Table of Content

    20 November 2018, Volume 28 Issue 11 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Special Issue: Land system dynamics: Pattern and process
    Understanding land system dynamics and its consequences
    Wenbin WU, H VERBURG Peter, Huajun TANG
    2018, 28 (11):  1563-1566.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1562-1
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    Global prioritisation of renewable nitrogen for biodiversity conservation and food security
    ROWAN Eisner, Leonie SEABROOK, Clive MCALPINE
    2018, 28 (11):  1567-1579.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1561-2
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    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.

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    Cultivated land change in the Belt and Road Initiative region
    Di CHEN, Qiangyi YU, Qiong HU, Mingtao XIANG, Qingbo ZHOU, Wenbin WU
    2018, 28 (11):  1580-1594.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1530-9
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    The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)-a development strategy proposed by China - provides unprecedented opportunities for multi-dimensional communication and cooperation across Asia, Africa and Europe. In this study, we analyse the spatio-temporal changes in cultivated land in the BRI countries (64 in total) to better understand the land use status of China along with its periphery for targeting specific collaboration. We apply FAO statistics and GlobeLand30 (the world’s finest land cover data at a 30-m resolution), and develop three indicator groups (namely quantity, conversion, and utilization degree) for the analysis. The results show that cultivated land area in the BRI region increased 3.73×104 km2 between 2000 and 2010. The increased cultivated land was mainly found in Central and Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, while the decreased cultivated land was mostly concentrated in China. Russia ranks first with an increase of 1.59×104 km2 cultivated land area, followed by Hungary (0.66×104 km2) and India (0.57×104 km2). China decreased 1.95×104 km2 cultivated land area, followed by Bangladesh (-0.22×104 km2) and Thailand (-0.22×104 km2). Cultivated land was mainly transferred to/from forest, grassland, artificial surfaces and bare land, and transfer types in different regions have different characteristics: while large amount of cultivated land in China was converted to artificial surfaces, considerable forest was converted to cultivated land in Southeast Asia. The increase of multi-cropping index dominated the region except the Central and Eastern Europe, while the increase of fragmentation index was prevailing in the region except for a few South Asian countries. Our results indicate that the negative consequence of cultivated land loss in China might be underestimated by the domestic-focused studies, as none of its close neighbours experienced such obvious cultivated land losses. Nevertheless, the increased cultivated land area in Southeast Asia and the extensive cultivated land use in Ukraine and Russia imply that the regional food production would be greatly improved if China’ “Go Out policy” would help those countries to intensify their cultivated land use.

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    The changing patterns of cropland conversion to built-up land in China from 1987 to 2010
    Hongrun JU, Zengxiang ZHANG, Xiaoli ZHAO, Xiao WANG, Wenbin WU, Ling YI, Qingke WEN, Fang LIU, Jinyong XU, Shunguang HU, Lijun ZUO
    2018, 28 (11):  1595-1610.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1531-8
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    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.

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    Modeling the spatio-temporal changes in land uses and its impacts on ecosystem services in Northeast China over 2000-2050
    Tian XIA, Wenbin WU, Qingbo ZHOU, Wenxia TAN, H. VERBURG Peter, Peng YANG, Liming YE
    2018, 28 (11):  1611-1625.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1532-7
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    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.

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    Spatio-temporal differences and factors influencing intensive cropland use in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain
    Shuqin SHI, Yu HAN, Wentao YU, Yuqing CAO, Weimin CAI, Peng YANG, Wenbin WU, Qiangyi YU
    2018, 28 (11):  1626-1640.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1533-6
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    This study developed a comprehensive system to evaluate the intensity of cropland use and evolution of cropland use in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain. Delphi-entropy methods were adopted to determine the weight of the index, and the GeoDetector model was established to explore the influencing factors. The results are summarized as follows: (1) The intensity of inputs, degree of utilization, and production increased continuously, but the intensity of continuous conditions experienced an overall decline followed by a rebound towards the end of the study period. The number of counties with high and moderately high intensity increased by 56.8% and 14.6%, respectively, from 1996 to 2011. The number of counties with moderately low and low intensity declined by 35.9 % and 11.9 %, respectively. Areas with significant increases in intensity were mainly distributed in northeast Hebei Province, northwest Shandong Province, and north Jiangsu Province. The intensity is high in northern Jiangsu and Anhui; the output effect remained above moderate intensity mainly near Beijing, Tianjin, Tangshan, and counties in the suburbs of Shijiazhuang. (2) Natural disasters, elevation, slope, and road networks were the main factors influencing the intensity of cropland use in this region, with influence values of 0.158, 0.143, 0.129, and 0.054, respectively. Areas with moderately high and high levels of intensity were distributed in low-lying areas. Uneven distribution of precipitation, seasonal drought, and flood disasters can directly affect the stability index of croplands and reduce the intensity of cropland use. Developed road networks are associated with moderately high intensity. Our results suggest recommendations such as promoting agricultural intensification and large-scale management, promoting the construction of road networks, improving early warning systems for drought and flood disasters, and promoting moderate and intensive use of arable land, and focusing on restoration and sustainable use of cropland.

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    Modeling the effects of land-use optimization on the soil organic carbon sequestration potential
    Jingtao YAO, Xiangbin KONG
    2018, 28 (11):  1641-1658.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1534-5
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    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.

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    Spatiotemporal changes of cropping structure in China during 1980-2011
    Zhenhuan LIU, Peng YANG, Wenbin WU, Liangzhi YOU
    2018, 28 (11):  1659-1671.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1535-4
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    Understanding the spatial and temporal variations of cropping systems is very important for agricultural policymaking and food security assessment, and can provide a basis for national policies regarding cropping systems adjustment and agricultural adaptation to climate change. With rapid development of society and the economy, China’s cropping structure has profoundly changed since the reform and opening up in 1978, but there has been no systematic investigation of the pattern, process and characteristics of these changes. In view of this, a crop area database for China was acquired and compiled at the county level for the period 1980-2011, and linear regression and spatial analysis were employed to investigate the cropping structure type and cropping proportion changes at the national level. This research had three main findings: (1) China’s cropping structure has undergone significant changes since 2002; the richness of cropping structure types has increased significantly and a diversified-type structure has gradually replaced the single types. The single-crop types—dominated by rice, wheat or maize—declined, affected by the combination of these three major food crops in mixed plantings and conversion of some of their planting area to other crops. (2) In the top 10 types, 82.7% of the county-level cropping structure was rice, wheat, maize and their combinations in 1980; however, this proportion decreased to 50.7% in 2011, indicating an adjustment period of China’s cropping structure. Spatial analysis showed that 63.8% of China’s counties adjusted their cropping structure, with the general change toward reducing the main food types and increasing fruits and vegetables during 1980-2011. (3) At the national level, the grain-planting pattern dominated by rice shifted to coexistence of rice, wheat and maize during this period. There were significant decreasing trends for 47% of rice, 61% of wheat and 29.6% of maize cropping counties. The pattern of maize cropping had the most significant change, with the maize proportion decreasing in the zone from northeastern to southwestern China during this period. Cities and their surroundings were hotspots for cropping structural adjustment. Urbanization has significantly changed cropping structure, with most of these regions showing rapid increases in the proportion of fruit and vegetables. Our research suggests that the policy of cropping structural adjustment needs to consider geographical characteristics and spatial planning of cropping systems. In this way, the future direction of cropping structural adjustment will be appropriate and scientifically based, such as where there is a need to maintain or increase rice and wheat cropping, increase soybean and decrease maize, and increase the supply of fruit and vegetables.

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    Spatio-temporal analysis of the geographical centroids for three major crops in China from 1949 to 2014
    Lingling FAN, Shefang LIANG, Hao CHEN, Yanan HU, Xiaofei ZHANG, Zhenhuan LIU, Wenbin WU, Peng YANG
    2018, 28 (11):  1672-1684.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1536-3
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    Spatial distribution changes in major crops can reveal important information about cropping systems. Here, a new centroid method that applies physics and mathematics to spatial pattern analysis in agriculture is proposed to quantitatively describe the historical centroids of rice, maize and wheat in China from 1949 to 2014. The geographical centroids of the rice area moved 413.39 km in a 34.32° northeasterly (latitude 3.08°N, longitude 2.10°E) direction at a speed of 6.36 km/year from central Hunan province to Hubei province, while the geographical centroids of rice production moved 509.26 km in the direction of 45.44° northeasterly (latitude 3.22°N, longitude 3.27°E) at a speed of 7.83 km/year from central Hunan province to Henan province. The geographical centroids of the maize area and production moved 307.15 km in the direction of 34.33° northeasterly (latitude 2.29°N, longitude 1.56°E) and 308.16 km in the direction of 30.79° northeasterly (latitude 2.39°N, longitude 1.42°E), respectively. However, the geographical centroids of the wheat area and production were randomly distributed along the border of Shanxi and Henan provinces. We divided the wheat into spring wheat and winter wheat and found that the geographical centroids of the spring wheat area and production were distributed within Inner Mongolia, while the geographical centroids of winter wheat were distributed in Shanxi and Henan provinces. We found that the hotspots of crop cultivation area and production do not always change concordantly at a larger, regional scale, suggesting that the changing amplitude and rate of each crops’ yield differ between different regions in China. Thus, relevant adaptation measures should be taken at a regional level to prevent production damage in those with increasing area but decreasing production.

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    Changes of multiple cropping in Huang-Huai-Hai agricultural region, China
    Huimin YAN, Fang LIU, Zhongen NIU, Fengxue GU, Yanzhao YANG
    2018, 28 (11):  1685-1699.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1537-2
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    Multiple cropping index (MCI) is the ratio of total sown area and cropland area in a region, which represents the regional time intensity of planting crops. Multiple cropping systems have effectively improved the utilization efficiency and production of cropland by increasing cropping frequency in one year. Meanwhile, it has also significantly altered biogeochemical cycles. Therefore, exploring the spatio-temporal dynamics of multiple cropping intensity is of great significance for ensuring food and ecological security. In this study, MCI of Huang-Huai-Hai agricultural region with intensive cropping practices was extracted based on a cropping intensity mapping algorithm using MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) time series at 500-m spatial resolution and 8-day time intervals. Then the physical characteristics and landscape pattern of MCI trends were analyzed from 2000-2012. Results showed that MCI in Huang-Huai-Hai agricultural region has increased from 152% to 156% in the 12 years. Topography is a primary factor in determining the spatial pattern dynamics of MCI, which is more stable in hilly area than in plain area. An increase from 158% to 164% of MCI occurred in plain area while there was almost no change in hilly area with single cropping. The most active region of MCI change was the intersection zone between the hilly area and plain area. In spatial patterns, landscape of multiple cropping systems tended to be homogenized reflected by a reduction in the degree of fragmentation and an increase in the degree of concentration of cropland with the same cropping system.

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    Changes in production potentials of rapeseed in the Yangtze River Basin of China under climate change:A multi-model ensemble approach
    Zhan TIAN, Yinghao JI, Laixiang SUN, Xinliang XU, Dongli FAN, Honglin ZHONG, Zhuoran LIANG, Gunther FICSHER
    2018, 28 (11):  1700-1714.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1538-1
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    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.

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    Spillover effect offsets the conservation effort in the Amazon
    Yue DOU, Felipe Bicudo da SILVA Ramon, Hongbo YANG, Jianguo LIU
    2018, 28 (11):  1715-1732.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1539-0
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    Diverse conservation efforts have been expanding around the globe, even under the stress of increasing agricultural production. A striking example is the supply-chain agreements put upon the Amazon forest which had reduced deforestation by 80% from the early 2000s (27,772 km2) to 2015 (6207 km2). However, evaluation of these conservation efforts usually focused on the impacts within the Amazon biome only, while the effects that spill over to other areas (e.g., displacement of environmental pressure from one area to another) were rarely considered. Ignoring spillover effects may lead to biased or even wrong conclusions about the effectiveness of these conservation efforts because the hidden cost outside the target area of conservation may offset the achievement within it. It is thus important to assess the spillover effects of these supply-chain agreements. In this study, we used the two supply-chain agreements (i.e., Soy Moratorium and zero-deforestation beef agreement) implemented in the Amazon biome as examples and evaluated their spillover effects to the Cerrado. To achieve a holistic evaluation of the spillover effects, we adopted the telecoupling framework in our analysis. The application of the telecoupling framework includes the interactions between distant systems and extends the analytical boundaries beyond the signatory areas, which fill the gap of previous studies. Our results indicate that the supply-chain agreements have significantly reduced deforestation by half compared to projections within the sending system (i.e., Pará State in the Amazon, which exports soybeans and other agricultural products), but at the cost of increasing deforestation in the spillover system (i.e., a 6.6 time increase in Tocantins State of the Cerrado, where deforestation was affected by interactions between the Amazon and other places). Our study emphasizes that spillover effects should be considered in the evaluation and planning of conservation efforts, for which the telecoupling framework works as a useful tool to do that systematically.

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