NEW PROGRESSES OF INTERNATIONAL STUDY ON LAND QUALITY INDICATORS (LQIs)
1999, 66 (2):
The study of land resources in China and abroad since the 1970s has evolved into an important and comprehensive field of applied research in earth sciences. This field encompasses the study of land types, land assessment, land productivity potential, land capacity to carry population, land use and land cover, land planning, and land information system, etc. During the 1990s, a key focus of study has been the changes in land cover. More recently, in an attempt to better understand the changes in land quality, an international collaborative project has been initiated to develop land quality indicator systems. Participating agencies include the World Band, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Development Program, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri Food of Canada. This paper introduces the this project in the hope that it will arouse the interests of Chinese scholars at a time when the nation faces extremely serious problems of land degradation, especially in environmentally fragile regions. The project is based on the theoretical framework of pressure state response to measure the pressure on land resources, the impact of the pressure on land quality, and societal responses to the pressure. Different land quality indicators have been established through the analysis of land quality problems in typical agricultural ecological zones of the world in the tropical and subtropical regions, including the humid tropical rainforest region, seasonally dry tropical region, Savanna region, subtropical region, semi arid region, and arid region. In each region, the indicator system takes into consideration such variables as land quality, land use, agricultural production, population, resources and societal responses. On the other hand, other indicator systems are designed to evaluate a specific problem, such as land degradation. Such indicator systems can be disaggregated into pressure indicators, land condition indicators and societal response indicators. Although designed mainly for use at the regional and national levels, some systems have been developed for use by local places and farms.
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