Zhanli Sun

Zhanli Sun
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies | IAMO · Department of Structural Development of Farms and Rural Areas

PhD

About

74
Publications
33,082
Reads
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3,047
Citations
Introduction
I mainly work on the understanding the dynamics of land systems and rural development. I employ wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods including system thinking, agent-based models, system dynamics, Bayesian network, and spatial econometrics. I am particularly interested the geographic regions experiencing fast socioeconomic and land system transformations, such as China, SE Asia, northern Argentina etc.
Additional affiliations
November 2008 - present
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)
Position
  • Senior Researcher
September 2000 - October 2006
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 1999 - August 2000
Eastern Michigan University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (74)
Article
CONTEXT Social networks play an important role in the diffusion of knowledge, and farmers draw on their personal networks to enhance their adaptive capacity to shocks. Different forms of proximity have been long recognized as important factors in knowledge and information exchanges. However, the specific roles and their interactions in agricultural...
Article
A dynamic market for farmland transactions can contribute to an increase in average farm size and to realising economies of scale in farming. China, with more than 200 million small and fragmented farms, has launched a new wave of land tenure reforms that foster land transfers to increase farm size and to improve agricultural efficiency. However, t...
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Honeybee pollination plays a significant role in sustaining the balance and biodiversity of sustainable rural development, agricultural production, and environments. However, little research has been carried out on the agricultural and economic benefits of pollination, especially for small farmers. This study investigated the adoption of honeybee p...
Preprint
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Agent-based models are used in a huge diversity of contexts, which complicates the establishment of a shared understanding of model validity and adequate methods for model construction, inference and validation. Starting from the widely accepted tenet that model validity can only be judged with respect to a well-defined modelling purpose and contex...
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Green-growth theory asserts that green-innovations will allow us to decouple economic growth from pollution. Policies that promote green-innovations are therefore paramount. Scholarship has become increasingly interested in how green-clusters can contribute to sustainable innovation and decoupled green-growth. In this study, we create an agent-base...
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The greening of the Earth over the last decades is predominantly indicated by the enhancements of leaf area index (LAI). Quantifying the relative contribution of multiple determinants, especially changes in climate and in land management changes (LMC), remains an arduous challenge. To solve this problem, we develop a simple yet novel data‐driven me...
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Deforestation is a main threat to the biosphere due to its contribution to biodiversity loss, carbon emissions, and land degradation. Most deforestation is illegal and continues unabated, representing around half of the total deforestation in the tropics and subtropics. Quantifying illegal deforestation is challenging, let alone assessing the socia...
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Information and communications technologies (ICTs) play a key role in improving agricultural production, enhancing socio-ecological resilience, and mitigating rural poverty. However, the use of ICTs for agricultural development among smallholder farmers, especially in the least developed countries, still lags behind. It is therefore critical to und...
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Spatially explicit global cropping system data products, which provide critical information on harvested areas, crop yields, other management variables, are imperative to tackle current grand challenges such as global food security and climate change. These cropping system datasets are also very useful for researchers as they can support various sc...
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Actor-level data on large-scale commercial agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa are scarce. The peculiar choice of transnational investing in African land has, therefore, been subject to conjecture. Addressing this gap, we reconstructed the underlying logics of investment location choices in a Bayesian network, using firm- and actor-level interview an...
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Crop monitoring is crucial to understand crop production changes, agronomic practice decision-support, pests/diseases mitigation, and developing climate change adaptation strategies. Banana, an important staple food and cash crop in East Africa, is threatened by Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) disease. Yet, there is no up-to-date information about th...
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Despite the looming land scarcity suited for agricultural expansion, farmland abandonment is widespread globally. The recultivation of some abandoned farmlands could unlock the untapped agricultural potential. Yet, little is known about the determinants of recultivation. To better understand the behavioral intentions of farmers regarding the recult...
Article
Despite the looming land scarcity suited for agricultural expansion, farmland abandonment is widespread globally. The recultivation of some abandoned farmlands could unlock the untapped agricultural potential. Yet, little is known about the determinants of recultivation. To better understand the behavioral intentions of farmers regarding the recult...
Article
CONTEXT Cropland intensification promises additional food supply without further expanding croplands into natural ecosystems. Cropland use intensity measures the degree of intensification by various indicators, both from input and output perspectives; all of these indicators are however not always coherent—which may cause confusion and send contrad...
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Livestock cultivation is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for 14.5% of the total anthropogenic emissions. China is responsible for a considerable share of the global livestock emissions, particularly caused by pork production. We used the Kaya identity and the logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI) to decompose the...
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Grazing leads to the reduction of biomass and plays a critical role in land degradation in arid and semiarid lands. However, the indirect effects of grazing on the ecosystem, e.g., the effect on seed dispersal, have not been well understood. In this study, we built an agent-based model (ABM) to simulate how grazing intensity affects the seed disper...
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Massive and rapid urbanization has led to population loss in rural areas, particularly in emerging and developing countries like China. As a result, houses in rural areas become vacant, and the house prices in cities, at the same time, skyrocket. While the research on the vacant farmhouses market (VFM) is a pressing issue for sustainable urbanizati...
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Changes in land management and climate alter vegetation dynamics, but the determinants of vegetation changes often remain elusive, especially in global drylands. Here we assess the determinants of grassland greenness on the Mongolian Plateau, one of the world's largest grassland biomes, which covers Mongolia and the province of Inner Mongolia in Ch...
Preprint
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Investment and market conditions across much of Africa are unfavorable. With scarce empirical evidence, the peculiar choice of investing in land in the African frontiers has been the subject of many conjectures. We address this gap by reconstructing the underlying logics of investment location choices in a Bayesian network with firm and actor level...
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Farmer cooperatives may promote technology adoption in agricultural production, which, in turn, increases crop productivity and farmers' income. However, empirical evidence of how and to what extent cooperatives facilitate the technology adoption extensity, defined as the number of technologies adopted by a farmer from a wide range of agricultural...
Article
Unsustainable production systems can exacerbate the negative consequences of deforestation and land use change, increasing the vulnerability of local populations to environmental or economic crises. We developed and applied a participatory method to assess the sustainability of agricultural production systems in the Chaco region of Northern Argenti...
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Crop booms in forest frontiers are a major contributor to land conversion and deforestation. In this study, we investigate the smallholder-driven northern Laos rubber boom in two case study areas (CSAs) with different speed and intensity of rubber expansion. We assess the relative importance of market, contextual, and behavioral factors in fosterin...
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Despite the benefits associated with the free movement of people, governments often try to regulate urban immigration by constraining the agency of potential rural out-migrants in moving to cities and/or in expanding their agency to enable them to stay put. We apply an institutional framework centring on push–pull and retain–repel factors to migrat...
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Available potassium (AVK) in the soil of cropland is one of the most important factors determining soil quality and agricultural productivity. Thus, it is crucial to understand the variation of AVK and its influencing factors for sustaining soil fertility and mitigating land degradation. Farm households are the ultimate land users, and their land-u...
Article
Many emerging economies have experienced rapid urbanization in an unprecedented scale and speed in the past few decades. While the urban expansion has led to the formation of metropolitan areas and promoted the economic development, it also exerts enormous pressure on environment and threatens food security. The efficient use of urban land becomes...
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Higher crop yields are critical to satisfy the rising global food demand. Russia holds untapped potential for increasing agricultural production because current grain yields are often far below the potentially attainable yields. Western Siberia is an important breadbasket in Russia, where wheat yields fall particularly short of their potential. Our...
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The nitrogen cycle has been radically changed by human activities1. China consumes nearly a third of the world’s nitrogen fertilizers. The excessive application of fertilizers2,3 and increased nitrogen discharge from livestock, domestic and industrial sources have resulted in pervasive water pollution. Quantifying a nitrogen ‘boundary’4 in heteroge...
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The concentration of crop cultivation can be measured in terms of spatial clustering and of inequality in the distribution of the cropland area. We used official agricultural statistics at the county level (N = 2,354) for each year from 1980 to 2011 for all of China to analyse the changes in spatial clustering and inequality of overall cropland and...
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Since the rural reform started in 1979, China’s agricultural land system has experienced fundamental changes in land use intensity, spatial configuration pattern, and land tenure settings. In this short paper, we provide an overview on the key characteristics of China’s land system transformation, and put it in context through synthesizing an array...
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供给侧改革推进背景下,研究特色农业产业结构优化和转型发展问题对于整体上提升农业的供给质量、效益和竞争力具有重要的理论和现实意义。以蜂产业为例,基于供给侧表征与影响因素互动这样一个内在逻辑,构建我国蜂产业供给侧改革的分析框架,结合连续7年蜂农固定观察点数据,从产量变动趋势、产业结构、生产效率和生产效益4个方面分析我国蜂产业现状,探讨蜂产业发展所面临的问题。结果表明,总量上蜂蜜产量增长速度远高于蜂群数量增长,说明单群生产能力在提高;产业结构上,中蜂数量及中蜂蜜占比近年来提高较快,产品结构仍以原料型蜂蜜、蜂王浆等产品为主,消费结构上以内销为主,出口逐年扩大;效益和效率指标显示除了单群生产率提高外,资金生产率变化微弱,劳动生产率甚至出现下降,养蜂净利润在波动中略有上升;产业发展中的要素供给失衡、生产...
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The use of agent-based modelling approaches in ex-post and ex-ante evaluations of agricultural policies has been progressively increasing over the last few years. There are now a sufficient number of models that it is worth taking stock of the way these models have been developed. Here, we review 20 agricultural agent-based models (ABM) addressing...
Article
Water scarcity has been the main restraint factor for the development of oasis cities around the world. Urumqi, a typical oasis city in arid northwestern China, is facing an increasing water shortage with rapid development over the past decades. In this paper, we use a system dynamics method and multi-scenario simulation to predict the water-resour...
Article
Various tools and methods are used in participatory modelling, at different stages of the process and for different purposes. The diversity of tools and methods can create challenges for stakeholders and modelers when selecting the ones most appropriate for their projects. We offer a systematic overview, assessment, and categorization of methods to...
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The development of animal husbandry in China is facing enormous pressure from increasing demand of meat consumption, climate change, degrading grassland, and changing national policies. This paper presents the latest findings from an anthropological field investigation interviewing local herders, traders, and local officials from farming–pastoral e...
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Based on questionnaire data on beekeepers in five counties in Sichuan Province, we use model of proactive adaptation to climate change (MPPACC) framework and ordered Probit model to analyze the beekeepers' perception of climate change and its influencing factors. The results showed that the sensitivity perception and the severity perception of clim...
Article
Forest reference levels (FRLs) provide a benchmark for assessing reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), and they are central to demonstrate additionality of REDD+. Attaining realistic FRLs, however, is challenging, especially in complex mosaic landscapes. We established FRLs in northern Laos for different reference per...
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Agricultural food production in China is deeply vulnerable to extreme droughts. Although there are many studies to evaluate this issue from different aspects, comprehensive assessments with full consideration of climate change, crop rotations, irrigation effects, and socioeconomic factors in broad scales have not been well addressed. Considering bo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Water is of paramount importance to Chinese agricultural production and food security. Yet water is extremely scarce in China; spatially and temporally uneven distribution, water pollution, inefficient water use, fragmented water management and the effects of climate change further exacerbate the problem of water scarcity. Against this background,...
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Agent-based models (ABMs) are increasingly recognized as valuable tools in modelling human-environmental systems, but challenges and critics remain. One pressing challenge in the era of “Big Data” and given the flexibility of representation afforded by ABMs, is identifying the appropriate level of complicatedness in model structure for representing...
Article
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is a promising mechanism of payments for ecosystem services with the aim to effectively reduce emissions in an efficient and equitable manner. REDD+ is part of the Paris-agreement reached at the UNFCCC COP21 in December 2015, but questions on whether REDD+ will work and bring mult...
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Understanding the processes of historical land-use change is crucial to the research of global environmental sustainability. Here we examine and attempt to disentangle the evolutionary interactions between land-use change and its underlying causes through a historical lens. We compiled and synthesized historical land-use change and various biophysi...
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International research has focused more attention on arid and semiarid regions in recent years, as climate change has already had adverse impacts on grasslands and local households in the Mongolian plateau. Based on meteorological data, GIMMS AVHRR NDVI3g data, and livestock records, through statistical analysis, a significantly strong warming tren...
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The proliferation of agent-based models (ABMs) in recent decades has motivated model practitioners to improve the transparency, replicability, and trust in results derived from ABMs. The complexity of ABMs has risen in stride with advances in computing power and resources, resulting in larger models with complex interactions and learning and whose...
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Recognition of the importance of forests for local livelihoods, biodiversity and the climate system has spurred a growing interest in understanding the factors that drive forest-cover change. Forest transitions, the change from net deforestation to net reforestation, may follow different pathways depending on a complex interplay of driving forces....
Conference Paper
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Land system change has major consequences for climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and is central to the debate of sustainable development. Land policies aimed at guiding land system towards sustainable pathways need to be informed by better understanding of land system change, and often rely on the forecasting of future land system...
Article
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International climate negotiations have stressed the importance of considering emissions from forest degradation under the planned REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation + enhancing forest carbon stocks) mechanism. However, most research, pilot-REDD+ projects and carbon certification agencies have focused on deforestati...
Conference Paper
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Understanding local land-use trajectories is of vital importance for designing and implementing REDD+ projects. But such understanding is often marred by difficulties to relate to the effects of broad-scale underlying causes on local land-use responses. In this research, we used participatory data collection methods to calibrate Bayesian networks i...
Article
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The mechanism of urban growth and its interaction with socioeconomic and environmental systems still are poorly understood. Consequently, policy makers and planners often face tremendous difficulties in decision making with lack of vision into the future of urban growth. The Land-use Evolution and Impact Assessment Model (LEAM) has been developed a...
Article
Full-text available
Data mining methods have been widely and successfully used in many fields in the last decade. And geographic knowledge discovery and spatial data mining also have attracted more attentions recently. This paper presents an ART-MMAP neural network based spatio-temporal data mining method to simulate and predict urban expansion. The spatial matrices d...
Article
This study investigated the modeling process for simulating the spatial dynamics of an urban ecosystem. Logistic regression is a common method for empirically modeling and analyzing land use and land use change. In most conventional applications of logistic regression, only the individual factors of the system are considered in the development of t...
Article
Full-text available
Data mining methods have been widely and successfully used in many fields in the last decade. And geographic knowledge discovery and spatial data mining also have attracted more attentions recently. This paper presents an ART-MMAP neural network based spatio-temporal data mining method to simulate and predict urban expansion. The spatial matrices d...
Article
Full-text available
Cities are complex systems that arise through a complex interaction of many factors. As a result, the mechanism of urban growth and its interaction with social, economic and environmental systems are still poorly understood. Policy makers and planners often face tremendous difficulties in decision making with a lack of vision into the future of urb...
Article
The Land use Evolution and impact Assessment Model (LEAM) is a cellular urban dynamics model designed to simulate changing landscapes over space and time. One of the challenging problems in the LEAM model is calibrating the model results, and this study presents a step to calibration. The probability of land use change in each cell is determined by...