Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (9): 1613-1629.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201809001

• Land Use •     Next Articles

Spatial-temporal distribution of cropland in China based on geomorphologic regionalization during 1990-2015

CHENG Weiming1,2(),GAO Xiaoyu1,3,MA Ting1,XU Xinliang1,CHEN Yinjun4,ZHOU Chenghu1()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning of CAAS, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2017-10-18 Online:2018-09-25 Published:2018-09-19
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41421001, No.41590845, No.41471388;National Key Basic Research Program, No.2015CB954101


Landform is an important factor determining the spatial pattern of cropland through allocating surface water and heat. Therefore, it is of great significance to study the change of cropland distribution from the perspective of geomorphologic division. Based on China's multi-year land cover data (1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015) and geomorphologic regionalization data, we analyzed the change of cropland area and its distribution pattern in six geomorphologic regions of China over the period 1990-2015 with the aid of GIS techniques. Our results showed that the total cropland area increased from 177.1 to 178.5 million hectares with an average increase rate of 0.03%. Cropland acreage decreased in southern China and increased in northern China. Region I (eastern hilly plains) had the highest cropland increase rate, while the dynamic degree of Region IV (northwestern middle and high mountains, basins and plateaus) was significantly higher than that of other regions. The barycenter of China's land cultivation had shifted from North China to northwest over the 25 years. Regions IV and I were the two high-growth regions of cultivated land. Region II (southeastern low-middle mountains) and Region V (southwestern middle and low mountains, plateaus and basins) were the main decreasing regions of cultivated land. The area of cultivated land remained almost unchanged in Region III (north China and Inner Mongolia eastern-central mountains and plateaus) and Region VI (Tibetan Plateau). The loss of cropland occurred mostly in regions I and II as a result of growing industrialization and urbanization, while the increase of cropland occurred mainly in Region IV because of reclamation of grasslands and other wastelands.

Key words: China, cropland, geomorphologic regionalization, spatial-temporal change