Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2010, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (12): 1602-1612.doi: 10.11821/xb201012015

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Spatio-temporal Coupling Relationship between Farmland and Agricultural Labor Changes at County Level in China

LIU Yansui1,2, LI Yurui1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2010-01-26 Revised:2010-08-05 Online:2010-12-20 Published:2010-12-20
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40635029; No.40871257; The Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCX2-EW-304

Abstract: Cultivated land and agricultural labor force are two core elements for promoting agricultural production and sustainable rural development. During the process of rapid urbanization and industrialization in China, numerous agricultural labors transferred to non-agricultural sector and a huge proportion of farmland was converted to construction land, in particular, these changes were spatially uneven. Theoretically, coupling relationship should be found between farmland and agricultural labor change. The overspeed of farmland conversion or agricultural labor transfer may affect the sustainability of agricultural production and rural development. Policy implications may arise from systematic analysis on spatio-temporal coupling relationship between agricultural labor transfer and farmland conversion. Based on county-level statistical data of farmland and agricultural labor, this paper gives an exploratory study in this area, by using GIS technology and mathematical modeling approach. The results showed that: (1) both the total amount of farmland and agricultural labor of the 1914 studied counties increased from 1996 to 2000 and then went through a process of reduction. The amount of farmland and agricultural labor increased by 2.70% and 1.40% from 1996 to 2000, and then decreased by 1.51% and 8.18% from 2000 to 2005, respectively. (2)“Hu Huanyong Line” which links Aihui and Tengchong cities, is an important dividing line in depicting China's spatial pattern of farmland conversion and agricultural labor transfer. Within the ribbon region along this line, farmland decreased drastically due to Grain for Green Project, however, the agricultural labor transfer lagged behind severely. In the region to the northwest of ribbon region along the HU Line, the reclamation of reserve resources caused a substantial increase of farmland, and the amount of agricultural labor grew steadily. In the region to the southeast of ribbon region along the HU Line, farmland was converted to construction land generally and agricultural labor decreased rapidly. Coupling relationship between farmland conversion and agricultural labor transfer could only be found in the third region. (3) During the study periods from 1996 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2005, 447 and 505 counties experienced a benign agricultural transfer in the process of farmland loss, respectively. Labor-farmland elastic coefficient (LFEC) of 90% of these counties ranged with a median of 4.58 and 2.97, respectively, which means that the efficiency of agricultural labor transfer decreased during the process of rapid farmland loss. (4) By developing a clustering method based on Self-organization Mapping (SOM) Neural Network on the software platform of ArcGIS and MATLAB, the coupling relationship between farmland conversion and agricultural labor change was divided into nine regional types, and also the control orientation for each region was put forward. Multi-scenario simulation analysis predicted that the trend value of LFEC during 2005-2015 was 2.55, and this could be a standard parameter for coordinating the relationship between farmland conversion and agricultural labor change in the next 10 years in China.

Key words: labor-farmland elastic coefficient (LFEC), spatio-temporal coupling relationship, county level in China, farmland changes, agricultural labor changes