The ecological benefit of cultivated land is the non-market value or ecological service value created by cultivated land protection. Based on the trinity concept of comprehensive protection of quantity, quality, and ecology of cultivated land, this study calculates the ecological benefits of cultivated land protection in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. Through the theory of ecological supply and demand balance, the study estimated the ecological benefit spillover of cultivated land protection in the basin. The amounts and paths of ecological financial transfers for cultivated land are then examined by balancing the protection responsibilities and financial power of cultivated land. We found that overall the ecological benefits of cultivated land protection in the Yangtze River Economic Belt increased, reaching 773.224 billion RMB in 2017. Therein the upper, middle, and lower reaches compose 20.81%, 53.89%, and 25.30% of the ecological benefits. There are significant differences in the ecological benefits, respectively. There are significant differences in the ecological benefits and their variations of cultivated land within the River Basins. The ecological benefits of cultivated land in the Yangtze River Economic Belt demonstrated spatial spillovers within and between the upper, middle, and lower reaches. The middle reaches of the economic belt are the main ecological surplus areas of cultivated land. The ecological deficit areas of cultivated land are mainly distributed in the lower reaches. The spillover effect of the ecological benefits is evident between provinces. The increase of regional economy and ecological compensation policy for cultivated land can effectively stimulate the ecological benefits whereas the pressure of cultivated land protection and power spillovers are adverse to cultivated land ecological protection. The vertical and horizontal fiscal transfers in 2017 respectively amounted to 230.14 billion RMB and 27.24 billion RMB. Particularly, the upper, middle, and lower reaches received 13.07%, 58.41% and 28.52% of the ecological fiscal transfers, respectively. It is important to strengthen spatial spillovers and improve the horizontal and vertical ecological fiscal transfers for protecting ecology of cultivated land.
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