Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2004, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (7s): 41-46.doi: 10.11821/xb20047s006

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Land Use and Land Cover Change and Regional Economic Development: The Revelation of the Change in Cropland Area in the Yangtze River Delta during the Past 50 Years

YANG Guishan   

  1. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
  • Received:2004-03-12 Revised:2004-06-23 Online:2004-12-25 Published:2004-12-25
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Project of CAS, No.KZCX3-SW-331; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40371111


Land is the basic natural resource sustaining regional economic development, mantaining adequate cropland area is the foundation of human subsistence and development. Land Use and Land Cover Change (LUCC) is affected not only by physical factors, but also by human factors, so LUCC is a geographical element expressing the relationship between human being and nature, and it has become the research hotspot of not only physical geography but also human geography. The research results of the change in cropland area in the Yangtze River Delta during the past 50 years show that, policy, economic development and population growth are the main driving forces for the decrease in cropland area; there are remarkable exponential correlations between the decrease in cropland area and the increase in per capita gross domestic product (GDP). While GDP per capita is below 12,000 RMB yuan, the economic growth has a great pressure on cropland area; while GDP per capita exceeds 30,000 RMB yuan, the pressure of economic growth on cropland will gradually mitigate. At present, the Yangtze River Delta is experiencing the period of the rapid decrease in cropland area caused by the economic development, although the decreasing rate is obviously below that of before 1998. It is estimated that the pressure of economic development on cropland area will gradually mitigate after the year 2010.

Key words: land use and land cover change, human driving forces, regional economic development, the Yangtze River Delta