Rural livelihood change has great influence on the scale, structure, and morphology of rural settlement land use, thus bringing new challenges to rural revitalization and settlement reconstruction. Sihe village of Tongwei County in mid-Gansu loess hilly region (China) was taken as an example here. Based on participatory rural appraisal data, we analyzed the structure and allocation of rural households’ livelihood assets as well as their livelihood diversity by using ecological asset, livelihood diversification index, and landscape pattern index models. We aimed to find a response mechanism between rural livelihood change and rural settlement land use change. The results might provide useful information for the selection of new village sites, reconstruction of rural settlements, and creation of livable rural environment. Results indicate that: (1) The total value of the average livelihood assets per household in the Sihe village increased significantly from 0.48 in 1988 to 1.288 in 2016. The four types of livelihood assets including natural, material, manpower, and financial assets changed with time. In 1988, the manpower asset was the most important type of livelihood assets, with value accounting for 76.67% of the total value of livelihood assets. With the extension of time, the proportions of the four types of assets in total livelihood assets became closer to each other. The livelihood diversification index of the Sihe village increased from 2.01 in 1988 to 3 in 2016, indicating the rural livelihoods became diverse; (2) Because of the dual influence of external environmental factors and the rural development policies of the country and the region, the livelihoods changed towards agricultural sector from 1988 to 2008, and the agricultural livelihoods tended to be diverse. The following trend of livelihood strategy change was observed: from diverse non-agricultural production group (IV) to agricultural and non-agricultural production group (III), then to diverse agricultural production group (II) and finally to agricultural production group (I). After 2008, the livelihoods changed towards non-agricultural sector, and the non-agricultural livelihoods tended to be diverse. This trend of livelihood change is opposite to that before 2008; (3) 2008 is the key year of livelihood change. Livelihood change caused changes in the scale, structure, and morphology of rural settlement land use, which eventually led to the change of rural residential land use.
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