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Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 6107-6124;

Biodiversity Conservation in Rice Paddies in China: Toward Ecological Sustainability

State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, Wuhan 430010, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 30 August 2014 / Published: 9 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Rice paddies are artificial wetlands that supply people with food and provide wildlife with habitats, breeding areas, shelters, feeding grounds and other services, and rice paddies play an important part in agricultural ecological systems. However, modern agricultural practices with large-scale intensive farming have significantly accelerated the homogenization of the paddy field ecosystem. Modern agriculture mostly relies on chemically-driven modern varieties and irrigation to ensure high production, resulting in the deterioration and imbalance of the ecosystem. Consequently, outbreaks of diseases, insects and weeds have become more frequent in paddy fields. This paper describes the current situation of rice paddy biodiversity in China and analyzes the community characteristics of arthropods and weedy plants. Meanwhile, we discuss how biodiversity was affected by modern agriculture changes, which have brought about a mounting crisis threatening to animals and plants once common in rice paddies. Measures should be focused to firstly preventing further deterioration and, then, also, promoting restoration processes. Ecological sustainability can be achieved by restoring paddy field biodiversity through protecting the ecological environment surrounding the paddy fields, improving paddy cropping patterns, growing rice with less agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizers, constructing paddy systems with animals and plants and promoting ecological education and public awareness. View Full-Text
Keywords: rice production; ecological sustainability; rice paddy biodiversity; modern agriculture rice production; ecological sustainability; rice paddy biodiversity; modern agriculture

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Luo, Y.; Fu, H.; Traore, S. Biodiversity Conservation in Rice Paddies in China: Toward Ecological Sustainability. Sustainability 2014, 6, 6107-6124.

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