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Sustainability 2014, 6(3), 1260-1282; doi:10.3390/su6031260
Article

Exploring the Dynamic Mechanisms of Farmland Abandonment Based on a Spatially Explicit Economic Model for Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study in Jiangxi Province, China

* , *  and
Institute of Poyang Lake Eco-economics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 January 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 5 March 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
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Abstract

Farmland abandonment has important impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem recovery, as well as food security and rural sustainable development. Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, farmland abandonment has become an increasingly important problem in many countries, particularly in China. To promote sustainable land-use management and environmental sustainability, it is important to understand the socioeconomic causes and spatial patterns of farmland abandonment. In this study, we explored the dynamic mechanisms of farmland abandonment in Jiangxi province of China using a spatially explicit economical model. The results show that the variables associated with the agricultural products yield are significantly correlated with farmland abandonment. The increasing opportunity cost of farming labor is the main factor in farmland abandonment in conjunction with a rural labor shortage due to rural-to-urban population migration and regional industrialization. Farmlands are more likely to be abandoned in areas located far from the villages and towns due to higher transportation costs. Additionally, farmers with more land but lower net income are more likely to abandon poor-quality farmland. Our results support the hypothesis that farmland abandonment takes place in locations in which the costs of cultivation are high and the potential crop yield is low. In addition, our study also demonstrates that a spatially explicit economic model is necessary to distinguish between the main driving forces of farmland abandonment. Policy implications are also provided for potential future policy decisions.
Keywords: farmland abandonment; environmental sustainability; land marginalization; ecosystem recovery; spatial economic model; sustainable land use; GIS farmland abandonment; environmental sustainability; land marginalization; ecosystem recovery; spatial economic model; sustainable land use; GIS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Xie, H.; Wang, P.; Yao, G. Exploring the Dynamic Mechanisms of Farmland Abandonment Based on a Spatially Explicit Economic Model for Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study in Jiangxi Province, China. Sustainability 2014, 6, 1260-1282.

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