The rapid development of urbanization and industrialization in coastal China in the past 20 years has exerted a huge squeezing effect on agricultural land use. The phenomenon of non-grain production on cultivated land (NGP) is very common, seriously threatening the protection of high-quality arable land and national food security. In order to find out the overall situation regarding NGP on cultivated land in coastal China, this study revealed the spatial differentiation of NGP and its main driving factors by spatial autocorrelation analysis, multiple linear regression models and geographically weighted regression analysis (GWR). The results show that: (1) in 2018, the non-grain cultivated land area of 11 provinces along the coast of China was about 15.82 × 106
, accounting for 33.65% of the total cultivated land area. (2) The NGP rate in 11 provinces gradually decreased from south to north, but the NGP area showed two peak centers in Guangxi province and Shandong province, then decreased gradually outwards. (3) The low economic benefit of the planting industry (per capita GDP and urban-to-rural disposable income ratio) was the most important driving force, leading to the spatial differentiation of NGP, while the number of rural laborers and land transfer areas also acted as the main driving factors for the spatial differentiation of NGP. However, the influence of each driving factor has obvious spatial heterogeneity. The non-grained area and the non-grain production rate at the municipal level were completely different from those at the provincial level, and the spatial heterogeneity was more prominent. In the future, the local government should control the disorganized spread of NGP, scientifically set the bottom line of NGP, reduce the external pressure of NGP, regulate multi-party land transfer behavior, and strengthen land-use responsibilities. This study can provide a scientific foundation for adjusting land-use planning and cultivated land protection policies in China and other developing countries.
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