exhausted cities are indeed remote from the overall samples. Based on spatial distances, the LRDs are α1 = 1.36 (i.e., distance to provincial capital city) and β1 = 1.14 (i.e., distance to regional central city), but when based on temporal distances, α2 = 2.02 (i.e., distance to provincial capital city) and β2 = 1.44 (i.e., distance to regional central city). Clear differences are found in the LRDs between different regions and resource types, with those in western China and forest industrial cities the most obviously remote. Finally, the numbers of very remote resource-exhausted cities based on spatial and temporal distances (i.e., α > 1.5 ∩ β > 1.5) are 14 and 19, respectively, encompassing 17.9% and 24.4% of the total sampled. Similarly, 25 and 30 not remote resource-exhausted cities based on spatial and temporal distances (i.e., α ≤1.0 ∩ β ≤ 1.0) encompass 32.1% and 38.5% of the total, respectively. This study provided supporting information for the future development and policy making for resource-exhausted cities given different LRDs.
As two rising great powers, China and India have undergone similar development processes, but they also exhibit significant differences in development paths and patterns. The significant differences in political systems, economic systems, and developmental environment between the two countries have attracted great attention from scholars. This research focuses on the regional differences and spatial evolution processes in urbanization and urban systems between the two countries from a geographical perspective. Based on the demographic censuses of both countries and the urban population data from the United Nations, this paper systematically compared and analyzed the spatial characteristics of urbanization and urban systems in China and India using various methods including spatial analysis, parameter estimation, and nonparametric estimation. The results indicate that: (1) Since the 1990s, the regional differences in urbanization in China have transformed from south-north differences to coastal-inland differences, whereas the north-south differences in India have been stable. (2) In recent years, the correlation between population density and urbanization rate kept increasing in China, while such correlation has been decreasing in India. (3) The economic reform posed significantly different effects on the spatial evolution of the urban systems in the two countries. The economic reform changed the major driving force for urban development in China from geographical and historical factors to the spatial structure of the economic system. However, in India, the driving forces for urban development have always been geographical and historical factors, and the economic reform even decreased the effect of the spatial structure of the economic system on urban development.
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.
In this study, data measured from 1955-2016 were analysed to study the relationship between the water level and river channel geometry adjustment in the downstream of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) after the impoundment of the dam. The results highlight the following facts: (1) for the same flow, the low water level decreased, flood water level changed little, lowest water level increased, and highest water level decreased at the hydrological stations in the downstream of the dam; (2) the distribution of erosion and deposition along the river channel changed from “erosion at channels and deposition at bankfulls” to “erosion at both channels and bankfulls;” the ratio of low-water channel erosion to bankfull channel erosion was 95.5% from October 2002 to October 2015, with variations between different impoundment stages; (3) the low water level decrease slowed down during the channel erosion in the Upper Jingjiang reach and reaches upstream but sped up in the Lower Jingjiang reach and reaches downstream; measures should be taken to prevent the decrease in the channel water level; (4) erosion was the basis for channel dimension upscaling in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River; the low water level decrease was smaller than the thalweg decline; both channel water depth and width increased under the combined effects of channel and waterway regulations; and (5) the geometry of the channels above bankfulls did not significantly change; however, the comprehensive channel resistance increased under the combined effects of riverbed coarsening, beach vegetation, and human activities; as a result, the flood water level increased markedly and moderate flood to high water level phenomena occurred, which should be considered. The Three Gorges Reservoir effectively enhances the flood defense capacity of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River; however, the superposition effect of tributary floods cannot be ruled out.
Knowledge on urban land-use change and its driving forces has vital significance in the practice of urban planning and management. However, the characteristics of historical, long-term changes and their quantitative relationships with the urban environment are still poorly understood. Based on multi-source data, including remote sensing imageries, large-scale topographic maps, historical maps, multi-temporal city maps, and other urban thematic maps, high-quality spatial information on urban land use in the built-up area of Changchun has been extracted for 1898, 1932, 1954, 1976, 1990, 2002, and 2012 by means of geographic information systems and remote sensing. We found that the land-use structure and spatial configuration has undergone tremendous alterations according to urban function in the 100-year history of Changchun city. The built-up area of Changchun expanded from 2.26 km2 in 1898 to 328.12 km2 in 2012, increasing about 144 times over the past century. Historically, the development of Changchun can be categorized into three stages: the initial forming stage, the old industrial development stage, and the modern metropolis development stage. Commercial and industrial land expanded rapidly following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with an increase from 1.74 km2 in 1954 to 15.91 km2 in 2012, and from 16.45 km2 in 1954 to 107.05 km2 in 2012, respectively. Although there was substantial growth in residential land use (from 1.81 km2 in 1898 to 113.95 km2 in 2012), the area percentage of residential land decreased continuously (from 80.09% in 1898 to 34.73% in 2012). Moreover, it was noted that the spatial configuration and structural percentage for commercial, industrial, and residential lands and others had tremendous divergences at different stages. These divergences of land-use structure occurred between the stages and were associated with social regimes and the functional orientation of urban society across the 100 years of historical development. Socio-economics, population growth, and planning policies from specific stages, especially after 1949, had strong effects on the divergence of urban structure.
Over the past few decades, built-up land in China has increasingly expanded with rapid urbanization, industrialization and rural settlements construction. The expansions encroached upon a large amount of cropland, placing great challenges on national food security. Although the impacts of urban expansion on cropland have been intensively illustrated, few attentions have been paid to differentiating the effects of growing urban areas, rural settlements, and industrial/transportation land. To fill this gap and offer comprehensive implications on framing policies for cropland protection, this study investigates and compares the spatio-temporal patterns of cropland conversion to urban areas, rural settlements, and industrial/transportation land from 1987 to 2010, based on land use maps interpreted from remote sensing imagery. Five indicators were developed to analyze the impacts of built-up land expansion on cropland in China. We find that 42,822 km2 of cropland were converted into built-up land in China, accounting for 43.8% of total cropland loss during 1987-2010. Urban growth showed a greater impact on cropland loss than the expansion of rural settlements and the expansion of industrial/transportation land after 2000. The contribution of rural settlement expansion decreased; however, rural settlement saw the highest percentage of traditional cropland loss which is generally in high quality. The contribution of industrial/transportation land expansion increased dramatically and was mainly distributed in major food production regions. These changes were closely related to the economic restructuring, urban-rural transformation and government policies in China. Future cropland conservation should focus on not only finding a reasonable urbanization mode, but also solving the “hollowing village” problem and balancing the industrial transformations.
Aboveground biomass in grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has displayed an overall increasing trend during 2003-2016, which is profoundly influenced by climate change. However, the responses of different biomes show large discrepancies, in both size and magnitude. By applying partial least squares regression, we calculated the correlation between peak aboveground biomass and mean monthly temperature and monthly total precipitation in the preceding 12 months for three different grassland types (alpine steppe, alpine meadow, and temperate steppe) on the central and eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The results showed that mean temperature in most preceding months was positively correlated with peak aboveground biomass of alpine meadow and alpine steppe, while mean temperature in the preceding October and February to June was significantly negatively correlated with peak aboveground biomass of temperate steppe. Precipitation in all months had a promoting effect on biomass of alpine meadow, but its correlations with biomass of alpine steppe and temperate steppe were inconsistent. It is worth noting that, in a warmer, wetter climate, peak aboveground biomass of alpine meadow would increase more than that of alpine steppe, while that of temperate steppe would decrease significantly, providing support for the hypothesis of conservative growth strategies by vegetation in stressed ecosystems.
It is necessary for undergraduates majoring in geography to learn the history of geographic thought. Although there are different cultural and educational backgrounds between China and the West, teaching methods such as text teaching, students’ presentations and group learning are suitable for most of teachers and students even from different countries and regions. The blended method is helpful to popularize history of geographic thought and improve the level of teaching and learning. Owing to lack of the class on the history of geographic thought in countries like China, the authors try to explore a blended method for the first-year geography undergraduates and to assess the effects of this teaching based on some questionnaires. The students have different benefits and responses to this class. A special group consisting of one teacher and several undergraduates does the research and coauthors the paper through making questionnaire, interviewing and analyzing materials from 67 freshmen majoring in human geography and geography science (teacher-training) in China. For the undergraduates especially from the countries like China, it is well worth making the history of geographic thought become a necessary and interesting class.
From 1992 to 2015, ecological environment has been threatened by the changes of cropland around the world. In order to evaluate the impact of cropland changes on ecosystem, we calculated the response of terrestrial ecosystem service values (TESVs) variation to cropland conversion based on land-use data from European Space Agency (ESA). The results showed that cropland changes were responsible for an absolute loss of $166.82 billion, equivalent to 1.17% of global TESVs in 1992. Among the different regions, the impact of cropland changes on TESVs was significant in South America and Africa but not obvious in Oceania, Asia and Europe. Cropland expansion from tropical forest was the main reason for decreases in TESVs globally, especially in South America, Africa and Asia. The effect of wetland converted to cropland was notable in North America and Europe while grassland converted to cropland played an important role in Oceania, Africa and Asia. In Europe, the force of urban expansion cannot be ignored as well. The conversion of cropland to tropical or temperate forest partly compensated for the loss of TESVs globally, especially in Asia.
The Chinese urban system is currently experiencing a fundamental shift, as it moves from a size-based hierarchy to a network-based system. Contemporary studies of city networks have tended to focus on economic interactions without paying sufficient attention to the issue of knowledge flow. Using data on co-authored papers obtained from China Academic Journal Network Publishing Database (CAJNPD) during 2014-2016, this study explores several features of the scientific collaboration network between Chinese mainland cities. The study concludes that: (1) the spatial organization of scientific cooperation amongst Chinese cities is shifting from a jurisdiction-based hierarchical system to a networked system; and (2) several highly intra-connected city regions were found to exist in the network of knowledge, and such regions had more average internal linkages (14.21) than external linkages (8.69), and higher average internal linkage degrees (14.43) than external linkage degrees (10.43); and (3) differences existed in terms of inter-region connectivity between the Western, Eastern, and Central China regional networks (the average INCD of the three regional networks were 109.65, 95.81, and 71.88). We suggest that China should engage in the development of regional and sub-regional scientific centers to achieve the goal of building an innovative country. Whilst findings reveal a high degree of concentration in those networks - a characteristic which reflects the hierarchical nature of China’s urban economic structure - the actual spatial distribution of city networks of knowledge flow was found to be different from that of city networks based on economic outputs or population.
Poverty has been a focus of Chinese government for a long time. It is therefore of great significance to investigate both the mechanisms and spatial patterns of regional impoverishment in order to adequately target Chinese anti-poverty goals. Based on the human-environment relationship and multidimensional poverty theory, this study initially develops a three-dimensional model encompassing human, society, and environmental factors to investigate the mechanisms of rural impoverishment as well as to construct an indicator system to evaluate the comprehensive poverty level (CPL) in rural areas. A back propagation neural network model was then applied to measure CPL, and standard deviation classification was used to identify counties that still require national policy-support (CRNPSs) subsequent to 2020. The results of this study suggest that CPL values conform to a decreasing trend from the southeast coast towards the inland northwest of China. Data also show that 716 CRNPSs will be present after 2020, mainly distributed in high-arid areas of the Tibetan Plateau, the transitional zones of the three-gradient terrain, as well as karst areas of southwest China. Furthermore, CRNPSs can be divided into four types, that is, key aiding counties restricted by multidimensional factors, aiding counties restricted by human development ability, aiding counties restricted by both natural resource endowment and socioeconomic development level, and aiding counties restricted by both human development ability and socioeconomic development level. We therefore propose that China should develop and adopt scientific and targeted strategies to relieve the relative poverty that still exist subsequent to 2020.
The interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical entities are the key areas of regional integrated management. In this paper, we analyzed the spatial patterns of the interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical names (ITPGN) from three aspects: numerical features, spatial variance and spatial agglomeration. The influencing factors of the distribution of ITPGN and the implications for the regional management were further discussed. GIS technology was used to visualize the distribution of ITPGN, analyze the spatial agglomeration and the influencing factors of ITPGN. A total of 11,325 ITPGN, including 4243 water ITPGN and 7082 terrain ITPGN, were extracted from the database of “China’s Second National Survey of Geographical Names (2014-2018)”, and the mountain geographical names were the largest type in ITPGN. Hunan Province had the largest number of the names in China, and Shanghai had the smallest number of the names. The spatial variance of the terrain ITPGN was larger than that of the water ITPGN, and the ITPGN showed a significant agglomeration phenomenon in the southern part of China. In addition, the relative elevation and the population had an impact on the distribution of the ITPGN. The largest number of the geographical names occurred in the regions where the relative elevation was between 1000-2000 meters, and where the population was between 40-50 million. Based on the analysis, it was suggested that the government should take the ITPGN as management units, optimize management strategies based on the characteristics of different types of ITPGN, strengthen the naming of unnamed interprovincial terrestrial physical geographical entities and balance the interests in the controversial ITPGN. This study demonstrated that GIS and spatial analysis techniques were useful for the research of ITPGN and the results could provide targeted management suggestions to realize coordinated development in the interprovincial regions.
The red imported fire ant (RIFA, Solenopsis invicta), a notorious invasive insect, has received considerable attention owing to its impacts on native biodiversity, agriculture, and human health. Under global warming, the inhabitable area of the RIFA may be enlarged. However, few studies have focused on the potential range expansion of the RIFA in East Asia. Using a process-based physiological model, we simulated the potential range of the RIFA in China based on gridded temperature datasets for the current (2004-2012) and future (2090-2100) climates under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5. It was found that the southeastern part of China (below 32°N) is suitable for RIFA proliferation. The present distribution area of the RIFA corresponds well with the potential range simulated by the model. In the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 warming scenarios, the inhabitable area of the RIFA along the northern boundary would on average extend 101.3±85.7 (mean±SD) and 701.2±156.9 km, respectively, by the end of the 21st century. Therefore, future climate change would significantly affect the inhabitable area of the RIFA. Our results provide the basis for local quarantine officials to curtail accidental introductions of this insect, especially in the certain and possible infestation zones.
Developing countries must consider the influence of anthropogenic dynamics on changes in rangeland habitats. This study explores happened degradation in 178 rangeland management plans for Northeast Iran in three main steps: (1) conducting a trend analysis of rangeland degradation and anthropogenic dynamics in 1986-2000 and 2000-2015, (2) visualizing the effects of anthropogenic drivers on rangeland degradation using bivariate local spatial autocorrelation (BiLISA), and (3) quantifying spatial dependence between anthropogenic driving forces and rangeland degradation using spatial regression approaches. The results show that 0.77% and 0.56% of rangelands are degraded annually during the first and second periods. The BiLISA results indicate that dry-farming, irrigated farming and construction areas were significant drivers in both periods and grazing intensity was a significant driver in the second period. The spatial lag (SL) model (wi=0.3943, Ei=1.4139) with two drivers of dry-farming and irrigated farming in the first period and the spatial error (SE) model (wi=0.4853, Ei=1.515) with livestock density, dry-farming and irrigated farming in the second period showed robust performance in quantifying the driving forces of rangeland degradation. To conclude, the BiLISA maps and spatial models indicate a serious intensification of the anthropogenic impacts of ongoing conditions on the rangelands of northeast Iran in the future.
The logistics clusters are the result of concentration, scale and specialization of logistics activities, and their quantitative measurement and development evaluation provide an important foundation for improving the land use efficiency and achieving economies of scale. Taking 289 cities at prefecture-level and above as research objects, this paper collected macro-statistical data of transport, postal and warehousing industry during 2000-2014, business registration data of more than 290 thousand logistics enterprises, and 170 thousand logistics points of interest (POI). With the integration of multi-index and multi-source data, the evolution process and spatial pattern of logistics clusters in China were explored with the methods of Location Quotient (LQ), Horizontal Cluster Location Quotient (HCLQ), Logistics Employment Density (LED) and modified Logistics Establishments’ Participation (LEP). The development levels, types and modes of different logistics clusters were quantified. Several important findings are derived from the study. (1) The logistics clusters are mainly located on the east side of the Hu Huanyong Line, and the accumulative pattern evolves from group to block structure, featuring wide coverage and high concentration. The evolution of logistics clusters has two stages of rapid convergence and stable change, resulting in gradual increase in the development level and efficiency of logistics clusters and in emergence of spillover effect. (2) 21 mature logistics clusters are distributed in the core and sub-cities of the main metropolitan areas of 16 provincial-level administrative divisions, conforming to the government logistics and transport planning. 43 emerging logistics clusters are distributed in 21 provincial administrative divisions, and different types of cities have huge disparities which highlight the differentiation of the market behaviors and government planning among them. (3) The logistics clusters present differentiated development modes with the change of scales. In urban agglomerations scale, the nested “center-periphery” structures with “main nucleus-secondary cores-general nodes” are clarified. The polar nuclear development, networked and balanced development, single core and multipoint, multi-core multipoint hub-spoke development patterns are formed in different provincial administrative divisions.
Land consolidation engineering is one of the very important ways to improve the quality of farmland and the level of agricultural productivity. Studies of land consolidation and crop cultivation still mainly focus on single land functional optimization or crop breeding and yields. However, whether the improved crop varieties were sown on healthy and fertile soils is still a question. This paper introduces new ideas and engineering measures for sandy land rehabilitation and modern agricultural development in the Mu Us Sandy Land, Shaanxi Province, Western China. The important roles of particles and aggregates in soil reconstruction were confirmed following three innovative microscopic theories, including micro-structure, micro-morphology and micro-mechanism. New soil was constructed based on the physical complementarity of sandy, clay and loess particles in the Yulin area, northern Shaanxi Province. Field experiments were carried out to study the appropriate mixture ratio of different soils and their suitability for different crops. The improved crop varieties were sown on healthy and fertile soils, which were chosen by coupling according to its soil ecological suitability and crop physiological adaptability. The fertility improvement practices in the new constructed soils with different crops integrated water and fertilizer management measures, which were also provided in the experiment. Overall, an integrated land optimization configuration with improved and optimized crop variety selection was suggested for engineering sandy land-oriented consolidation from the soil particles to the agricultural system.
Land use and its dynamics have attracted considerable scientific attention for their significant ecological and socioeconomic implications. Many studies have investigated the past changes in land use, but efforts exploring the potential changes in land use and implications under future scenarios are still lacking. Here we simulate the future land use changes and their impacts on ecosystem services in Northeast China (NEC) over the period of 2000-2050 using the CLUE-S (Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at Small regional extent) model under the scenarios of ecological security (ESS), food security (FSS) and comprehensive development (CDS). The model was validated against remote sensing data in 2005. Overall, the accuracy of the CLUE-S model was evaluated at 82.5%. Obtained results show that future cropland changes mainly occur in the Songnen Plain and the Liaohe Plain, forest and grassland changes are concentrated in the southern Lesser Khingan Mountains and the western Changbai Mountains, while the Sanjiang Plain will witness major changes of the wetlands. Our results also show that even though CDS is defined based on the goals of the regional development plan, the ecological service value (ESV) under CDS is RMB 2656.18 billion in 2050. The ESV of CDS is lower compared with the other scenarios. Thus, CDS is not an optimum scenario for eco-environmental protection, especially for the wetlands, which should be given higher priority for future development. The issue of coordination is also critical in future development. The results can help to assist structural adjustments for agriculture and to guide policy interventions in NEC.
Model simulation and scenario change analysis are the core contents of the future land-use change (LUC) study. In this paper, land use status data of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (TGRR) in 1990 was used as base data. The relationship between driving factors and land-use change was analyzed by using binary logistic stepwise regression analysis, based on which land use in 2010 was simulated by CLUE-S model. After the inspection and determination of main parameters impacting on driving factors of land use in the TGRR, land use of this region in 2030 was simulated based on four scenarios, including natural growth, food security, migration-related construction and ecological conservation. The results were shown as follows: (1) The areas under ROC curves of land-use types (LUTs) were both greater than 0.8 under the analysis and inspection of binary logistic model. These LUTs include paddy field, dryland, woodland, grassland, construction land and water area. Therefore, it has a strong interpretation ability of driving factors on land use, which can be used in the estimation of land use probability distribution. (2) The Kappa coefficients, verified from the result of land-use simulation in 2010, were shown of paddy field 0.9, dryland 0.95, woodland 0.97, grassland 0.84, construction land 0.85 and water area 0.77. So the results of simulation could meet the needs of future simulation and prediction. (3) The results of multi-scenario simulation showed a spatial competitive relationship between different LUTs, and an influence on food security, migration-related construction and ecological conservation in the TGRR, including some land use actions such as the large-scale conversion from paddy field to dryland, the occupation on cultivated land, woodland and grassland for rapid expansion of construction land, the reclamation of woodland and grassland into cultivated land, returning steep sloping farmland back into woodland and grassland. Therefore, it is necessary to balance the needs of various aspects in land use optimization, to achieve the coordination between socio-economy and ecological environment.
The continuing use of petrochemicals in mineral nitrogen (N) production may be affected by supply or cost issues and climate agreements. Without mineral N, a larger area of cropland is required to produce the same amount of food, impacting biodiversity. Alternative N sources include solar and wind to power the Haber-Bosch process, and the organic options such as green manures, marine algae and aquatic azolla. Solar power was the most land-efficient renewable source of N, with using a tenth as much land as wind energy, and at least 100th as much land as organic sources of N. In this paper, we developed a decision tree to locate these different sources of N at a global scale, or the first time taking into account their spatial footprint and the impact on terrestrial biodiversity while avoiding impact on albedo and cropland, based on global resource and impact datasets. This produced relatively few areas suitable for solar power in the western Americas, central southern Africa, eastern Asia and southern Australia, with areas most suited to wind at more extreme latitudes. Only about 2% of existing solar power stations are in very suitable locations. In regions such as coastal north Africa and central Asia where solar power is less accessible due to lack of farm income, green manures could be used, however, due to their very large spatial footprint only a small area of low productivity and low biodiversity was suitable for this option. Europe in particular faces challenges because it has access to a relatively small area which is suitable for solar or wind power. If we are to make informed decisions about the sourcing of alternative N supplies in the future, and our energy supply more generally, a decision-making mechanism is needed to take global considerations into account in regional land-use planning.
Rapeseed is one of the major oil crops in China and it is very sensitive to climate change. The Yangtze River Basin is the main rapeseed production area in China. Therefore, a better understanding of the impact of climate change on rapeseed production in the basin is of both scientific and practical importance to Chinese oil industry and food security. In this study, based on climate data from 5 General Circulation Models (GCMs) with 4 representative concentration pathways (RCPs) in 2011-2040 (2020s), 2041-2070 (2050s) and 2071-2100 (2080s), we assessed the changes in rapeseed production potential between the baseline climatology of 1981-2010 and the future climatology of the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively. The key modelling tool - the AEZ model - was updated and validated based on the observation records of 10 representative sites in the basin. Our simulations revealed that: (1) the uncertainty of the impact of climate change on rapeseed production increases with time; (2) in the middle of this century (2050s), total rapeseed production would increase significantly; (3) the average production potential increase in the 2050s for the upper, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River Basin is 0.939, 1.639 and 0.339 million tons respectively; (4) areas showing most significant increases in production include southern Shaanxi, central and eastern Hubei, northern Hunan, central Anhui and eastern Jiangsu.
Reconstructing historical land use and land cover change (LUCC) at the regional scale is an important component of global environmental change studies and of improving global historical land use datasets. By analyzing data in historical documents, including military-oriented cropland (hereafter M-cropland) area, the number of households engaged in M-cropland (hereafter M-household) reclamation, cropland area, and the number of households, we propose a conversion relationship between M-cropland area and cropland area reclaimed by each household. A provincial cropland area estimation method for the Yuan Dynasty is described and used to reconstruct the provincial cropland area for AD1290. Major findings are as follows. (1) Both the M-cropland and cropland areas of each household were high in the north and low in the south during the Yuan Dynasty, which resulted from different natural conditions and planting practices. Based on this observation, the government-allocated M-cropland reclamation area to each household was based on the cropland area reclaimed by each household. (2) The conversion relationship between M-cropland and cropland areas per household showed conversion coefficients of 1.23 and 0.65 for the south and north, respectively. (3) The cropland area in the entire study area in AD1290 was 535.4×106 mu (Chinese area unit, 1 mu=666.7 m2), 57.8% in the north and 42.2% in the south. The fractional cropland areas for the entire study area, north, and south were 6.8%, 6.6%, and 7.1%, respectively and the per capita cropland areas for the whole study area, north, and south were 6.7, 15.6, and 4.1 mu, respectively. (4) Cropland was mainly distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River (including the Fuli area), Huaihe River Basin (including Henan Province), and middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River (including Jiangzhe, Jiangxi, and Huguang provinces).
Building the Belt and Road is initiatives of China to promote win-win international cooperation in the new era, aiming at green, health, intellect and peace and the joint development with people of the countries along the route. Systematic analysis on environmental characteristics, evolutionary tendency and future risks are certainly the scientific fundamentals of sustainable development for the Belt and Road construction. Applied remote sensing monitoring, statistical analysis, this paper investigates the regional characteristics of climate, topography, soil, hydrology, vegetation cover and terrestrial ecosystems production, as well as socio-economic conditions. Based on the regional characteristics, the Belt and Road is divided into 9 sub-regions: Central and Eastern Europe sub-region with cold and humid climate, Mongolia and Russia sub-region with cold and arid climate, Central and West Asia arid sub-region, Southeast Asia sub-region with warm and humid climate, Pakistan arid sub-region, Bangladesh-India-Myanmar sub-region with warm and humid climate, Eastern China monsoon sub-region, Northwest China arid sub-region and Tibetan Plateau sub-region. Combining modeling simulation with scenario projections, natural disaster assessment methodology is used to assess the risk of extreme events including heat waves, droughts and floods in the coming 30 years (2021-2050). Results show that, on the basis of the regional framework, the western Eurasia would be a warming trend; both sides of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in high temperature and heat waves risk; Central and Eastern Europe sub-region with cold and humid climate in high drought risk; Bangladesh-India-Myanmar sub-region with warm and humid climate as well as Eastern China in high risk of flooding.
Increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration is not only an efficient method to address climate change problems but also a useful way to improve land productivity. It has been reported by many studies that land-use changes can significantly influence the sequestration of SOC. However, the SOC sequestration potential (SOCP, the difference between the saturation and the existing content of SOC) caused by land-use change, and the effects of land-use optimization on the SOCP are still not well understood. In this research, we modeled the effects of land-use optimization on SOCP in Beijing. We simulated three land-use optimization scenarios (uncontrolled scenario, scale control scenario, and spatial restriction scenario) and assessed their effects on SOCP. The total SOCP (0-20 cm) in Beijing in 2010 was estimated as 23.82 Tg C or 18.27 t C/ha. In the uncontrolled scenario, the built-up land area of Beijing would increase by 951 km2 from 2010 to 2030, and the SOCP would decrease by 1.73 Tg C. In the scale control scenario, the built-up land area would decrease by 25 km2 and the SOCP would increase by 0.07 Tg C from 2010 to 2030. Compared to the uncontrolled scenario, the SOCP in 2030 of Beijing would increase by 0.77 Tg C or 0.64 t C/ha in the spatial restriction scenario. This research provides evidence to guide planning authorities in conducting land-use optimization strategies and estimating their effects on the carbon sequestration function of land-use systems.
Under the impacts of climate change and human activities, great uncertainties still exist in the response of climate extremes, especially in Central Asia (CA). In this study, we investigated spatial-temporal variation trends and abrupt changes in 17 indices of climate extremes, based on daily climate observations from 55 meteorological stations in CA during 1957-2005. We also speculated as to which atmospheric circulation factors had the greatest impacts on climate extremes. Our results indicated that the annual mean temperature (Tav), mean maximum and minimum temperature significantly increased at a rate of 0.32oC/10a, 0.24oC/10a and 0.41oC/10a, respectively, which was far higher than the increasing rates either globally or across the Northern Hemisphere. Other temperature extremes showed widespread significant warming trends, especially for those indices derived from daily minimum temperature. All temperature extremes exhibited spatially widespread rising trends. Compared to temperature changes, precipitation extremes showed higher spatial and temporal variabilities. The annual total precipitation significantly increased at a rate of 4.76 mm/10a, and all precipitation extremes showed rising trends except for annual maximum consecutive dry days (CDD), which significantly decreased at a rate of -3.17 days/10a. On the whole, precipitation extremes experienced slight wetter trends in the Tianshan Mountains, Kazakhskiy Melkosopochnik (Hill), the Kyzylkum Desert and most of Xinjiang. The results of Cumulative Deviation showed that Tav and Txav had a significant abrupt change around 1987, and all precipitation indices experienced abrupt changes in 1986. Spearman’s correlation analysis pointed to Siberian High and Tibetan Plateau Index_B as possibly being the most important atmospheric circulation factors affecting climate extremes in CA. A full quantitative understanding of these changes is crucial for the management and mitigation of natural hazards in this region.
Investigating and monitoring the area of cultivated land reclaimed from rural settlements is important to optimize rural land use and understand spatial patterns. Measuring cultivated land area is costly and inefficient, however, as this land use type is often widely dispersed and scattered. A new method is therefore explored in this study that utilizes a Phantom2 Vision + (P2V), one kind of Dajiang (DJI) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The method proposed here includes generating rural settlement images using a P2V UAV, subsequently correcting them using a camera lens model, matching them with geo-coded high resolution alternatives, mosaicking them, measuring the area of cultivated land reclaimed from rural settlements, evaluating measurement accuracy, and analyzing overall efficiency. The results of this study show that use of a P2V UAV is reasonable in price, less than 8000 yuan (RMB), and that this method is able to measure cultivated land area reclaimed from rural settlements with 99% accuracy. This method is therefore low cost, highly efficient, and low risk, as well as being easy to learn and use. This UAV-based approach is also likely to be easily popularized and be particularly useful both for application across plains and flats as well as over mountains and hills. The method proposed in this study is also likely to prove beneficial for monitoring and managing rural land use and future consolidation.