Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (4): 448-458.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201404002

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reconstruction of cropland over Heilongjiang Province in the late 19th century

ZHANG Lijuan1, JIANG Lanqi1, ZHANG Xuezhen2, ZHANG Ankang1, JIANG Chunyan1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geographic Environment, College of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2013-08-04 Revised:2013-12-06 Online:2014-04-20 Published:2014-04-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.42171217;No.41030743;No.41001122

Abstract: To understand human effects on climate and environment in the historical times, it is primary to reconstruct land use/cover changes over the past centuries. In this study, based on the previous studies, we collected county level-based cropland area from the multiple historical documents. The original records from different historical documents were calibrated with each other. The area units were also converted to present square kilometers. As a consequence, we obtained one integrated dataset which is one county level-based cropland area dataset. Next, we defined an agricultural suitability index (ASI) calculated by using distance from settlements, slope and complex of topography, and distance from rivers. The documental county level-based cropland area was spatially distributed into 1 km by 1 km size of pixels in the order of high ASI to low ASI. Then, we retrieved cropland of 2009 at a resolution of 1 km by 1 km using Landsat ETM+ imageries. We found that total cropland area in the late 19th century was 25397.0 km2. The cropland was mainly found in centralsouthern part of Heilongjiang Province, especially in the counties of Hailun, Bayan, Wuchang, Hulan, Shuangcheng and Wangkui. In 2009, the total cropland area increased to 163808.7 km2, which spread over the southwestern to the central and northeastern parts of Heilongjiang. In the 20th century, cropland increased by 138411.7 km2. The cropland area fraction increased from 5.6% in the late 19th century to 36.2% in 2009. This implicates that 30.6% of natural land surface of Heilongjiang was replaced by anthropogenic cropland. Some 60962 km2 (accounting for 44%) of increased cropland was derived from deforestation, which was mainly distributed in the western edge and northeastern part of the present agricultural area. The reconstructed cropland in the late 19th century supplies a basic dataset for studies on effects of agricultural development on climate and environment in the future.

Key words: Heilongjiang Province, late 19th century, cropland area, agricultural suitability index (ASI)