Research Articles

Rural vitalization in China: A perspective of land consolidation

  • LONG Hualou , 1, 2 ,
  • ZHANG Yingnan 1, 2 ,
  • TU Shuangshuang , 1, 3, *
  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 3. Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Resources Use in Beibu Gulf, Nanning Normal University, the Ministry of Education, Nanning 530001, China
*Corresponding author: Tu Shuangshuang (1982-), PhD, specialized in rural development and land use. E-mail:

Author: Long Hualou (1971-), PhD and Professor, specialized in rural restructuring, urban-rural development and land use transition. E-mail: .

Received date: 2018-09-15

  Accepted date: 2018-11-08

  Online published: 2019-04-12

Supported by

Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41731286

The Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China, No.2018M630197

The Bagui Scholars Program of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


The core objective of rural vitalization is to systemically establish a coupling pattern of various rural development elements including population, land and industry. As one of the prerequisites, land resources is required to be optimally allocated via land consolidation. Consequently, land consolidation contributes greatly to population agglomeration, industrial development and resources support under the context of combating rural decline. Based on the key elements affecting rural development, this paper elaborates the connotation of rural vitalization and land consolidation in the new era as well as their relationships. Furthermore, the paper analyzes the alternative paths for achieving rural vitalization via land consolidation, and discusses the future directions of land consolidation and rural vitalization. The conclusions are drawn as follows: (1) To cope with the loss and decline of the intrinsic elements in rural areas, rural vitalization is a development strategy aimed at realizing economic, political, cultural and ecological rejuvenation in rural area by reshaping socio-economic morphology and spatial pattern in rural territory. (2) From the perspective of rural vitalization, land consolidation is endowed with new connotation, which should not only target at activating the key elements of rural development, but also place emphasis on coordinating material space and spirit core as well as integrating the restructuring of the physical space and the rural governance system. (3) Land consolidation should be compatible with regional natural conditions and the current stage of socio-economic development. According to the principle of regional planning and classification strategy, the appropriate models and paths should be adopted to promote the benign interactions of population, land and industry based on engineering techniques and ecological means. (4) Under the background of national strategy of rural vitalization, it is necessary to reshape the value orientation of land consolidation based on a scientific understanding of urban-rural relations and rural territorial functions, coordinate land consolidation planning and rural vitalization planning under the unified spatial planning system, and explore the new model combining land consolidation and multifunctional agriculture.

Cite this article

LONG Hualou , ZHANG Yingnan , TU Shuangshuang . Rural vitalization in China: A perspective of land consolidation[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019 , 29(4) : 517 -530 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1599-9

1 Introduction

The long-term isolation of urban-rural relations and the unfair positioning of rural values under the dual management system have caused the weakening of rural population, land abandonment, industrial lag and other rural recession problems during the process of urbanization in contemporary China (Long et al., 2016; Liu and Li, 2017; Tu and Long, 2017). Three new rural issues—namely, “rural hollowing”, “agricultural marginalization”, and “population aging”—have undermined the promotion of urban-rural integration and the building of a well-off society in all-round way (Long, 2014; Yang et al., 2015; Long and Tu, 2018). In response to the conflict between the people’s ever-growing need for a better life and current unbalanced and insufficient development, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) puts forward the “rural vitalization” strategy to alleviate issues of the uncoordinated urban-rural development. Rural vitalization is the construction of economy, politics, culture, ecology, and people’s well-being aiming at realizing the comprehensive rejuvenation in rural areas by systematically allocating and efficiently managing various developmental elements, such as population, land, and industry (Hillman, 2004; Li et al., 2016; Liu, 2018).
Land is the material foundation and spatial carrier for human socio-economic activities (Long, 2014; Li and Li, 2017; Long and Qu, 2018; Qu and Long, 2018). China’s Land Administration Law, implemented in 1999, stipulated that “the state encourages land consolidation”, and the National Land Consolidation Program (2011-2015) further defined the term of “land consolidation”. As a means of coordinating man-land interrelations, land consolidation possesses multiple vital functions such as reconstructing urban and rural space, ensuring food security, coordinating urban-rural development, ensuring intensive and scientific use of resources, and improving the living environment, which are compatible with the multiple goals of rural vitalization (Li et al., 2017; Long et al., 2010, 2012; Long, 2014; Long and Tu, 2018). Since 2000, China has added 64.5 million mu (1 mu=1/15 ha) of cultivated land and built 600 million mu of farmland with high yields and stability through land consolidation, thereby effectively promoting the vitalization and intensive use of land resources in rural areas (Jiang et al., 2017). In recent years, research on land consolidation has focused on the aspects such as the related theory (Long, 2014; Yan et al., 2015), potential and performance evaluations (Tu et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2017), planning and designing model (Yan et al., 2016), project types and measures (Liu, 2011), landscape ecological benefits (Wang and Zhong, 2017), and operational supervision mechanisms (Liu et al., 2012), while barely addressing the multi-functionality of land consolidation (Zhang et al., 2018) and its relationship with rural transformation development (Long, 2012; Yu et al., 2018). Based on the key elements affecting rural development, this paper illustrates the essence of and reciprocity between rural vitalization and land consolidation in the new era, analyzes the regional implementation of land consolidation within the context of rural vitalization, and renders vital suggestions towards land consolidation in the future in order to provide a solid theoretical basis for the comprehensive vitalization of the rural population, land, and industry.

2 Essence of rural vitalization and land consolidation

2.1 Connotation of rural vitalization

The rural territorial system, an interactive formation of various key elements, is an open, dynamic system with comprehensive multidimensionality. Population, land, and industry are the core elements that affect rural socio-economic development (Ge et al., 2018a, 2018b; Long et al., 2018; Tu and Long, 2017). Among them, population as the main body of development in rural areas creates economic, social, and ecological values for rural areas through the exploitation and utilization of resources, the operation and management of businesses and other production and daily living activities. Population is the momentum driving rural vitalization. Land resources shoulders the basic role of providing resources support in rural vitalization, it not only has multi-functional value in meeting the needs of production, living and ecological space, but also spawns different rural industrial development modes. Industrial development forms the main driving force for rural vitalization, which combines population and land organically through land resources utilization and employment of the population, and affects farmers’ incomes and even determines the rural socio-economic sustainable development. Boosting the integration of “resources, capital, and assets” by coordinating the elements of “population, land, and industry” is the key to fostering development momentum and enhancing vitality in rural areas.
Rural vitalization is the opposite of rural decline (Liu, 2018). The large-scale outflow of the rural population during urbanization and industrialization is the root cause for rural decline (Long et al., 2012; Tu et al., 2018), which has led to “aging or weakening” management mainstream and eventually caused the following issues: (1) lag in industrial development, such as low agricultural efficiency and underdeveloped non-agricultural industries; (2) inefficient use of land resources, such as the abandoning of arable land and the idling of homesteads; and (3) a series of social problems, such as landscape devastation, disordered governance, dilapidated infrastructure, and weak local culture (Long et al., 2016).
To cope with the loss and decline of the intrinsic elements in rural areas, rural vitalization is a development strategy aimed at realizing economic, political, cultural and ecological rejuvenation in rural areas by reshaping socio-economic morphology and spatial pattern in rural territory (Tu and Long, 2017; Zhang, 2018), which is intended to address the conflict between the people’s ever-growing need for a better life and unbalanced, inadequate development during the mid-term urbanization in China. Besides, the value orientation of rural vitalization is to narrow the gap between urban and rural development, initiate sharing of development achievements and build a balanced urban-rural development pattern to create equal development opportunities. The complexity of rural territorial system determines the implementation process of rural vitalization strategy with the systematized, hierarchical, and regional characteristics.
(1) Systematized: Rural vitalization is the coordinated symbiosis of various elements that are interconnected and mutually constrained. “Thriving industry, pleasant living environment, refined rural civilization, effective governance, and prosperous life” are the basic principles for rural vitalization, covering economic, social, ecological, and cultural aspects. As a comprehensive humanistic process, on the one hand, rural vitalization requires the multidisciplinary integration of various subjects such as economics, sociology, management, engineering technology, and geography in order to make scientific development planning with clear objectives, reasonable positioning, and functional optimization. On the other hand, rural vitalization requires multi-departmental coordination to promote developing a mutually complementary governance system with clear responsibilities and standardized management.
(2) Hierarchical: Considering the different rules and characteristics of rural development at different spatial scales, rural vitalization should adopt differentiated goal orientation and strategic positioning. At the regional level, rural vitalization should cover whole regions and form an overall vitalization pattern, while at the village level, it is crucial to selectively support according to the law of economic development. For some villages with unfavorable natural environments, poor geographical locations or difficult supplies of basic public services, it is necessary to guide villagers to relocate and allow the original villages to dissipate naturally. On the contrary, the villages with excellent resource endowments, strong industrial bases, and better locations should be given priority support.
(3) Regional: Influenced by various factors, such as resource endowments, location conditions, industrial bases, policies, urban-rural relationships, market environments, central-city leading forces, and cultural heritages, rural socio-economic development differs significantly among regions of China. Therefore, excavating local rural values, cultivating diverse industrial structures locally, and scientifically formulating strategies and paths for rural transformation and rejuvenation are the keys to promoting rural sustainable vitalization.

2.2 Connotation of land consolidation from the perspective of rural vitalization

Traditionally, rural land consolidation has been limited to engineering and technical aspects. Its core objectives are mainly to expand the scale of farmland, improve the quality of cultivated land, and optimize the village’s layout, and even in some areas, land consolidation is considered merely a means of providing more space for urban development. Currently, rural vitalization is reflected not only in the upgrading of the living environment and public services and other material aspects but also in the in-depth revival of a vibrant industry, a unique culture, and an orderly governance system. Comprehensive rural vitalization should be based on the distinctions between urban and rural territorial system and the multifunctional values of rural areas. Land consolidation is endowed with the following new connotation and multi-functions from the perspective of rural vitalization:
(1) Activating the key elements of rural development such as population, land, and industry. Beginning with comprehensive land consolidation, it is better to restructure production, living, and ecological spaces, strengthen the integration of modern agriculture and multi-industrial forms such as Bed and Breakfast (B&B) industry, pension industry and ecological tourism etc., and it is necessary to promote the non-agricultural transfer of the rural population and the transformation of land use patterns.
(2) Coordinating the vitalization of the physical space and the promotion of the spiritual core. Comprehensive land consolidation aims at changing the quantity and quality of the cultivated land and the rural construction land as well as vitalizing rural land resources. Meanwhile, it should take into account the inheritance of rural characteristic culture, the maintenance of the architectural appearance and settlement texture in order to preserve the unique charm of the countryside and enhance the rural ecological and cultural functions.
(3) Integrating the restructuring of the actual physical space and the rural governance system. With the aggregating of rural living spaces, it is of vital important to establish multilayer rural governance modes through combining grassroots autonomous organizations and communities, as well as cultivating skilled manpower capable of appropriately scaled operations for the purpose of realizing a smooth linkage between the rural spatial system and the governance system.

3 Relationship between land consolidation and rural vitalization

3.1 Coupling relationship between land consolidation evolution and rural transformation development in China

The evolution process of land consolidation in China can be roughly divided into three stages (Figure 1):
Figure 1 Phase characteristics of land consolidation and rural transformation development in China
(1) The stage of tapping the quantitative potential: The development of township and village enterprises and the rapid expansion of urban construction land resulted in a sharp shrinkage of cultivated land and increasing pressure on food security (Long et al., 2018). To tackle these issues, land consolidation aimed at supplementing farmland loss was widely carried out in China’s rural areas (Long, 2014), among which some successful models emerged including the “three concentrated” consolidation model in Shanghai (the concentration of farmers’ houses to central villages and small towns, township and village enterprises to industrial zones, and farmland to large-scale operations). From 1998 to 2005, China witnessed a rapid increase in the number of funds, projects and scale for land consolidation, and more than 4 million mu of cultivated land was replenished annually through land consolidation. During this period, land consolidation focused on increasing the amount of cultivated land and providing space for urbanization and industrialization, which has guaranteed agricultural production, increased farmers’ income and ensured food security to a certain extent.
(2) The stage of emphasizing on both quantity and quality: In 2006, the establishment of 116 national prime farmland protection demonstration zones marked the transformation of China’s land consolidation from emphasis on a quantitative increase to a comprehensive consideration of both quantity and quality of newly-added cultivated land. In the same year, the former Ministry of Land and Resources deployed the first batch of pilot projects of “Linking up Increased Urban Construction Land with Decreased Rural Construction Land”, which indicated that rural construction land consolidation has been an important part of land consolidation (Long et al., 2012). In 2005, the State proposed the strategy of “Building New Countryside” aiming to form a new pattern of coordinated urban-rural development (Long et al., 2010), and land consolidation laid a solid material foundation for the building of the “new countryside” through improving the production and living conditions as well as ecological environments in rural areas.
(3) The stage of stressing ecological functions and maximizing urban-rural values: The “13th Five-Year Plan” of land consolidation highlights the construction, utilization, and protection of ecologically beneficial fields and advocates “green” land consolidation, which shows that China’s land consolidation is shifting to paying more attention to ecological function of land use. In 2017, the 19th CPC National Congress proposed the strategy of rural vitalization to promote the integration of urban and rural development. Meanwhile, land management departments at all levels have successively issued a series of comprehensive rural land consolidation policies to accelerate the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector, optimize the space of urban and rural development and lay a solid foundation for rural vitalization.
Different socio-economic development stages have different requirements for land use morphology patterns. The process of rural transformation development prompts land users to optimize land use morphology patterns through land consolidation projects, and the transition of land use morphology in turn acts on rural development and vitalization (Long, 2012; Long and Tu, 2018). Chronologically, the modernization of a region or a county usually undergoes the periods of the “urban bred by countryside, urban-rural separation, urban-rural opposition, and urban-rural integration” (Ye and Chen, 2008), as is the case with China’s rural transformation development (Figure 1). With the advancement of socio-economic development in different periods, the objectives of land consolidation in China have changed from the emphasis on exploitation of unused land, the increase of cultivated land and the provision of space for urbanization to focusing on the comprehensive improvement of farmland and villages, the equal emphasis on “quantity” and “quality”, and eventually the multi-functionality of land use and the maximization of urban-rural values. Apparently, the orientation and effectiveness of land consolidation have been highly consistent and intrinsically coupled with the needs of socio-economic development and transition in China.

3.2 Reciprocity between land consolidation and rural vitalization from the perspective of “population-land-industry”

The advanced or lagging transformation of the urban-rural socio-economic development elements could cause different feedbacks and responses to the rural territorial system, which could affect the sustainable development of regional agriculture and rural areas. The common point of rural land consolidation and rural vitalization is to adjust key development elements and promote coupling and coordination among various elements. Rural land consolidation mainly includes farmland and rural construction land consolidation, both of which are land use behaviors interfering with rural production, living, and ecological spaces through engineering and technical means (Long, 2014) (Figure 2).
Figure 2 The relationship between land consolidation and rural vitalization in China
As the space carrier of major socio-economic activities, the optimization of inner structure and the improvement of quality for land resources directly affect the economic benefits of agricultural production and the cultivation of non-agricultural industries, thus exert an important influences on the income of local residents, the transformation of industrial structure and the allocation of human resources. Compared with the objectives of agricultural land consolidation to increase the amount of cultivated land, improve agricultural production conditions and promote the scale of agricultural management (Jiang et al., 2017), the goal of rural construction land consolidation is to achieve a positive interaction between urban capital and rural idle land by guiding rural population agglomeration and industrial concentration, and eventually build up the channels of elements flows between urban and rural areas.
The essence of land consolidation is to adjust land ownership and supervise land use, and the multi-functionality of land resources also extends their derivative values such as coordinating urban and rural development, preserving the cultural landscape, and maintaining social stability. Confronted with various problems, such as the inefficient utilization of land resources, the poor infrastructure, the rapid loss of development elements, the weakening of the manpower etc., in rural areas, land consolidation within the context of rural vitalization should be gradually transformed from merely increasing land to prospering rural economy, improving farmers’ income, and protecting the ecological environment etc., as well as from the single-factor regulation of “land-based” to the comprehensive regulation towards coordinating the multiple elements of “population, land and industry” through the organic integration of new enterprises, advanced technologies, and skilled manpower.

4 Regional implementation paths of rural vitalization through comprehensive land consolidation

Considering the regional natural and humanistic factors as well as socio-environmental features, the main functional zoning divides China’s land space into optimized development zones, key development zones, major agricultural production zones, and key ecological function zones (Fan, 2015). As an important means of coordinating man-land interrelations, land consolidation also needs to be adapted to the natural conditions and socio-economic development within the region, and adopt appropriate models and paths to promote the benign interactions of population, land and industry through engineering techniques and ecological means.

4.1 Optimized development zones

As the core area leading economic growth, the optimized development zones are characterized by a strong central-city leading force, rapid population growth, and a high demand for land use. Carrying out comprehensive land consolidation based on the diffusion of urban economic energy is not only the key to alleviating the increasing contradiction between strong demand and limited supply of land resources, but also has an important influence on coordinating rural development elements and realizing rural vitalization in the region.
Population: Rural employment channels should be broadened through the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries. In particular, more attention should be paid to the development of modern service industries such as rural tourism and Bed & Breakfast, so as to stimulate some rural migrants to return to the countryside and attract urban dwellers to the rural area for leisure stays or investment, eventually promote the two-way flow of urban and rural human resources.
Land: It is crucial to speed up the exploration of land use management system accustomed to the new types of rural economy, and actively carry out consolidation of agricultural land and rural construction land as well as remediation of contaminated farmland for the purpose of improving farmland landscape, effectively utilizing vacant and abandoned land, restoring the productive capacity and ecological value of polluted land, and providing a space carrier for the industrial development.
Industry: For villages with location advantages, distinctive landscape features, or unique historical culture, the development of modern service industries such as rural tourism, agricultural exhibition etc. should be encouraged through improving rural infrastructure as well as the aesthetic values of rural farmland and housing.

4.2 Key development zones

Key development zones, possessing a good economic foundation and rich resources as well as higher carrying capacity, are important areas supporting China’s economic development and population agglomeration in the future. Based on implementing the policy of “Linking up Increased Urban Construction Land with Decreased Rural Construction Land”, the rational, efficient and harmonious layout of production, living and ecological spaces as well as the development of new types of rural economy are the key points for rural vitalization pushed forward by land consolidation in these zones.
Population: Seizing the opportunity of spatial restructuring and industrial transformation, it is better to vigorously promote the orderly transfer of rural surplus labor, explore the implementation of differentiated citizenization policies of rural migrant population with different level of urbanization, and encourage out-flowing rural talents to return hometown to start their business.
Land: First of all, with the guidance of “quantity control, quality management and ecological protection”, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive consolidation planning regarding farmlands, water, roads, forests, and homesteads in order to establish a rural complex. Secondly, building an orderly rural settlements system and implementing rural residential renovation are effective ways to tap the potential of stock land, promote the orderly transfer of collective construction land and awaken “dormant” land assets in rural areas.
Industry: Relying on intensified arable land resources through land consolidation, it is urgent to promote agricultural mechanization and large-scale operation, and encourage the development of ecological agriculture, urban agriculture, and rural tourism in the areas surrounding the city. Meanwhile, it is necessary to develop rural e-commerce industry and open up the marketing channels of agricultural product sales.

4.3 Major agricultural production zones

As the strategical core areas of modern agriculture and food production, major agricultural production zones shoulder the responsibility for national food security and farmland protection. In recent years, the rapid industrialization and urbanization have led to tremendous changes of the man-land interrelations in these areas, and rural development faces a series of problems such as low efficiency of grain production, rural population aging, vacant or deserted houses, and extensive use of rural land. Therefore, land consolidation in these zones should aim at limiting high-intensity industrialization and urbanization, especially focusing on improving cultivated land quality, upgrading farmland facilities and solving the problems of inefficient use of rural construction land.
Population: A dense agricultural population is one of the main characteristics in the region. Human resources aging caused by the migration of rural youth labor during urbanization has seriously hindered the process of agricultural modernization. Beginning with farmland consolidation and agricultural moderate scale operation, establishing a new type of professional peasant team and strengthening skills training are crucial for modern agricultural production and rural vitalization in these areas.
Land: Oriented by ensuring a high standard for basic farmlands, addressing water-related hazards, improving farmland irrigation facilities and reducing soil pollution, it is necessary to focus on agricultural land consolidation by promoting the transformation of low- and medium-yield farmland, improving the irrigation and drainage conditions, and solving farmland fragmentation. In addition, facing the disorderly and decentralized utilization of rural homesteads, the project of “hollowed village consolidation” should be carried out actively and related land use policies accelerating the exit and circulation of homesteads should be explored in the purpose of promoting the intensive use of consolidated land and improving the living, production and the ecological environment in rural areas.
Industry: Besides traditional crop cultivation, the adjustment of the industrial structure should be given more attention, such as actively developing forestry, animal husbandry, fishery, agricultural product processing and manufacturing etc., especially emphasizing on the organic integration of agricultural planting and rural tourism based on the appropriate design of farmland landscape. And the new mode of rural economic operation with online and offline interaction should be explored by relying on the internet platform for propaganda and sales.

4.4 Key ecological function zones

Key ecological function zones exert their ecological protective functions such as protecting biodiversity, conserving water sources, breaking wind, and fixing sand. China’s key ecological function zones are mainly located in poverty-stricken areas with complex climatic conditions, fragile ecological environments and lagging economic development, which constitute 76.52% of the national poverty-stricken areas (Liu, 2016). It is necessary to conduct ecological land consolidation tailored to regional natural conditions and local humanistic features, which is the only wise option towards sustaining ecological balance and promoting rural vitalization.
Population: Aiming to uproot the intellectual disadvantage hindering regional rural development, relevant measures should be carried out, such as increasing investment in basic education, vocational education, and skills training, and so on.
Land: Targeting areas with frequent soil erosions (the Loess Plateau), stony and rocky deserts (Yunnan and Guizhou provinces and the Guangxi region), and frequent geological disasters (the Qiangtang Plateau and Hengduan Mountains) as well as high-altitude terrains (the Wuling Mountain Area), it is of great significance to introduce the concept of “ecologicalization” into the design of remediation engineering and explore ecological land consolidation model based on local water and soil conditions. For example, restoring the production capacity of cultivated land with a focus on “cultivation” and “protection”, improving the ecological compensation mechanism, and orderly guiding villages in areas with poor living conditions to carry out relocation and combination.
Industry: Taking into account the ecological value of these regions, it should highlight the adjustment of agricultural structure so as to developing characteristic and ecological products such as green food and organic food, and using the network platform to broaden sales channels. For the old revolutionary areas, it should emphasize the significance of promoting cultural and tourism industries by taking advantage of characteristic ‘Red culture’ on the basis of improving support ability of infrastructure construction and public service.

5 Prospects for land consolidation and rural vitalization

5.1 Reshaping the value orientation of land consolidation

Traditional land consolidation measures mainly focused on supplementing cultivated land, improving land quality, and increasing transactional construction land for the purpose of the maximization of economic benefits. However, from the perspective of rural vitalization, the value orientation of land consolidation must be reshaped based on a scientific understanding of urban-rural relations and rural territorial functions. Firstly, urban and rural areas constitute an integrated mutually beneficial system, in which the city’s development is inseparable from the countryside’s support because the newly added population, land, and agricultural products all come from the countryside. The development of the countryside is also inseparable from the leading influential force of the city because the city’s capital, technology, and management system are crucial for rural development. Therefore, based on the principle of urban-rural structural coordination and complementary functions, rural restructuring and vitalization should make full use of urban capital to innovate the financing mechanism of land consolidation, absorb advanced technology and talents to participate in the planning of land consolidation, which is an effective way to realize the vitalization of rural resources while providing space for urban development.
Besides, rural territorial system have multiple functions such as economy, society, ecology and culture etc., and ecological value and cultural value are the unique charms that are different from city. Accordingly, guided by the concept of harmonious coexistence with nature, it needs to actively probe the organic integration of land consolidation and ecological construction, and create multi-level and multi-functional pastoral organisms via establishing ecological networks and green infrastructure. At the same time, it is necessary to coordinate “material vitalization” and “humanistic rejuvenation” in the process of land consolidation, on the basis of rational layout of rural development physical space. More attention should be paid to the inheritance of rural traditional culture, and make the countryside become a carrier with local culture and a homesickness.

5.2 Coordinating land consolidation planning and rural vitalization planning under the unified spatial planning system

The rural territorial system is a natural, ecological, social, and economic complex composed of multiple elements, and the spatial heterogeneity and the diversified development goals of rural territory require that rural vitalization planning should be scientifically formulated to make forward-looking arrangement for spatial morphology, infrastructure, industry etc., based on the identification of regional characteristics. Generally speaking, land consolidation planning makes overall layout for the priority and key areas carrying out land consolidation according to the natural and human factors. Currently, China’s land consolidation planning has been implemented at four levels including national, provincial, municipal, and county, and rural vitalization planning at national level has just been introduced. In the future, based on a top-level design and an institutional guarantee, it is necessary to coordinate land consolidation and rural vitalization to ensure the positive interactions of land, industry and infrastructure under the unified spatial planning system including socio-economic development planning, urban-rural planning, land use planning, and ecological environmental protection planning. In addition, the village-level land consolidation planning has not yet been included in the overall planning system. Village is the basic unit of rural vitalization, and the lack of village planning could inevitably hinder the coordinated development of rural elements. Therefore, it is equally important to explore the synergy between village-level land consolidation planning and rural vitalization planning.

5.3 Exploring the new model combining land consolidation and multifunctional agriculture

At present, China’s agriculture is still dominated by traditional large-scale crop cultivation. Affected by price increases in production factors such as labor, agricultural materials, and land leases, the benefits of grain production are relatively low, and it further leads to a series of problems ensues such as the lack of labor force, insufficient agricultural production materials, extensive agricultural production, and difficulties in promulgating agricultural science and technology, which has become the keys and difficulties to coordinating rural man-land interrelations. Agriculture is the foundation of rural development, which bears multiple functions such as agricultural production, landscape aesthetics, recreation, maintenance of biodiversity, and inheritance of local culture. The connection between land resources and agriculture is significant for the sustainable development of the rural economy and the efficient use of resources. Therefore, in the process of rural production, living and ecological spatial restructuring, land consolidation should be combined with developing new agricultural production and operation forms such as organic agriculture, ecological agriculture, energy agriculture, tourism agriculture, cultural agriculture, so as to increase the added value of agricultural production, solve the shortcomings of low output of traditional crop production and effectively absorb the rural surplus labor force.

6 Discussion and conclusions

(1) Activating rural developmental elements, such as population, land, and industry, is the key to cultivating development momentum and solving the problems of agriculture, rural areas, and farmers. Rural vitalization copes with the loss and decline of the intrinsic elements in rural areas, and it is a development strategy aimed at realizing economic, political, cultural and ecological rejuvenation in rural area by reshaping socio-economic morphology and spatial pattern in rural territory. The complexity of rural territory system determines the implementation process of rural vitalization strategy with the systematized, hierarchical, and regional characteristics.
(2) Comprehensive rural vitalization should be based on the distinctions between urban and rural territorial system and the multi-functional values of rural areas. As a crucial means of promoting rural vitalization, land consolidation is endowed with new connotations such as activating the key elements of rural development, coordinating the vitalization of the physical space and the promotion of the spiritual core, integrating the restructuring of the actual physical space and the rural governance system.
(3) Different socio-economic development stages have different requirements for land use morphology patterns. The process of rural transformation development prompts land users to optimize land use patterns through land consolidation projects, and the transition of land use morphology in turn acts on rural development and vitalization. The orientation and effectiveness of land consolidation has been highly consistent and intrinsically coupled with the needs of socio-economic development and transition in China.
(4) As an important means of regulating man-land interrelations, land consolidation needs to be adapted to the natural conditions and socio-economic development within the region, and adopt appropriate models and paths to promote the benign interactions of population, land and industry through engineering techniques and ecological means.
(5) Under the background of national strategy of rural vitalization, it is necessary to reshape the value orientation of land consolidation based on a scientific understanding of urban-rural relations and rural territorial functions, coordinate land consolidation planning and rural vitalization planning under the unified spatial planning system and explore the new model combining land consolidation and multi-functional agriculture.
As the rural is a complex and comprehensive system, integrating multidisciplinary knowledge, coordinating various development elements and absorbing more skilled manpower are of far-reaching importance for solving rural problems. At present, the relevant theoretical cognition, institutional mechanisms, vitalization models, and implementation paths for advancing rural vitalization are still being explored preliminarily, and land consolidation is also confronted with prominent problems such as an outdated theoretical basis and an obsolete ideology. Consequently, it is imperative to promote scientific, standardized, and regulated land consolidation through theoretical, technological and institutional innovations, so as to achieve a comprehensive vitalization of rural economy, society and ecology, and develop a new pattern of urban-rural integration development.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Fan J, 2015. Draft of major function oriented zoning of China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 70(2): 186-201. (in Chinese)Major Function Oriented Zoning(MFOZ) is the blueprint for the future developmnt and protection pattern of China's territory, and has been raised to from major function zones planning to major function zoning strategy and major function zoning institution. From 2004 to2014, the author organized a series of research projects to compose MFOZ for the country,studied basic theory of regional function and MFOZ technical process, and proposed that space controlling zones of national and provincial scales can be divided into four types: urbanized zones, foodstuff-security zones, ecological safety zones, cultural and natural heritage zones. On this basis, major function zones of county scale should be transferred to optimized, prioritized,restricted, and prohibited zones. In this paper, a regional function identification index system comprising nine quantitative indicators(including water resources, land resources, ecological importance, ecological fragility, environment capacity, disaster risk, economic development level, population concentration and transport superiority) and one qualitative indicator of strategic choice is developed. Based on the single index evaluation, comprehensive evaluation using regional function suitability evaluation index is conducted, aiming at testing several key parameters including lower limit of protection zones and upper limit of development zones at the provincial level. In addition, a planning-oriented zoning method of major function zones is also discussed, which has brought the first MFOZ planning in China. According to the MFOZ caliber, it is forecasted that national spatial development intensity will rise from 3.48% in 2010 to 3.91% in 2020. Furthermore, according to caliber of the provincial integrated MFOZ planning, the area of optimized, prioritized and restricted zones accounts for 1.48%, 13.60%and 84.92%, respectively, and that of urbanized, foodstuff-security and ecological safety zones accounts for 15.08%, 26.11% and 58.81%, respectively. In combination of analyses of development level, resources and environmental carrying status and quality of the people's livelihood, the main characteristics of MFOZ were identified. Through verification, MFOZ draft of national and provincial scales, which is interactively accomplished with "MFOZ Technical Process" put forward by the author, is mostly above 80% identical with what have been forecasted.


Ge D, Long H, Zhang Y, et al., 2018a. Analysis of the coupled relationship between grain yields and agricultural labor changes in China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(1): 93-108.In this paper we establish a model that expresses the coupled relationship between grain yield and agricultural labor changes in China, and present a preliminary discussion of the coupled processes involved in changes in these factors at the county level. Thus, we develop two coefficients on the basis of county-level statistical data for grain yield and agricultural labor for the years 1991, 2000, and 2010, namely, the grain-labor elasticity coefficient(GLEC) and the agricultural labor-transfer effect coefficient(ALTEC). The results of this study show that during the transformation process of agricultural development in China, different kinds of coupled relationships between grain yield and agricultural labor changes co-existed at the same time. For example, between 1991 and 2010, counties characterized by three different coupled modes(i.e., increasing grain yield and decreasing agricultural labor, increasing grain yield and agricultural labor, and decreasing grain yield and agricultural labor) account for 48.85%, 29.11%, and 19.74% of the total across the study area, respectively. Interestingly, a coupled relationship between increasing grain yield and decreasing agricultural labor is mainly concentrated in the traditional farming areas of China, while a coupled relationship between increasing grain yield and agricultural labor is primarily concentrated in pastoral areas and agro-pastoral ecotones in underdeveloped western China. At the same time, a coupled relationship between decreasing grain yield and agricultural labor is concentrated in areas that have experienced a rapid development transition in agriculture, especially the developed southeastern coast of China. The results of this study also show that between 1991 and 2010, 1961 counties experienced a decline in the proportion of agricultural labor; of these, 1452 are also characterized by increasing grain yield, 72.38% of the total. This coupled relationship between grain yield and changes in the proportion of agricultural labor shows a stepped fluctuation and has continually strengthened over time. Data show that mean values for the GLEC and ALTEC increased from –0.25 and –2.93 between 1991 and 2000 to –0.16and –1.78 between 2000 and 2010, respectively. These changes in GLEC and ALTEC illustrate that the influence of agricultural labor changes on increasing grain yields has gradually diminished. Finally, the results of this study reveal that the ‘Hu Huanyong Line' is a significant boundary sub-dividing this coupled relationship between grain yield and changes in agricultural labor.


Ge D, Long H, Zhang Y, et al., 2018b. Farmland transition and its influences on grain production in China.Land Use Policy, 70: 94-105.


Hillman B, 2004. The rise of the community in rural China: Village politics, cultural identity and religious revival in a Hui hamlet.China Journal, 51: 53-73.The article explores the reinvention of rural Chinese communities in their initiatives to rebuild political and cultural identity for social and economic development, and the revival of Islam in a Hui hamlet in southwest China. It presents a story of cultural inventiveness, ethnic assertiveness, kinship conflicts, rural politics, and local-state relations. A case study was conducted on a Hui hamlet, which had referred to all people with Muslim descent in China.


Jiang G, Zhang R, Ma W, et al., 2017. Cultivated land productivity potential improvement in land consolidation schemes in Shenyang, China: Assessment and policy implications.Land Use Policy, 68: 80-88.


Li S, Li X, 2017. Global understanding of farmland abandonment: A review and prospects.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 27(9): 1123-1150.Since the 1950s, noteworthy farmland abandonment has been occurring in many developed countries and some developing countries. This global land use phenomenon has fundamentally altered extensive rural landscapes. A review of global farmland abandonment under the headings of “land use change–driving mechanisms–impacts and consequences–policy responses” found the following: (1) Farmland abandonment has occurred primarily in developed countries in Europe and North America, but the extent of abandonment has varied significantly. (2) Changing socio-economic factors were the primary driving forces for the farmland abandonment. And land marginalization was the fundamental cause, which was due to the drastic increase of farming opportunity cost, while the direct factor for abandonment was the shrink of agricultural labor forces. (3) Whether to abandon, to what extent and its spatial distributions were finally dependent on integrated effect from the physical conditions, laborer attributes, farming and regional socio-economic conditions at the village, household and parcel scales. With the exception of Eastern Europe, farmland abandonment was more likely to occur in mountainous and hilly areas, due to their unfavorable farming conditions. (4) A study of farmland abandonment should focus on its ecological and environmental effects, while which is more positive or more negative are still in dispute. (5) Increasing agricultural subsidies will be conductive to slowing the rate of farmland abandonment, but this is not the only measure that needs to be implemented.Due to China’s rapid urbanization, there is a high probability that the rate of abandonment will increase in the near future. However, very little research has focused on this rapid land-use trend in China, and, as a result, there is an inadequate understanding of the dynamic mechanisms and consequences of this phenomenon. This paper concludes by suggesting some future directions for further research in China. These directions include monitoring regional and national abandonment dynamics, analyzing trends, assessing the risks and socio-economic effects of farmland abandonment, and informing policy making.


Li X, Yang Y, Liu Y, 2017. Research progress in man-land relationship evolution and its resource-environment base in China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 27(8): 899-924.Man-land relationship research,as the core of geographical research,runs through each development stage of Geography.Based on extensive literature review,this paper systematically generalizes the connotations,research development and contents of man-land relationship in China.(1) It explores the connotations and evolvement rules of man-land relationship in different social development stages in China,and finds that the core role of man-land relationship in geographical research has been strengthened continuously.Changing with times,its connotations have been considerably enriched by sustainable development and other notions,and so does its theoretical system.(2) It applies the bibliometric method to sketch out the basic research status of man-land relationship in China.Specifically,it quantitatively identifies the funding sources,major research teams and journals for publication.It finds that the funding sources show a diversification trend with national funding being the primary source of research grants.The most competitive research teams are mainly concentrated in the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research,Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and normal universities.Journals sponsored by The Geographical Society of China are most influential in publishing man-land relationship research.(3) As resources and environment are the fundamental carriers of man-land relationship,this study focuses further on the research on resource-environmental base of man-land relationship,and finds that the resource-environmental base research in China has gone through an evolution process from single factor perspective research to comprehensive multiple perspective research gradually.Research themes have also experienced similar changes from land,water,energy minerals or other single factor research to comprehensive factor research of resources and environment.Empirical study on national and regional development strategies is the feature of man-land relationship in China.More emphasis should be put on considering and following the changes in features of "man" and "land" and research on the impacts of new factors on man-land relationship in a developing and dynamic manner in the future.Particularly,we should pay more attention to research on the impacts of spatio-temporal changes in resource-environment absolute location on modes of man-land interaction,and to strengthening interdisciplinary research and systematic research on comprehensive techniques so as to advance the development of application of man-land relationship theories and practices.


Li Y, Hans W, Zheng X et al.Zheng X , 2016. Bottom-up initiatives and revival in the face of rural decline: Case studies from China and Sweden.Journal of Rural Studies, 47: 506-513.It is necessary for rural communities to meet conditions of decline, including depopulation, with effective strategies for rural revival and revitalisation. Based on Hirschman’s ‘exit-voice’ theory, this paper investigates the way in which local stakeholders respond to processes of rural depopulation. Case studies undertaken in Xiaoguan village in China and in 03re in Sweden reveal the effectiveness of bottom-up revitalization initiatives in combating rural decline. We show how local stakeholders’ strong “voices” in these places—which called for improved living conditions and increased job opportunities—held people and groups together, encouraging them to work together with shared values and attitude. The strong leadership demonstrated either by local committees or in stakeholders’ self-organized actions played an important role in carrying out revitalisation initiatives. We highlight the importance of not only reviving economies but also creating desirable rural lifestyles. Our findings also emphasize the need for bottom-up initiatives to align with government policy and regional development plans.


Liu H, 2016. Study on implementation of targeted poverty alleviation and regional coordinated development.Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 31(3): 320-327. (in Chinese)Rural poverty reduction is the most difficult task for building a well-off society in an all-round way in China by the year of 2020. At present,targeted poverty alleviation and poverty reduction program in concentrated zones of poverty are the main models for poverty alleviation in China. In 2011,The Chinese government increased rural poverty standard to 2300 RMB(rural annual per capital income at constant price in 2010) in "China's rural poverty alleviation and development program(2011_2020)",which is 92% higher than that in 2009. As the raise of poverty standard and the increase of number of poor people,although the contiguous and concentrated distribution of povertystricken areas has not changed significantly,the geography distribution of poor people is becoming more concentrated at micro-scale,and more disperse at macro-scale. Most poverty stricken regions are in the important eco-function areas,which results in "environment-related poverty". Meanwhile,poverty reduction objective is changed from having enough to eat and wear to narrowing the gap,enhance the development capacity,and promote regional coordinated development. Based on the above characteristics of China's rural poverty,the paper analyzes the challenges in face of poverty alleviation in China at present,such as the contradiction between ecological protection and poverty reduction,low quality of labor forces,and the lack of regional central city or economic growth pole in the contiguous and concentrated poverty stricken areas. The conception and meaning of regional targeted poverty alleviation are proposed in this paper,which includes:(1) to establish an index system for regional multi-dimensional poverty identification,which comprises not only income as the key indicator but also health,education,and social participation ability,etc.,and to carry out regional target poverty identification;(2) to take multi-measures for poverty reduction,such as eco-poverty alleviation,development of green industries with local advantages,and education improvement,etc.;(3) to classify regional types of poverty stricken areas and implement different policies in different geographical scales,such as village,county,or concentrated zones of poverty,and different types of poverty. In the end,in view of the shortages of the current two major poverty alleviation models,suggestions are proposed in expanding the contents of targeted poverty alleviation and promoting regional coordinated development.

Liu Y, 2011. Scientifically promoting the strategy of reclamation and readjustment of rural land in China.China Land Science, 25(4): 3-8. (in Chinese)

Liu Y, 2018. Research on the urban-rural integration and rural revitalization in the new era in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 73(4): 637-650. (in Chinese)Cities and villages are components of a specific organism.Only the sustainable development of two parts can support the prosperous development as a whole.According to the theory of man-earth areal system,urban-rural integrated system and rural regional system are the theoretical bases for entirely recognizing and understanding urban-rural relationship.To handle the increasingly severe problems of "rural disease" in rapid urbanization,accelerating rural revitalization in an all-round way is not only a major strategic plan for promoting the urban-rural integration and rural sustainable development,but also a necessary requirement for solving the issues related to agriculture,rural areas,and rural people in the new era and securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.This study explores the basic theories of urban-rural integration and rural revitalization and analyzes the main problems and causes of rural development in the new era,proposing problem-oriented scientific approaches and frontier research fields of urban-rural integration and rural revitalization in China.Results show that the objects of urban-rural integration and rural revitalization is a regional multi-body system,which mainly includes urban-rural integration,rural complex,village-town organism,and housing-industry symbiosis.Rural revitalization focuses on promoting the reconstruction of urban-rural integration system and constructs a multi-level goal system including urban-rural infrastructure networks,zones of rural development,fields of village-town space and poles of rural revitalization.Currently,the rural development is facing the five problems:high-speed non-agricultural transformation of agriculture production factors,over-fast aging and weakening of rural subjects,increasingly hollowing and abandoning of rural construction land,severe fouling of rural soil and water environment and deep pauperization of rural poverty-stricken areas.The countryside is an important basis for the socioeconomic development in China,and the strategies of urban-rural integration and rural revitalization are complementary.The rural revitalization focuses on establishing the institutional mechanism for integrated urban-rural development and constructs the comprehensive development system of rural regional system,which includes transformation,reconstruction and innovation in accordance with the requirements of thriving businesses,pleasant living environments,social etiquette and civility,effective governance,and prosperity.Geographical research on rural revitalization should focus on the complexity and dynamics of rural regional system and explore new schemes,models and scientific approaches for the construction of villages and towns,which are guided by radical cure of "rural disease",implement the strategy of rural revitalization polarization,construct the evaluation index system and planning system of rural revitalization,thus providing advanced theoretical references for realizing the revitalization of China's rural areas in the new era.

Liu Y, Li Y, 2017. Revitalize the world’s countryside. Nature, 548: 275-277.


Liu Y, Zhu L, Li Y, 2012. The essential theories and models of rural land consolidation in the transitional period of China.Progress in Geography, 31(6): 777-782. (in Chinese)Rural land consolidation is an important approach to supplying cultivated land,revitalizing the stock land,optimizing rural-urban land,using land intensively,and increasing land productivity.At present the phenomenon of rural settlement hollowing during rapid urbanization is severe in China.The Chinese rural population is characterized by a huge base,the distribution in widely scattered villages,and a remarkable quantity of rural households.To solve the serious problem of aggravation of rural hollowing and the abnormal increase of rural residential land in the rural-urban transformation period of China,the article analyzed the strategic targets and practical significance of promoting rural land consolidation.The essential theories of rural land consolidation which include the optimal allocation of land resources during rural land consolidation,"Three Integration" model of hollowed rural land,the lifecycles of rural hollowing evolvement and Christaller's Central Place Theory,were also interpreted.Besides,this article made a thorough study on the models of rural land consolidation such as regional difference model,urban-rural integration model,"One Consolidation and Three Returning"integrated model and overall planning-collaborative decision model.And the mechanism innovation of rural land consolidation was also put forward in the paper.


Long H, 2012. Land use transition and rural transformation development.Progress in Geography, 31(2): 131-138. (in Chinese)Recently,related researches on land use transition combining with the characteristics of China socio-economic development have been carried out rapidly since the research field of land use transition was introduced to China.Land use morphology is the key content of land use transition research.However,the concept and connotation of land use morphology has been developed continuously with the in-depth research and socio-economic change and innovation.Based on the analysis of the evolvement of the concept and connotation of land use morphology,this paper argues that there are two formats for depicting land use morphology: one is dominant morphology,and the other is recessive morphology.The dominant land use morphology refers to the quantity,structure and spatial pattern of land use,and the recessive land use morphology includes the land-use features in the aspects such as quality,property rights,management mode,fixed input and productive ability.Then,a conceptualization of the models of land use transition was annotated based on the two formats of land use morphology.Land use transition refers to the changes in land use morphology of a certain region over a certain period of time driven by socio-economic change and innovation,and it usually corresponds to the transition of socio-economic development phase.Rural transformation development means the restructuring of rural socio-economic morphology and territorial spatial patterns resulted from local actors esponses and readjustments to the change,recombination and interaction of socio-economic development factors and rural-urban migration in the process of rapid urbanization and industrialization,including the changes in traditional rural industries,the employment mode,the consumption structure,and the social structure.Such transformation radically changes the urban-rural relationship and the relationship between agriculture and industry.Since farmland and rural settlement are the engines driving land use transition and rural transformation development,the interaction between rural transformation development and farmland and rural settlement transition was analyzed to understand the relationship between land use transition and rural transformation development.Finally,the future research fields concerning land use transition and rural transformation development were suggested as follows: the dynamic pattern and territorial type of land use transition and rural transformation development;the interaction and dynamical mechanism of land use transition and rural transformation development;the resources and environment effects of land use transition and rural transformation development;and the ways and countermeasures of optimizing and adjusting land use transition and rural transformation development.


Long H, 2014. Land consolidation: An indispensable way of spatial restructuring in rural China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 24(2): 211-225.The implementation of new type industrialization and urbanization and agricultural modernization strategies lacks of a major hand grip and spatial supporting platform, due to long-term existed “dual-track” structure of rural-urban development in China as well as unstable rural development institution and mechanism. It is necessary to restructure rural production, living and ecological space by carrying out land consolidation, so as to establish a new platform for building new countryside and realizing urban-rural integration development in China. This paper develops the concept and connotation of rural spatial restructuring. Basing on the effects analysis of industrialization and urbanization on rural production, living and ecological space, the mechanism of pushing forward rural spatial restructuring by carrying out land consolidation is probed. A conceptualization of the models of rural production, living and ecological spatial restructuring is analyzed combining with agricultural land consolidation, hollowed villages consolidation and industrial and mining land consolidation. Finally, the author argues that a “bottom-up” restructuring strategy accompanied by a few “top-down” elements is helpful for smoothly pushing forward rural spatial restructuring in China. In addition, the optimization and restructuring of rural production, living and ecological space will rely on the innovations of regional engineering technology, policy and mechanism, and mode of rural land consolidation, and more attentions should be paid to rural space, the foundation base and platform for realizing urban-rural integration development.


Long H, Ge D, Zhang Y, et al., 2018. Changing man-land interrelations in China’s farming area under urbanization and its implications for food security.Journal of Environmental Management, 209: 440-451.

Long H, Li Y, Liu Y et al., 2012. Accelerated restructuring in rural China fueled by ‘increasing vs. decreasing balance’ land-use policy for dealing with hollowed villages.Land Use Policy, 29(1): 11-22.Rapid industrialization and urbanization in China has produced a unique phenomenon of ‘village-hollowing’, shaped by the dual-track structure of socio-economic development. This paper analyzes the phenomenon of ‘village-hollowing’, identifying the processes and influences that have driven their evolution, and highlighting the challenge that the locking-up of unused rural housing land in ‘hollowed villages’ presents for China in the context of concerns over urban development and food security. The paper examines the ‘increasing vs. decreasing balance’ land-use policy has been adopted by the Chinese government in response to the problem, which seeks to balance increases in urban construction land with a reduction in rural construction land. The implementation of the scheme is discussed through a case study of Huantai county in Shandong province, drawing attention to its contested and contingent nature. It is argued that the policy is a top-down approach to rural restructuring that necessarily requires the acquiescence of local actors. However, it is noted that failures to adequate engage with local actors has led to resistance to the policy, including violent protests against the demolition of housing. The paper suggests that lessons might be learned from Europe by incorporating elements of ‘bottom-up’ planning into the process. As such, the paper demonstrates that rural restructuring in China is a dynamic, multi-scalar and hybrid process that shares common elements and experiences with rural restructuring in Europe and elsewhere, but which is also strongly shaped by the distinctive political, economic, social and cultural context of China.


Long H, Liu Y, Li X, et al., 2010. Building new countryside in China: A geographical perspective.Land Use Policy, 27(2): 457-470.The central government of China recently mapped out an important strategy on “building a new countryside” to overall coordinate urban and rural development and gear up national economic growth. This paper analyzes the potential factors influencing the building of a new countryside in China, and provides a critical discussion of the problems and implications concerning carrying out this campaign, from a geographical perspective. To some extent, regional discrepancies, rural poverty, rural land-use issues and the present international environment are four major potential factors. Our analyses indicated that land consolidation, praised highly by the governments, is not a panacea for China's rural land-use issues concerning building a new countryside, and the key problem is how to reemploy the surplus rural labors and resettle the land-loss farmers. More attentions should be paid to caring for farmers’ future livelihoods in the process of implementing the strategy. The regional measures and policies concerning building a new countryside need to take the obvious regional discrepancies both in physical and socio-economic conditions into account. In a World Trade Organization (WTO) membership environment, efficient land use for non-agricultural economic development, to some extent, needs to be a priority in the eastern region instead of blindly conserving land to maintain food security, part task of which can be shifted to the central region and the northeastern region. More preferential policies should be formulated to reverse the rural brain–drain phenomenon. Based on the analyses and the complexity of China's rural problems, the authors argue that building new countryside in China will be an arduous task and a long road, the target of which is hard to achieve successfully in this century.


Long H, Qu Y, 2018. Land use transitions and land management: A mutual feedback perspective.Land Use Policy, 74: 111-120.This paper develops a theoretical model of regional land use transitions based on expanding and deepening the concept and connotations of land use transition. With the socio-economic development, transformations between different land use types during a certain period of time cause the change of the conflicts resulted from regional land use morphology pattern from strong to weak. These transformations will lead to a new balance of regional land use morphology pattern consists of different land use types corresponding to related economic departments, respectively, and will finally realize the qualitative transformation of urban-rural land use system. Then, the mechanism of mutual feedback between land use transition and land management was probed based on a three-fold framework of natural system-economic system-managerial system. Generally, land use transitions are affected by land management via economic measures, land engineering, policy and institution. Land use transitions can also contribute to the adjustment of land management measures via socio-ecological feedback. The authors argue that the formulation of land management policies and institutions needs to take into account the land use transition phase of targeted region, not only current land use transition phase but also its subsequent phase corresponding to regional socio-economic development transformation.


Long H, Tu S, 2018. Land use transition and rural vitalization.China Land Science, 32(7): 1-6. (in Chinese)The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between land use transition and rural vitalization. The methods employed include theoretical analysis and literature review. The concept and connotation of land use transition are developed, and its relationship with rural vitalization is analyzed in the paper. Meanwhile, this paper puts forward the paths of land use transition to promote rural vitalization. The results are as follows: regional land use morphology and land use transition phase usually correspond to the specific regional socioeconomic development phase, leading to the special process of land use transition; rural restructuring is an important measure for facilitating rural vitalization as well as a linkage between land use transition and rural vitalization, and rural vitalization relying on land use transition and rural restructuring is a systematic project; during the process of rural vitalization, land users optimize land use morphologies via some rural spatial restructuring approaches including land use planning and allocation as well as land consolidation engineering, in return, the change of land use morphologies affects rural restructuring and vitalization; and the paths of land use transition to promote rural vitalization include vitalizing rural industry via rural production spatial restructuring, vitalizing rural ecological environment via rural ecological spatial restructuring, and vitalizing rural culture and governance via rural living spatial restructuring.

Long H, Tu S, Ge D, et al., 2016. The allocation and management of critical resources in rural China under restructuring: Problems and prospects.Journal of Rural Studies, 47: 392-412.61Rapid development transition has triggered corresponding restructuring in rural China.61Analyzes rural restructuring in China affected by allocation and management of critical resources.61Emphasizes role of regional resources in formulating development policy and restructuring rural areas.61Restructures rural development space, rural industry, and rural social organization and management mainbody.61Fully understanding the influences of globalization on rural restructuring in China.


Qu Y, Long H, 2018. The economic and environmental effects of land use transitions under rapid urbanization and the implications for land use management.Habitat International, 82: 113-121.


Tu S, Long H, 2017. Rural restructuring in China: Theory, approaches and research prospect.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 27(10): 1169-1184.


Tu S, Long H, Liu Y, et al., 2015. Research progress and prospects in the methodology of assessing the potential of rural residential land consolidation.Journal of Natural Resources, 30(11): 1956-1968. (in Chinese)Under the background of rapid industrialization and urbanization, the phenomenon of hollowed villages is aggravating increasingly in China. So it is imperative to carry out rural residential land consolidation, especially in hollowed villages. Assessing the potential of land consolidation is an important part of rural residential land consolidation. This paper reviews related researches about the methods assessing the potential of rural residential land consolidation in order to provide technical references for the practice of hollowed villages consolidation.Firstly, three basic potential evaluation methods were elaborated, including the methods based on per capita construction land standard, per household construction land standard, and vacancy rate of rural residential land. Then, this paper introduces some new methods for potential evaluation in detail, i.e., the comprehensive potential measurement of multi-factors, and remotesensing interpretation. Finally, this paper proposes that in the future more attentions should be paid to: 1) to emphasize the application of remote-sensing technology; 2) to establish the evaluation index system that reflect the integrated regional differentiation; and 3) to strengthen the dynamic prediction of potential evaluation index based on future rural spatial restructuring and the construction pattern of towns and villages.

Tu S, Long H, Zhang Y, et al., 2018. Rural restructuring at village level under rapid urbanization in metropolitan suburbs of China and its implications for innovations in land use policy.Habitat International, 77: 143-152.


Wang J, Zhong L, 2017. Problems and suggestion for developing ecological construction in land management work.Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering (Transactions of the CSAE), 33(5): 308-314. (in Chinese)At present,China is in the period of economic and social transformation and the initial stage of ecological civilization construction.The career of China land consolidation is in unprecedented strategic opportunity period.Now the development of land consolidation is facing a totally new situation,new opportunities,but also many serious challenges.Ecological transformation of land consolidation is the inevitable requirement of the development of the national strategy,but also the trend of the development of land consolidation.Proportion of ecological research literature on land consolidation in research literature on land consolidation is getting higher and higher.Ecological land consolidation research has become an important part of land consolidation research.Based on the study of ecological transformation background of Chinese land consolidation,this paper analyzed the existing ecological problems of land consolidation,discussed the connotation of ecological land consolidation,and proposed"Four development suggestions"for ecological transformation of land consolidation to safeguard the food security and realize the environmental protection function of land consolidation.There are some ecological problems in the current land consolidation work.First,theory method and technology system of ecological land consolidation are not perfect.Compared with developed countries,China鈥檚 ecological land consolidation technology system seriously lags behind the practical application,and it has not yet formed a systematic scientific theoretical method and technical system for ecological land consolidation.Second,land consolidation is lack of attention to rural culture.Some places in the land consolidation simply pursue quantity of cultivated land and modern architectural styles,and ignore the protection of rural culture.Third,ecological land consolidation is lack of new ecological material and new technology,which is difficult to meet the needs of the development of ecological land consolidation.This paper stated that in the era of ecological civilization construction,land consolidation is no longer a simple planning and construction of land use.Ecological land consolidation should combine land consolidation with traditional culture and regional development,improve its implementation path,public participation and development model,and reduce ecological pressure and its negative impact.The ecological environment effects should be considered in the process of land consolidation.And protecting the ecological environment should be the main target of land consolidation.The goals of intensive production,enhancing quality of life,and improving ecological environment should be realized through the"quantity control,quality management,ecological protection and management".According to the ecological environment problems in land consolidation,this paper proposed"Four development suggestions",which are 1)promoting the awareness of the ecological effect of land consolidation;2)improving the study of theory and technology system of ecological land consolidation;3)accelerating the development of new ecological material and new technology of land consolidation work;4)strengthening public participation,and paying attention to the protection of rural landscape and the application of local techniques.With these 4 suggestions,land consolidation can be regarded as the powerful supporter and important platform to maintain food security and protect the environment in an all-round way.Of course,the legal system is also needed to promote the transformation of ecological land consolidation.Improving land consolidation planning system,and strengthening education are also the important guarantee of ecological transformation of land consolidation.

Yan J, Xia F, Bao H, 2015. Strategic planning framework for land consolidation in China: A top-level design based on SWOT analysis.Habitat International, 48: 46-54.China is in the midst of an unprecedented and critical period of strategic opportunities for land consolidation. In this process, the country has been confronted with new situations, opportunities, and serious challenges, all of which urgently require top-level design of strategic planning framework for land consolidation. Based on an SWOT analysis, we propose a strategic planning framework for land consolidation at the national level, with a focus on clarification of internal Strength–Weakness strategies and external Opportunity–Threat strategies involved in the land consolidation process. Whereas it can be concluded that land consolidation in China has not yet entered the stage of landscape-ecological pattern, it is on the brink of that stage. Thus, the proposed strategic plan should provide strong protection for continuous promotion of land consolidation through the application of a top-down and comprehensive design considering agriculture production, livelihood and ecology as comprehensive targets. Meanwhile, it should also unswervingly adhere to the “red line,” optimize the layout of urban and rural land use and propel a new landscape-ecological pattern of land consolidation. In this way, strategy-oriented support can be provided to improve land consolidation implementation and ensure that it is stable, coordinated and effective.


Yan J, Xia F, Ma M, 2016. Strategy orientations of transformation development: land consolidation in the new period of China.China Land Science, 30(2): 3-10. (in Chinese)The purpose of this article is to identify the emerging issues and transformation requirements of land consolidation, to redefine its essence and functions, and then to figure out the strategic orientations of transformation development based on the macroscopic background of national strategy development. Methods of literature review and comparative analysis are applied. The results show that currently, land consolidation is in a new period with transformation requirements. Against the new definition of its essence as "readjustment of human-earth interrelation" and functions as "satisfaction of individuals' improvement requirements in production, life and ecology", ten strategic orientations are put forward in allusion to current problems such as cramped cognitive, low positioning, homogeneous pattern, and lack of innovative concepts, coordination as well as public participation. The conclusion is that land consolidation should be changed from land-only to high-level integration in its position, from quantity-priority to quaternity in its concept, from grain production to landscape protection in its orientation, from land-oriented to people-oriented in its core, from protecting farmland to optimizing production, life and ecology in its target, from single implement to feature generalization in its object, from project-carrying to domain-coordinationin its scale, from homogeneity to differentiation in its pattern, from top-down to up-down in its path, from fiscal burden to multiple modelin its fund.With this ten strategy orientations, land consolidation can be regarded as the powerful gripper and important platform to balance urban-rural development and contribute to the new goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way.

Yang R, Liu Y, Long H, 2015. The study on non-agricultural transformation co-evolution characteristics of “population-land-industry”: Case study of the Bohai Rim in China.Geographical Research, 34(3): 475-486. (in Chinese)

Ye C, Chen M, 2008. Review about the theoretical evolvement of rural-ubran relations.China Population, Resources and Environment, (1): 34-39. (in Chinese)One of the development theories is focused on rural-urban relations.The theoretical evolvement of rural-ubran relations have undergone the process of "unite-dispart-unite".Compared to the departed theories,such as dual structure,rural-urban interactions are emphasized nowadays,and they have become one of the important contents achieving sustainable development.Many forieign students hold that all kinds of flows play a important role linking cities with country,so rural-urban interactions should are studied in the unceasing changing global and local social,economic,political and cultural context.Chinese Scholars emphasize particularly on structural transformation of rural-urban population,industries and land use,but relatively neglect culture and environment.It is important for us to connect China's development phase with the special background of Chinese rural-urban cultural tradition and the course of globlization and modernization.


Yu Z, Xiao L, Chen X, et al., 2018. Spatial restructuring and land consolidation of urban-rural settlement in mountainous areas based on ecological niche perspective.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(2): 131-151.With the socio-economic development associated with urbanization, the urban-rural relationship has changed across the world. In China, due to the urban-rural dual structure, these changes turn out to be more complicated. Spatial restructuring are suggested as the main strategies and spatial supporting platforms for urban-rural development. However, the theory still lacks solid methodology and support from systematic empirical studies. This study seeks an adequate scientific methodology and discusses the difference of urban-rural trans- formation in plains and mountainous areas. A case in Shanghang County, China, demon- strates: 1) The compound ecological niche model can be a suitable approach in urban-rural restructuring, especially in mountainous areas. 2) The urban-rural development area with highly inappropriate, slightly appropriate, moderately appropriate, and highly appropriate areas are 1273.2 km2 (44.69%); 906.1 km2 (31.80%); 509.4 km2 (17.88%); and 160.1 km2 (5.62%), respectively. 3) The "deserting villages" in mountainous areas play positive syner- gistic roles in urbanization, in contrast to the "hollowing villages" common in plain areas. 4) The central town-village will become the most important settlement in mountainous areas. Therefore, we suggest more attention should be paid to environmental capacity in the con- struction of central town-villages. This study significantly extends the understanding of "hol- lowing village" theory and regional planning.


Zhang J, 2018. Village value orientation and rural revitalization.Chinese Rural Economy, (1): 2-10. (in Chinese)Economic construction, cultural construction, ecological construction, welfare construction and political construction are important elements in the overall revitalization of the countryside, serving as leverage for solving the contradiction between the unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. This study proposes to formulate a rural revitalization law at the national level, draw up pertinent plans and set up relevant institutions. It advocates for a main leadership responsibility system, and to completely break the dual structure of urban and rural areas and develop innovative mechanisms of rural revitalization.

Zhang Y, Long H, Ma L,et al., 2018. Farmland function evolution in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain: Processes, patterns and mechanisms.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(6): 759-777.Using counties as the basic analysis unit, this study established an evaluation index system for farmland function (FF) from economic, social, and ecological perspectives. The method combining entropy weighting and multiple correlation coefficient weighting was adopted to determine the weights, and the FF indices were calculated for each county. Subsequently, the spatio-temporal characteristics of farmland function evolution (FFE) were analyzed and the coupled relationships between the sub-functions were explored based on a coupling coordination model. At the same time, the dynamic mechanism of FFE was quantitatively analyzed using a spatial econometric regression analysis method. The following major conclusions were drawn: (1) The farmland economic function generally exhibited a declining trend during 1990 2010, and it is essential to point out that it was stronger in underdeveloped and agriculture-dominated counties, while it continuously weakened in developed areas. Farmland social function decreased in 60.29% of the counties, whereas some counties, which were mostly located in north of Zhengzhou and west of Dezhou and Cangzhou, Yantai, and Weihai, clearly increased. A dramatic decline in farmland ecological function occurred around Beijing, Tianjin, and Jinan. Areas located in the northern part of Henan Province and the central part of Shandong Province saw an increase in ecological function. (2) There was a significant spatial difference in the coupling degree and coordination degree of the sub-functions, and the decoupling phenomenon highlighted this. The changes in social function and ecological function lagged behind economic function in developed areas, but these were highly coupled in some underdeveloped areas. (3) FFE in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain (HHHP) is resulted from the comprehensive effects of regional basic conditions and external driving factors. Furthermore, the transitions of population and industry under urbanization and industrialization played a decisive role in the evolution intensity and direction of farmland sub-systems, including the economy, society, and the ecology. According to the results mentioned above, promoting the transformation from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture should be regarded as an important engine driving sustainable development in the HHHP. Taking different regional characteristics of FFE into account, differentiated and diversified farmland use and management plans should be implemented from more developed urban areas to underdeveloped traditional agricultural areas.


Zhang Y, Tu S, Long H et al.Long H , 2017. Calculating model of hollowed villages consolidation potential and its application in farming plain area: A case study of Yucheng city, Shandong province, China.Journal of Agricultural Resources and Environment, 34(4): 335-342. (in Chinese)Hollowed villages consolidation(HVC)is regarded as an imperative way to optimize the vacant and idle land arising in rural areas.Establishing an appropriate potential calculating model for HVC, which is suitable for the territorial functions of farming plain area, provides a basis for implementing HVC. Based on the current per capita construction land use standard method, this paper took the urgency, physical suitability and feasibility of HVC into consideration and established a calculating model of HVC potential. Finally, Yucheng City of Shandong Province was taken as a case to make an empirical analysis. The results showed that:(1)The urgency, physical suitability and feasibility of HVC presented a significant regional difference. The correction coefficients of the urgency, physical suitability and feasibility of HVC changed in the variation of 0.18~0.96, 0.69~0.84 and 0.11~0.77, respectively;(2)The theoretical and realistic potential of HVC in Yucheng City were 3 517.86 hm2 and 1 853.18 hm2, respectively. The new-added arable land coefficient was 16.89%. In recent years, the HVC inYucheng City should focus on Shizhong residential district, Shiliwang Town and Fangsi Town. The other villages and towns might be set on in late stage.(3)In view of the lower physical suitability of HVC around Shizhong residential district, transforming the vacant and idle land into other construction land might be a better choice. Meanwhile, the land vacated in other towns should be transformed into arable land as much as possible via land consolidation.