Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (2): 269-278.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201702007

• Land Use and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Household farmland area and regional specialization:An empirical analysis at provincial level

Weiheng WANG1,2(), Huiyi ZHU1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-07-20 Revised:2016-11-14 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571096


China lags behind most of the developed countries in regional specialization of agricultural production. This backwardness has weakened its competitiveness of agricultural products in world market. It is generally recognized that household farmland area has been the key limiting factor, but it stemmed from qualitative analyses or experiences and lacked supports of empirical analyses. In this paper, we examined the relationship between household farmland area (HFA) and regional specialization at provincial level based on the specialization index of Hirschman-Herfindahl (SHHI) and agricultural statistical data. The data included planting area of crops and per capita area of land managed by households. The results suggested that enlargement of HFA was neither a sufficient condition nor even a necessary one for regional specialization. But it helped. In spatial dimension, the provinces with larger HFA were not at a higher level of specialization inevitably. The rank correlation coefficients between HFA and SHHI were not significant in the period from 2002 to 2012. In temporal dimension, SHHI did not increase or decrease with the HFA in most of the sample provinces. There were only 12 of the 29 sample provinces whose SHHI correlated significantly with HFA. The 12 provinces were those where major crops were more land-intensive. These results implied that enlargement of household farmland area can not improve regional specialization inevitably in China. There is a need for other effective ways to enforce China's regional specialization of agricultural production.

Key words: agricultural land use, regional specialization, household farmland area, provincial level, empirical analysis, China