Economic characteristics and the mechanism of farmland marginalization in mountainous areas of China
LI Shengfa1,2,3,, LI Xiubin1,2,
1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3. Guangdong Open Laboratory of Geospatial InformationTechnology and Application, Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070, China
National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2015CB452706;
The NSFC-IIASA Major International Joint Research Project, No.41161140352;
GDAS' Special Project of Science and Technology Development, No.2018GDASCX-0903, No.2017GDASCX-0101, No.2018GDASCX-0101;
Farmland marginalization has become the main trend of land-use change in the mountainous areas of China. Using the China Agricultural Production Costs and Returns Compilation (annual survey data of major agricultural production costs and earnings at national and provincial levels), this paper first analyzed the changes in the cost structure of agricultural production and the farmers' responses, under the context of the rapid rise in agricultural labor prices since 2003, and further compared the responses from the mountainous and plain regions. We found that farmers on the plains have reduced their labor input effectively through intensive use of agricultural machinery, which has minimized the impact of the increase in labor price. However, it is a severe challenge for farmers in the mountainous areas to use the same method due to the rough terrains. Thus, the agricultural labor productivity in these areas has increased relatively slowly, causing a widening gap in agricultural labor productivity between the two regions. With the rapid rise in labor costs, the marginalization of cultivated land in the mountainous areas is evident. In 2013, the profit of agricultural production in mountainous China, which takes maize cultivation as a representative, has fallen below zero. Since 2000, the land-use and land cover change in these areas has been characterized by the reduction of farmland area, reforestation, and the enhancement of the NDVI value. The high correlation between the NDVI change rate and the ratio of change in farmland (r = -0.70) and forest (r = 0.91) areas in mountainous areas at provincial level from 2000 to 2010, attests to the trend of farmland marginalization there. Finally, according to the analysis results, we summarized the mechanism of such marginalization against the backdrop of the rapid increase in the opportunity cost of farming and the sharp fall of agricultural labor forces. This study contributes to a deep understanding of the development process of farmland abandonment and forest transformation in the mountainous areas of China.
ZhangYing, LiXiubin, SongWei.Determinants of cropland abandonment at the parcel, household and village levels in mountain areas of China: A multi-level analysis. , 2014, 41: 186-192.
Cropland abandonment accompanying economic development has been observed worldwide. China has experienced a large amount of land abandonment in recent years. However, the reasons for it are not entirely clear. Although abandonment decisions are made by individual households, the underlying conditions reflect processes operating at multiple levels. Therefore, we aimed to detect the influences on land abandonment at the parcel, household and village levels. We developed and employed a multi-level statistical model using farm household survey data and geographical maps of Wulong County. Our model revealed that of the variance in occurrence of land parcel abandonment, 7% and 13% can be explained at the household and village levels, respectively, while the remnant 80% can be explained at the land parcel features itself. We found that land abandonment is more prone to occur on parcels that are on steep slopes, have poor quality soil, or are remote from the laborers residences. Households with less agricultural labor per unit land area showed a high probability of land abandonment. We also found a nonlinear influence of labor age on land abandonment, with households comprising middle-aged laborers having a low land abandonment probability. Parcels in villages with high elevation, far from the county administrative center or with low prevalence of leased land are inclined to abandonment. We also found, surprisingly, that the household proportion of males among its agricultural laborers did not significantly influence the occurrence of land abandonment at the parcel level, probably due to the male agricultural laborers being overwhelmingly old (average age greater than 56 years). To alleviate land abandonment, we suggest improving land tenure and transfer security to ensure stable access to the land rental market, and also improving infrastructure in remote regions.
ShiTiechou, LiXiubin, XinLiangjie.Analysis of farmland abandonment at parcel level: A case study in the mountainous area of China. , 2016, 988(8): 1-19.
Chongqing municipality, the main study area of this paper, is a mountainous city in Southwest China, where massive rural populations migrated to cities and towns in recent years. This study extracted abandoned farmland figure spots from farmland distribution maps of 2002 and 2011 on a 1:10,000 scale. Further, this research analyzed the spatial distribution characteristics of farmland abandonment and its influencing factors at the parcel level from 2002 to 2011. The main influencing factors of farmland abandonment include distance of a parcel to the closest settlement, difference between the parcel elevation and the average elevation of the whole village settlement, parcel slope, and parcel size. The former three factors are positively correlated with farmland abandonment rate, and parcel size is negatively correlated. That is to say that larger commuting distance, elevation difference, and parcel slope increase the abandonment probability; and a larger parcel size can reduce the risk of abandonment.
GellrichM, BaurP, KochB, et al.Agricultural land abandonment and natural forest re-growth in the Swiss mountains: A spatially explicit economic analysis. , 2007, 118(1-4): 93-108.
Natural forest re-growth reflects a decline in traditional agricultural practices that can be observed worldwide. Over the last few decades, natural forest re-growth has replaced much of the agricultural land in the Swiss mountains. This is a region where forms of traditional cultivation have preserved unique landscapes and habitats of high ecological value. This study aimed to characterise the locations in the Swiss mountains where agricultural land has been abandoned and overgrown by trees and bushes. Therefore, multivariate statistical models based on geo-physical and socio-economic variables were developed. Land-use change data were taken from two nationwide land-use surveys carried out in the 1980s and 1990s. In order to obtain reliable models, neighbourhood effects and the group structure in our data were accounted for. For the latter a robust estimation technique known as cluster-adjustment was used. Results show that forest re-growth is largely restricted to former alpine pastures, land with grass and scrub vegetation and agricultural land with groups of trees at mid to high altitudes, steep slopes, stony ground and a low temperature sum. Some relationships were not as expected, e.g. many of the new forest areas were found to be relatively close to roads. A new finding from this study was that forest re-growth is largely restricted to regions with immigration, higher proportions of part-time farms as opposed to full-time farms and high farm abandonment rates. By accounting for neighbourhood effects, the model fit was improved. The considerable residual deviance of the models was interpreted as the result of undetected local characteristics, such as poor water availability, small-scaled topographic peculiarities (e.g. small trenches, stonewalls, soil damages by cattle) and the individual's motivation to abandon or maintain cultivation. The conclusion made was that general policy measures for the whole mountain area are not suitable for the prevention of land abandonment and forest re-growth, and that policy measures must pay more attention to local characteristics and needs.
LiZanhong, YanJianzhong, HuaXiaobo, et al.Factors influencing the cultivated land abandonment of households of different types: A case study of 12 typical villages in Chongqing Municipality. , 2014, 33(4): 721-734.
YanJianzhong, YangZiyan, LiZanhong, et al.Drivers of cropland abandonment in mountainous areas: A household decision model on farming scale in Southwest China. , 2016, 57: 459-469.
Cropland abandonment has emerged as a prevalent phenomenon in the mountainous areas of China. While there is a general understanding that this new trend is driven by the rising opportunity cost of rural labor, rigorous theoretical and empirical analyses are largely absent. This paper first develops a theoretical model to investigate household decisions on farming scale when off-farm labor market is accessible and there is heterogeneity of farmland productivity and distribution. The model is capable of explaining the hidden reasons of cropland abandonment in sloping and agriculturally less-favored locations. The model also unveils the impacts of heterogeneity of household labor on fallow decisions and the efficiency loss due to an imperfect labor market. The model is empirically tested by applying the Probit and Logit estimators to a unique household and land-plot survey dataset which contains 5258 plots of 599 rural households in Chongqing, a provincial level municipality, in Southwest China. The survey shows that more than 30% of the sample plots have been abandoned, mainly since 1992. The econometric results are consistent with our theoretical expectations. This work would help policy-makers and stakeholders to identify areas with a high probability of land abandonment and farming practice which is less sustainable in the mountainous areas.
MacDonaldD, Crabtree JR, WiesingerG, et al. Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental consequences and policy response. , 2000, 59(1): 47-69.
Agricultural abandonment reflects a post war trend in western Europe of rural depopulation to which isolated and poorer areas are most vulnerable. The commercialisation of agriculture, through technological developments, and the influence of Common Agricultural Policy have increased productivity and focused agricultural activity on more fertile and accessible land thus transforming traditional approaches to farming. In many areas this has lead to a decline in traditional labour intensive practices and marginal agricultural land is being abandoned. The problems that these trends create are particularly marked in mountain areas. The social and economic impacts of these changes have been well documented. However, the implications for environmental policy are less well recognised. This paper reviews the literature on abandonment and gives a comparative analysis of European mountain case studies to assess the environmental impacts of land abandonment and decline in traditional farming practices. It finds abandonment is widespread and that, while the influence of environmental changes is unpredictable due to environmental, agricultural and socio-economic contextual factors, abandonment generally has an undesirable effect on the environmental parameters examined. The application of agri-environment policy measures in relation to abandonment is discussed and suggestions for future policy are proposed.
AlcantaraC, KuemmerleT, Prishchepov AV, et al.Mapping abandoned agriculture with multi-temporal MODIS satellite data. , 2012, 124: 334-347.
78 Agricultural abandonment can be mapped across large areas from MODIS 250m. 78 Abandoned agriculture was widespread in Eastern Europe (15.1% of the total area). 78 Using multiple years of MODIS data did not increase classification accuracy. 78 Phenology metrics in conjunction with NDVI data improved classification accuracies.
FangC, DuY, WangM.Migration and Labor Mobility in China. , 2009.
China has witnessed the largest labor migration since the reform and opening up policies were implemented. According to the most recent statistics, the total number of rural to urban migrant workers reached 136 million. Migrants are defined as persons who have left out of township for more than 6 months. The migration flow has propelled the economic and societal transition in China through labor productivity enhancement and social restructuring. Accordingly, the Chinese government has improved the migration policies with increasing migration flow and the changes of labor market situations. This report is organized as follows. Section one briefly introduces when and how the migration started by reviewing the history, size and trend, impacts of migration in China and the vulnerability of migrants. Section two reviews the main migration policy changes in the past three decades. Section three illuminates the Lewisian turning point that marks economic development and transitioning in China. Section four discusses the relevance of China experiences to other developing economies in terms of economic development and migration policy changes.
LiuChengwu, LiXiubin.The character and diagnostic criterion for marginiastion of the arable land. , 2005, 24(2): 106-113.
MeyfroidtP, Lambin EF.Global forest transition prospects for an end to deforestation. , 2011, 36: 343-371.
Although global rates of tropical deforestation remain alarmingly high, they have decreased over the period 2000–2010, and a handful of tropical developing countries have recently been through a forest transition—a shift from net deforestation to net reforestation. This review synthesizes existing knowledge on the occurrence, causes, and ecological impacts of forest transitions and examines the prospects and policy options for a global forest transition. The ecological quality of forest transitions depends on multiple factors, including the importance of natural forest regeneration versus plantations. Given an increased competition for productive land between different land uses, a global forest transition will require major technological and policy innovations to supply wood and agricultural products. In the globalization era, national strategies aimed at forest protection and sustainable use of forest resources may have unintended effects abroad owing to a displacement of land use across countries. Deci...
Rudel TK, Coomes OT, Emilio MorancF, et al.Forest transitions: Towards a global understanding of land use change. , 2005, 15(1): 23-31.
Places experience forest transitions when declines in forest cover cease and recoveries in forest cover begin. Forest transitions have occurred in two, sometimes overlapping circumstances. In some places economic development has created enough non-farm jobs to pull farmers off of the land, thereby inducing the spontaneous regeneration of forests in old fields. In other places a scarcity of forest products has prompted governments and landowners to plant trees in some fields. The transitions do little to conserve biodiversity, but they do sequester carbon and conserve soil, so governments should place a high priority on promoting them.
Lambin EF, MeyfroidP.Land use transitions: Socio-ecological feedback versus socio-economic change. , 2010, 27(2): 108-118.
The concept of land use transition highlights that land use change is non-linear and is associated with other societal and biophysical system changes. A transition in land use is not a fixed pattern, nor is it deterministic. Land use transitions can be caused by negative socio-ecological feedbacks that arise from a depletion of key resources or from socio-economic change and innovation that take place rather independently from the ecological system. Here, we explore whether the sources of land use transitions are mostly endogenous socio-ecological forces or exogenous socio-economic factors. We first review a few generic pathways of forest transition as identified in national case studies, and evaluate the varying ecological quality of expanding forests associated with these pathways. We then discuss possible explanatory frameworks of land use transitions. We use the case of the recent forest transition in Vietnam as an illustration. Socio-ecological feedbacks seem to better explain a slowing down of deforestation and stabilization of forest cover, while exogenous socio-economic factors better account for reforestation. We conclude by discussing the prospects of accelerating land use transitions in tropical forest countries.
LiShengfa, LiXiubin.Global understanding of farmland abandonment: A review and prospects. , 2017, 27(9): 1123-1150.
Since the 1950 s, noteworthy farmland abandonment has been occurring in many developed countries and some developing countries. This global land use phenomenon has fundamentally altered extensive rural landscapes. A review of global farmland abandonment under the headings of "land use change driving mechanisms impacts and consequences policy responses" found the following:(1) Farmland abandonment has occurred primarily in developed countries in Europe and North America, but the extent of abandonment has varied significantly.(2) Changing socio-economic factors were the primary driving forces for the farmland abandonment. And land marginalization was the fundamental cause, which was due to the drastic increase of farming opportunity cost, while the direct factor for abandonment was the shrink of agricultural labor forces.(3) Whether to abandon, to what extent and its spatial distributions were finally dependent on integrated effect from the physical conditions, laborer attributes, farming and regional socio-economic conditions at the village, household and parcel scales. With the exception of Eastern Europe, farmland abandonment was more likely to occur in mountainous and hilly areas, due to their unfavorable farming conditions.(4) A study of farmland abandonment should focus on its ecological and environmental effects, while which is more positive or more negative are still in dispute.(5) Increasing agricultural subsidies will be conductive to slowing the rate of farmland abandonment, but this is not the only measure that needs to be implemented. Due to China's rapid urbanization, there is a high probability that the rate of abandonment will increase in the near future. However, very little research has focused on this rapid land-use trend in China, and, as a result, there is an inadequate understanding of the dynamic mechanisms and consequences of this phenomenon. This paper concludes by suggesting some future directions for further research in China. These directions include monitoring regional and national abandonment dynamics, analyzing trends, assessing the risks and socio-economic effects of farmland abandonment, and informing policy making.
ZhangBailin, YangQingyuan, YanYan, et al.Characteristics and reasons of different households' farming abandonment behavior in the process of rapid urbanization based on a survey from 540 households in 10 counties of Chongqing municipality. , 2011, 33(11): 2047-2054.
StrijkerD.Marginal lands in Europe: Causes of decline. , 2005, 6(2): 99-106.
Dieser Artikel analysiert die Ver01nderungsmechanismen landwirtschaftlicher Bodenbewirtschaftung. Intensivierung von Bodenbewirtschaftung einerseits und das Wegziehen vom Land anderseits hatten bedeutende Konsequenzen für Landschaft und Biodiversit01t. Der Grundmechanismus dahinter ist eine Ver01nderung in den relativen Preisen von Inputs und Output. In diesem Sinne haben die allgemeinen wirtschaftichen Entwicklungen die Ver01nderungen landwirtschaftlicher Bodenbewirtschaftung bestimmt. In West-Europa war der schnelle Anstieg der Opportunit01tskosten von Arbeit der Hauptfaktor hinter Mechanisierung und Intensivierung der Landwirtschaft. Auch die gemeinsame Agrarpolitik der EU hat Intensivierung stimuliert. Rezente politische Entwicklungen haben wichtige Anreize für weitere Intensivierung reduziert. Diese Tatsache jedoch l02st das Problem der Abnahme landwirtschaftlicher Low-input-Syteme in Europa nicht. Der einzige Weg, diese Systeme aufrechtzuerhalten, sind spezifisch auf Natur bezogene Ma08nahmen.
QueirozC, BeilinR, FolkeC, et al.Farmland abandonment: Threat or opportunity for biodiversity conservation? A global review. , 2014, 12(5): 288-296.
Farmland abandonment is changing rural landscapes worldwide, but its impacts on biodiversity are still being debated in the scientific literature. While some researchers see it as a threat to biodiversity, others view it as an opportunity for habitat regeneration. We reviewed 276 published studies describing various effects of farmland abandonment on biodiversity and found that a study's geographic region, selected metrics, assessed taxa, and conservation focus significantly affected how those impacts were reported. Countries in Eurasia and the New World reported mainly negative and positive effects of farmland abandonment on biodiversity, respectively. Notably, contrasting impacts were recorded in different agricultural regions of the world that were otherwise similar in land-use and biodiversity characteristics. We showed that the conservation focus (pre- or post-abandonment) in different regions is an important factor influencing how scientists address the abandonment issue, and this may affect how land-use policies are defined in agricultural landscapes.
ZhaoYuluan, ZhangMeng, LiXiubin, et al.Farmland marginalization and policy implications in mountainous areas: A case study of Renhuai City, Guizhou. , 2016, 7(1): 61-67.
Farmland resources in mountainous areas are important for regional food security and ecological security. Studies concerning changes in farmland use in mountainous areas are of considerable significance in China. Here, we analyzed marginalization characteristics of farmland in Renhuai city from 2005 to 2011 and driving factors using land information systems, surveys of farmer households and statistical data. Our results indicate that from 2005 to 2011, 3095.76 hm2 of farmland was converted to forest land and natural reserve, accounting for 5.45% of the total farmland area. This suggests significant marginalization of farmland. Marginalization of farmland in mountainous areas was affected by topography, labor forces and effectiveness of land management. Farmland with a greater slope gradient was more likely to be abandoned; among marginalized land in Renhuai, a slope greater than 15 accounted for 62.26%. A high non-agricultural employment rate of rural labor force and annual income per capita of farmer households in mountainous areas were consistent with high speed farmland marginalization. Low land management benefits were the key reason for farmland marginalization. Although farmland marginalization was advantageous for eco-environment protection and sustainable development in mountainous areas, it resulted in inefficient land resource utilization. A win-win model for the exploitation and utilization of sloping farmland should be explored for production development and environmental protection.