Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (11): 2229-2250.doi: 10.1007/s11442-022-2045-y

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Dynamic evolution and the mechanism of modern gully agriculture regional function in the Loess Plateau

QU Lulu1(), LI Yurui2,3, WANG Yongsheng2,3, DONG Shijie2, WEN Qi4,*()   

  1. 1. School of Public Policy and Administration, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. School of Geography and Planning, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
  • Received:2022-01-26 Accepted:2022-09-06 Online:2022-11-25 Published:2022-11-25
  • Contact: WEN Qi;
  • About author:Qu Lulu (1991-), PhD and Lecturer, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42101202);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42061037);National Natural Science Foundation of China and National Science Foundation of the United States Sustainable Regional System Cooperation Research Project(T221101034);China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Project(2022M710015);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(2022CDJSKJC29)


The agricultural regional type and function are the key theoretical issues in agricultural geography research. Gully agriculture in the Loess Plateau is a new regional type of agricultural system with the coupling development of the modern gully human-earth relationship. The study of its functional changes is of great practical significance for food security, rural revitalization and sustainable development of regional agriculture in the region of interest. This paper analyses the multifunctional change of gully agriculture in the Loess Plateau and its dynamic mechanism by using large-scale remote sensing data, topographic relief amplitude model, and spatial econometric model to understand internal implications for evolution differentiation at the basin level. The results show that: (1) The spatial concentration of production and supply function of agricultural products (APF) in the gully of the Loess Plateau gully is high, while the ecological conservation and maintenance function (ECF), employment and social security function (ESF), cultural heritage and leisure function (CRF) are relatively low. The four functions’ spatial distribution has revealed an apparent regularity. (2) APF has been significantly enhanced, which is mainly distributed in point clusters and strips in the farming and pastoral areas in northern Shaanxi to the Yanhe river basin. The high-value areas of ESF are clustered around the urbanized metropolitan circles and urban-rural staggered areas along the Great Wall. ECF is concentrated in areas with significant natural endowments and excellent ecological conditions. CRF is significantly higher in the municipal districts and the surrounding regional central cities. (3) There are noticeable differences in the gully agriculture regional function (GARF) evolution process due to the geographical environment and socio-economic development stages. In this regard, natural factors have tremendously affected APF, ESF, and ECF, while socio-economic factors greatly differ in the four functions. There are still differences in the driving mechanisms of modern gully agriculture evolution types; hence many critical policies in the Loess Plateau can directly affect the function evolution paths. The dynamic evolution of GARF can reflect the general law of rural human-earth system transition in gully areas, thereby providing policy ideas for high-quality development of agriculture in the Loess Plateau.

Key words: dynamic mechanism, functional evolution, gully human-earth system, Loess Plateau, modern gully agriculture, transformation and development