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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6443-6460; doi:10.3390/rs5126443

Spatiotemporal Patterns of Urban Encroachment on Cropland and Its Impacts on Potential Agricultural Productivity in China

*  and
State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information Systems, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2013 / Revised: 20 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
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Rapid urbanization and population growth in China have raised great concerns regarding food security caused by the loss of limited cultivated land. In this study, we used remotely sensed data and an agricultural productivity estimation model to characterize the spatiotemporal patterns of the conversion of cropland into urban land and quantify its impacts on agricultural productivity potential during China’s rapid urbanization period, from 1990 to 2010. The results show that urban development has transformed approximately 4.18 Mha, or 2.26%, of the total cropland in China. From 1990 to 2000, approximately 1.50 Mha of cropland was developed, while roughly 1.8 times this amount (2.68 Mha) was converted over the period of 2000 to 2010. Most of the conversion is located in the central and eastern coastal provinces and is mainly concentrated on the periphery of the major urban areas. The transformation has, consequently, caused a 71.45 Tg, or 2.65%, loss of potential light-temperature agricultural productivity (PLTAP); losses were 24.33 Tg in the first decade of the study and 47.11 Tg in the second. At the provincial scale, the largest percentages of PLTAP loss are mainly concentrated in the developed provinces on the eastern coast, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Zhejiang, Tianjin, and Jiangsu. Considering that these areas can accommodate more people and produce higher economic output on unit area of built-up land and, yet, scarce land that can be reclaimed, this study suggests that the dynamic balance of total farmland policy in China should be varied provincially according to the major function of the province. The policy adjustment will help maximize the utilization efficiency of land.
Keywords: China; urban sprawl; cropland loss; potential agricultural productivity China; urban sprawl; cropland loss; potential agricultural productivity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Cai, H.; Yang, X.; Xu, X. Spatiotemporal Patterns of Urban Encroachment on Cropland and Its Impacts on Potential Agricultural Productivity in China. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 6443-6460.

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