Based on the cost-income data of agricultural products and relevant statistical data, taking major grain crops and economic crops in the process of cultivated land use as study cases, we studied characteristics of the temporal variation of cultivated land use intensity and its composition in Shandong Province from 1980 to 2015, and then analyzed its main driving factors. The results showed that: (1) The total intensity of major crops in Shandong Province showed a rising trend from 919.73 Yuan ha-1 in 1980 to 3285.06 Yuan ha-1 in 2015, and the average annual intensity of economic crops was higher than that of grain crops. The labor cost and material cost of major crops both showed an increasing trend, but the material input was much higher than labor input for grain crops, while the labor input was much higher than material input for economic crops. (2) The labor intensity of major crops in Shandong Province showed a decreasing trend from 501.75 man-day ha-1 in 1980 to 161.93 man-day ha-1 in 2015. The labor intensity of grain crops was lower than that of economic crops and its decline rate was fast. On the contrary, the capital intensity showed an increasing trend from 518.33 Yuan ha-1 in 1980 to 1159.95 Yuan ha-1 in 2015. In the internal composition of capital intensity, the proportion of yield-increasing inputs such as seed, farmyard manure, fertilizer, pesticide and drainage and irrigation decreased gradually, while the proportion of labor-saving inputs such as agricultural machinery increased significantly. (3) The cultivated land use intensity in Shandong Province had significant negative correlations with the amount of agricultural labor and cultivated land area per capita. The primary direct driving factor was the net income per unit cost of major crops, but the time response lagged by 1-3 years. The main indirect driving factor was the reform of agricultural policy.
This paper examines the spatial characteristics of farmer/household behaviors in regional rice cropping systems (RCS), and the results provide necessary information for developing strategies that will maintain regional food security. Through field study and statistical analysis based on 402 households questionnaires finished in 2014-2015 in the Poyang Lake Region (PLR) of China, we arrived at two main conclusions. First, single- and double cropping rice were found across the study area, but showed a general distribution trend, with double cropping rice in the southeast part (especially in Jinxian county) and single cropping rice in the northwest (particularly in De’an county). Second, the household decisions concerning RCS varied in different parts of the PLR, but double cropping was the dominant type, with about 63.57% of the respondent households in the PLR cultivating double cropping rice. However, the multiple-cropping index of paddy rice was only 1.55. About 3% of interviewed households had altered their RCS during this period. Based on these findings, the local governments should guide farmers’ paddy field cultivation behaviors by increasing the comparative efficiency of rice production, promoting appropriate scale operations and land conversion, as well as optimizing rice growing conditions to improve the multiple cropping index and enhance food provision. Finally, land-use efficiency and more sustainable use of land resources should be improved.
A combination of rapid industrialization, economic development and urbanization has caused a series of issues such as resource shortages, ecosystem destruction, environmental pollution and tension between human needs and land conservation. In order to promote balanced development of human, resources, ecosystems, the environment, and the economy and society, it is vital to conceptualize ecological spaces, production spaces and living spaces. Previous studies of ecological-production-living spaces focused mainly on urban and rural areas; few studies have examined mountainous areas. The Taihang Mountains, a key area between the North China Plain and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area providing ecological shelter and the safeguarding of crucial water sources, suffer from increasing problems of fragile environment, inappropriate land use and tensions in the human-land relationship. However, studies of the ecological, production, and living spaces in the Taihang Mountains are still lacking. Therefore, this study, based on the concept of ecological-production-living spaces and using data from multiple sources, took the Taihang Mountains as the study area to build a functional land classification system for ecological-production-living spaces. After the classification system was in place, spatial distribution maps for ecological, production and living spaces were delineated. This space mapping not only characterized the present land use situation, but also established a foundation for future land use optimization. Results showed that the area of ecological space was 78,440 km2, production space 51,861 km2 and living space 6,646 km2, accounting for 57.28%, 37.87% and 4.85% of the total area, respectively. Ecological space takes up the most area and is composed mainly of forests and grasslands. Additionally, most of the ecological space is located in higher elevation mountainous areas, and plays an important role in regulating and maintaining ecological security. Production space, mostly farmlands sustaining livelihoods inside and outside the region, is largely situated in lower elevation plains and hilly areas, as well as in low-lying mountainous basins. Living space has the smallest area and is concentrated mainly in regions with relatively flat terrain and convenient transportation for human settlements.
Correlated increases in population and demand for food over recent decades have caused remarkable changes in cropland area globally. Utilizing the latest data product provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), this paper analyzes annual trends and spatiotemporal variations in cropland area and discusses cropland conversion, losses, and increases globally between 1992 and 2015 at a 300 m resolution. The results show that the global area of cropland increased rapidly between 1992 and 2004, more slowly between 2004 and 2012, and began to decrease gradually since 2012. First, an increasing trend in cropland area has been maintained solely in Africa; all other regions are characterized by decreasing trends in later periods despite different transition points and change rates. A reduction in cropland area frequently emerged earlier in high-income countries. Second, increase rates in cropland area have largely decreased in recent years while the overall rate of loss has remained almost the same. Hotspot areas of global cropland increases are mainly concentrated around the edge of the Amazon forest, Eurasian Steppe, and Sahara Desert. These hotspot areas of global cropland loss shifted from Europe to Asia while built-up areas have expanded at the expense of cropland.