Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (7): 1235-1247.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201707009

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal characteristics and patterns of the global cultivated land since the 1980s

Lijuan ZHANG1(), Ziyan YAO1, Shihao TANG2, Xiaxiang LI1, Tiantian HAO1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geographic Environment, College of Heilongjiang, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Radiometric Calibration and Validation for Environmental Satellites, National Satellite Meteorological Center, CMA, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2016-09-30 Revised:2017-02-21 Online:2017-08-07 Published:2017-08-08
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.42171217


Based on the global land use / cover data from 1982 to 2011(CG-LTDR), this paper analyzes the characteristics and spatial patterns of cultivated land change since the 1980s. The results are summarized as follows: (1) Since the 1980s, the world's arable land has increased by 528.768×104 km2 with a rate of 7.920×104 km2/a, although the trend is not statistically significant. The world's arable land grew fastest in the 1980s. Areas of cultivated land in North America, South America and Oceania increased by 170. 854×104 km2, 107. 890×104 km2 and 186. 492×104 km2, respectively since the 1980s, showing significant trends with rates of 7.236×104 km2/a, 2.780×104 km2/a and 3.758×104 km2/a, respectively. Areas in Asia, Europe and Africa decreased by 23.769×104, 4.035×104, 86.76×104 km2, with rates of -5.641×104 km2/a, -0.813×104 km2/a and -0. 595×104 km2/a, respectively. Only Asia revealed a significant reduction trend. (2) Since the 1980s, the increased cultivated land in the world has been mainly converted from grasslands and forests, accounting for 53.536% and 26.148%, respectively. Newly cultivated land was mostly distributed in southern and central Africa, eastern and northern Australia, southeastern South America, central US, Alaska, central Canada, western Russia, northern Finland and northern Mongolia. Among these regions, Botswana in southern Africa has the highest proportion of increased arable land, an increase of 80%-90%. (3) Since the 1980s, a total of 1071.946×104 km2 of arable land has been converted to other types of land, mostly grasslands and forests that account for 57.482% and 36.000%, respectively. Global reduction of arable land was mainly found in southern and central Africa, central South America, southern Russia and southern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Hungary). Among these regions, southern Africa experienced the highest reduction of 60%. (4) Cultivated lands in all continents had a trend of expanding to high latitudes, and most countries in the world are characterized by expansion of newly cultivated land and reduction of cultivated land in the earlier period.

Key words: cultivated land, spatiotemporal characteristics, spatiotemporal patterns, global land use change