Cropland Dynamics and Their Influence on the Productivity in Northern Shaanxi, China, for the Past 20 Years: Based on Remotely Sensed Data

  • 1 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    4 University of Oklahoma, 660 Parrington Oval, Norman, OK 73019-0390, USA

Received date: 2014-04-13

  Revised date: 2014-05-18

  Online published: 2014-09-10

Supported by

National Basic Research Program of China (2010CB950900) and National Key Technology R&D Program (2013BAC0304).


In this paper, we mainly focused our research on northern Shaanxi district, which is a pilot area of the Grain for Green Project. We compared the spatial distribution patterns of croplands and their productivity for the past 20 years (from the end of the 1980s to 2010). Cropland dynamics for the past 20 years were interpreted from medium- and high-resolution remote sensing images (Landsat TM/ETM+). In addition, using the GLO-PEM and AGRO-VPM models with a medium resolution and long time series remote sensing dataset (AVHRR/MODIS), net primary productivity (NPP) and its relationship with cropland were estimated. Finally, the effect of cropland change on productivity was analyzed. The results show that during the first decade of the research period, cropland area and productivity in northern Shaanxi experienced a small boost, while in the latter decade, both cropland area and NPP were significantly reduced. The main cause of the increase in cropland was the reclamation of large area of grassland and unutilized land to meet the food demands of the local population as well as to compensate for the occupation of urban constructions. While the main cause of the decrease in cropland was the implementation of the Grain for Green Project. In addition, urbanization was also a key factor. Overall, during the past 20 years, the total area of cropland in northern Shaanxi decreased by 42.56%, and cropland NPP dropped by 41.90%. This study is of great importance for the assessment of regional cropland security, food security and scientific planning of regional land use.

Cite this article

LIU Wenchao, LIU Jiyuan, YAN Changzhen, QIN Yuanwei, YAN Huimin . Cropland Dynamics and Their Influence on the Productivity in Northern Shaanxi, China, for the Past 20 Years: Based on Remotely Sensed Data[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2014 , 5(3) : 272 -279 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2014.03.010


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