Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2004, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (7s): 175-182.doi: 10.11821/xb20047s024

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Recent Progress in Agricultural Geography and Its Trends in China

LIU Yansui, WANG Dawei, PENG Liuying   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2004-03-18 Revised:2004-05-10 Online:2004-12-25 Published:2004-12-25
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Project of CAS, No.KZCX1-SW-19-01; Knowledge Innovation Project of IGSNRR, CAS, No.CXIOG-B02-05


This paper systematically reviews the process of agricultural development and the progress in agricultural geography in China over the last several decades, especially since the implementation of China's reform and opening up policy. It also summarizes the contributions made by agricultural geographers to the country's economic development. The strengths of agricultural geography, namely, its consideration of regional differences and simultaneous integration of all related factors, are fully taken advantage of. However, these strengths have become weakened to some extent in recent years. During this period, both the number of agricultural geographers and the number of key projects awarded to them have dropped. After China joined the WTO, significant changes would have to take place in agricultural sector through restructuring. In light of many problems facing the country's agriculture during this transitional period, agricultural geography that needs to be strengthened should include the following research areas: (1) study of the strategies for agricultural development at the macro-level; (2) construction of models for developing competitive industries based on advantageous regional settings, (3) development of a system for agricultural industrialization and its socialization service; (4) zoning of rural economy and sustainable agricultural systems to support regional cooperation; (5) monitoring and evaluation of the overall capability of food production to ensure China's food security; (6) assessment and modeling of regional agricultural eco-environment and eco-agricultural patterns; (7) study of the innovation of agricultural science and technology and demonstrative high-tech agricultural fields; and (8) innovation of theories and methods of agricultural geography. In order to keep up with the pace of the national economic development, agricultural geographers should continue to follow the tenet of geographic research serving the development of agriculture, and solving new problems under new situations to make more contributions to further modernize agriculture and the whole rural sector. Strengthening the research on agricultural geography is necessary for developing agriculture and for the consummation of agricultural geography itself.

Key words: agricultural structure adjustment, agricultural development, agricultural geography