Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (4): 469-478.doi: 10.11821/xb200904009

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Structural Change of Agricultural Land Use Intensity and Its Regional Disparity in China

CHEN Yuqi1,2, LI Xiubin1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2008-11-03 Revised:2009-02-24 Online:2009-04-25 Published:2009-04-25
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2006BAB15B02


Based on the cost-income data of farm produce and the China Agricultural Yearbook, this paper divided the intensity of cultivated land use into labor intensity and capital intensity, then analyzed their temporal and spatial change at both country and provincial scale in the period of 1980-2006. The results showed that: (1) On country scale, labor intensity of food crop farming decreased from 398.5 day/ha in 1980 to 130.25 day/ha in 2006; and shows a continuous decrease with a steep decline in 1980-1986, a slower decline in 1987-1996, and another steep decline in 1997-2006. On the contrary, capital intensity shows an increasing trend from 1980. In the internal composition of capital intensity, the proportion of seed, chemical fertilizer and pesticide input decreased from 90.36% to 73.44% ; the proportion of machinery increased from 9.64% to 26.56% . The less emphasis on yieldincreasing input and more emphasis on labor-saving input are the main reasons for a slow increase of yield per unit area after 1996. (2) On provincial scale, the economically developed areas have lower labor intensity and higher capital intensity. The less developed areas have higher labor intensity but lower capital intensity. From the internal composition of capital intensity view, labor-saving input accounts for more proportion in the developed areas than other areas. That is because in these developed areas, as more and more labors engaged in off-farm work, labor input has become a constraint factor in food production. Farmers increase the labor-saving input for higher labor productivity. However, in less developed areas, the major constraint is the shortage of capital; food production is still depending on labor and yield-increasing inputs.

Key words: labor intensity, capital intensity, labor-saving input, yield-increasing input, Chin