Research Articles

Change analysis of rice area and production in China during the past three decades

  • 1. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Key Laboratory of Agri-informatics, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China;
    2. Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Liu Zhenhuan (1982-), Ph.D, specialized in landscape ecology and land use|global change and agricultural remote sensing. E-mail:

Received date: 2013-05-09

  Revised date: 2013-05-30

  Online published: 2013-11-14

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation, No.41171382; National Basic Program of China (973 Program), No.2010CB951502


Rice's spatial-temporal distributions, which are critical for agricultural, environmental and food security research, are affected by natural conditions as well as socio-economic developments. Based on multi-source data, an effective model named the Spatial Production Allocation Model (SPAM) which integrates arable land distribution, administrative unit statistics of crop data, agricultural irrigation data and crop suitability data, was used to get a series of spatial distributions of rice area and production with 10-km pixels at a national scale - it was applied from the early 1980s onwards and used to analyze the pattern of spatial and temporal changes. The results show that significant changes occurred in rice in China during 1980-2010. Overall, more than 50% of the rice area decreased, while nearly 70% of rice production increased in the change region during 1980-2010. Spatially, most of the increased area and production were in Northeast China, especially, in Jilin and Heilongjiang; most of the decreased area and production were located in Southeast China, especially, in regions of rapidly urbanization in Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang. Thus, the centroid of rice area was moved northeast approximately 230 km since 1980, and rice production about 320 km, which means rice production moved northeastward faster than rice area because of the significant rice yield increase in Northeast China. The results also show that rice area change had a decisive impact on rice production change. About 54.5% of the increase in rice production is due to the expansion of sown area, while around 83.2% of the decrease in rice production is due to contraction of rice area. This implies that rice production increase may be due to area expansion and other non-area factors, but reduced rice production could largely be attributed to rice area decrease.

Cite this article

LIU Zhenhuan, LI Zhengguo, TANG Pengqin, LI Zhipeng, WU Wenbin, YANG Peng, YOU Liangzhi, TANG Huajun . Change analysis of rice area and production in China during the past three decades[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(6) : 1005 -1018 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1059-x


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