Research Articles

Rubber plantation and its relationship with topographical factors in the border region of China, Laos and Myanmar

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Liu Xiaona (1986-), Ph.D Candidate, specialized in the study of land use and land cover change. E-mail:|

Received date: 2013-01-18

  Revised date: 2013-05-02

  Online published: 2013-11-14

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271117; Strategy of Science and Technology Planning Project of Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, No.2012SJ008


Rubber plantation is the major land use type in Southeast Asia. Monitoring the spatial-temporal pattern of rubber plantation is significant for regional land resource development, eco-environmental protection, and maintaining border security. With remote sensing technologies, we analyzed the rubber distribution pattern and spatial-temporal dynamic; with GIS and a newly proposed index of Planted Intensity (PI), we further quantified the impacts and limits of topographical factors on rubber plantation in the border region of China, Laos and Myanmar (BRCLM) between 1980 and 2010. The results showed that: (1) As the dominant land use type in this border region, the acreage of rubber plantation was 6014 km2 in 2010, accounting for 8.17% of the total area. Viewing from the rubber plantation structure, the ratio of mature- (≥10 year) and young rubber plantation (<10 year) was 5:7. (2) From 1980 to 2010, rubber plantation expanded significantly in BRCLM, from 705 km2 to 6014 km2, nearly nine times. The distribution characteristics of rubber plantation varied from concentrated toward dispersed, from border inside to outside, and expanded further in all directions with Jinghong City as the center. (3) Restricted by the topographical factors, more than 4/5 proportion of rubber plantation concentrated in the appropriate elevation gradients between 600 and 1000 m, rarely occurred in elevations beyond 1200 m in BRCLM. Nearly 2/3 of rubber plantation concentrated on slopes of 8°-25°, rarely distributed on slopes above 35°. Rubber plantation was primarily distributed in south and east aspects, relatively few in north and west aspects. Rubber planted intensity displayed the similar distribution trend. (4) Comparative studies of rubber plantation in different countries showed that there was a remarkable increase in area at higher elevations and steeper slopes in China, while there were large appropriate topographical gradients for rubber plantation in Laos and Myanmar which benefited China for rubber trans-boundary expansion. (5) Rubber plantation in BRCLM will definitely expend cross borders of China to the territories of Laos and Myanmar, and the continuous expansion in the border region of China will be inevitable.

Cite this article

LIU Xiaona, FENG Zhiming, JIANG Luguang, LI Peng, LIAO Chenhua, YANG Yanzhao, YOU Zhen . Rubber plantation and its relationship with topographical factors in the border region of China, Laos and Myanmar[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(6) : 1019 -1040 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1060-4


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