ArticlePDF Available

Marginalization of agricultural land use in hilly areas and its explanation from the livelihood strategy of farmers: A case study on Youyang County

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The authors take the Autonomous County of Tujia and Miao Nationality of Youyang, Chongqing, as an example, and adopt the method of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) to study the livelihoods of rural households in six typical towns. Based on the investigated data and the statistical yearbooks, the study demonstrates the marginalization of agricultural land and presents the responses of farmers to agricultural land use. The results are as follows. During the recent 10 years, the sown area of farm crops and the year-end cultivated area in common use are decreasing. Geographic, geomorphic, and anthropogenic factors have resulted in the abandonment of agricultural lands. Moreover, potential natural disasters threaten agricultural production, including sowing and cultivation. For the diagnosis factors mentioned, it can be predicted that land marginalization has emerged in Youyang. Agricultural land use, especially the marginalization of agricultural land, has been driven by farmer's livelihood strategies and their agricultural land management behavior. The integrative factors, such as threats of geographic environment, small-scale agricultural business, and bad agricultural production conditions, have influenced this behavior as well. Consequently, the livelihood strategies of farmers have become diversified. The fact that income from agricultural production is comparatively low and that the main labor force of agricultural production engages in the secondary and tertiary industries are the primary causes of the shortage of rural labor force and the marginalization of agricultural land. Imitating the process of the county and studying the micro response of the farmer can explain the microcosmic interaction between the marginalization of agricultural land use and farmers' livelihood.
Content may be subject to copyright.
1047
国家自然科学基金重大国际合作交流项目(41161140352)和西南大学光炯培育项目(20120107)资助
收稿日期: 2012-12-07; 修回日期: 2013-02-11; 网络出版日期: 2013-06-27
网络出版地址: http://www.cnki.net/kcms/detail/11.2442.N.20130627.1950.004.html
北京大学学报(自然科学版), 49 , 6, 2013 11
Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis, Vol. 49, No. 6 (Nov. 2013)
Marginalization of Agricultural Land Use in Hilly Areas
and Its Explanation from the Livelihood Strategy of
Farmers: A Case Study on Youyang County
HUA Xiaobo, YAN Jianzhong, ZHOU Chunjiang, CHEN Lan
College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716;
† Corresponding author, E-mail: yanjzswu@126.com
Abstract The authors take the Autonomous County of Tujia and Miao Nationality of Youyang, Chongqing, as an
example, and adopt the method of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) to study the livelihoods of rural households in
six typical towns. Based on the investigated data and the statistical yearbooks, the study demonstrates the
marginalization of agricultural land and presents the responses of farmers to agricultural land use. The results are as
follows. During the recent 10 years, the sown area of farm crops and the year-end cultivated area in common use are
decreasing. Geographic, geomorphic, and anthropogenic factors have resulted in the abandonment of agricultural
lands. Moreover, potential natural disasters threaten agricultural production, including sowing and cultivation. For
the diagnosis factors mentioned, it can be predicted that land marginalization has emerged in Youyang. Agricultural
land use, especially the marginalization of agricultural land, has been driven by farmer’s livelihood strategies and
their agricultural land management behavior. The integrative factors, such as threats of geographic environment,
small-scale agricultural business, and bad agricultural production conditions, have influenced this behavior as well.
Consequently, the livelihood strategies of farmers have become diversified. The fact that income from agricultural
production is comparatively low and that the main labor force of agricultural production engages in the secondary
and tertiary industries are the primary causes of the shortage of rural labor force and the marginalization of
agricultural land. Imitating the process of the county and studying the micro response of the farmer can explain the
microcosmic interaction between the marginalization of agricultural land use and farmers’ livelihood.
Key words agricultural land use; livelihood diversification; marginalization; Youyang County; hilly areas
丘陵山区农户生计策略对农地边际化的解释
——以重庆市酉阳县为例
花晓波 阎建忠 周春江 陈兰
西南大学资源环境学院, 重庆 400716; 通信作者, E-mail: yanjzswu@126.com
摘要 以重庆市酉阳土家族苗族自治县为例, 利用参与式农户评估法(participatory rural appraisal, PRA)对酉阳县 6
个典型乡镇进行农户生计调查, 并结合统计数据, 揭示该县农地边际化的特征, 反映农户生计策略对农地利用的
影响。结果表明: 酉阳县近 10 年来, 农作物播种面积呈下降趋势, 年末常用耕地面积呈减少趋势, 酉阳县由于地
形地貌因素和人为因素的影响出现较多弃耕撂荒现象。酉阳县也存在大量自然灾害隐患, 而这些隐患威胁着农作
物播种和耕作等农业生产活动。酉阳县农地利用过程中出现了边际化现象。通过农户生计策略和农户的农地经营
行为两大方面来解释农地边际化可知, 受自然地理环境的胁迫、小规模农业经营以及农业生产条件恶劣等综合因
北京大学学报(自然科学版) 49
1048
素的影响, 农户的生计呈现多样化。农业收入较低, 农业生产的主要劳动力常年从事第二、三产业是导致农村劳
动力不足及农地边际化的重要原因。通过县域与农户尺度的实证研究, 能够较好地解释农地边际化过程与农户生
计策略之间的微观互动机理。
关键词 农地利用; 生计多样化; 边际化; 酉阳县; 丘陵山区
中图分类号 F301
The small-scale farmer economy remains popular
in China. As a result of the large population and
limited agricultural lands, large numbers of surplus
labor, severe self-exploitation and agricultural
involution have emerged in agriculture[1]. In recent
years, Chinese scholars have paid attention to the
interaction mechanism of agricultural land-use change
and farmer responses. As a basic unit of rural
economy, farmers have an interactive relationship
with the geographic environment. Currently, two
approaches are utilized in land-use change and farmer
responses in academic circles. The first approach
conducts research on the relationship between
agricultural land-use change and rural households in
typical regions using rural economic theory[27]. The
second approach provides technical explanations for
the interaction mechanism between farmers and land
use through simulations of the process of land use
change using micro-scale models[811].
As China became more industrialized and
urbanized, marginalization emerged in the process of
agricultural land use. The theoretical framework of
marginalization of agricultural lands is primarily the
construct of Liu et al[12]. In the framework, pheno-
mena such as “the decrease of net income”, “the
decrease of land intensity”, “the reduction of
cultivated area”, and even “abandonment” have
become the main diagnostic criteria of agricultural
land marginalization. However, current research in
this field is mainly on the macro or meso scale.
Research methods mainly rely on economic analysis,
such as cost-benefit analysis and inframarginal
analysis. However, research on how to reveal the
timespace process of agricultural land marginaliza-
tion; how to reflect the formation mechanism and the
change of internal use method, as well as degree on
the micro scale[12]; and how to reflect the diversifi-
cation of marginalization in various regions are com-
paratively less discussed. Therefore, exploration
of the relations between the dynamic process of
agricultural land marginalization in ecologically
vulnerable region and farmer response has become
a burning task.
The hilly area in the Southeastern Chongqing is
ecologically fragile. With regards to the dual pressure
of ecological and livelihood vulnerability, this area is
both quite distinctive and typical. This paper takes
Youyang County as an example in considering the
livelihood of farmers, as well as their influence and
responses to agricultural land marginalization, in order
to interpret the microscopic mechanism of margina-
lization evolution in this county.
1 Research Region, Data, and App-
roach
1.1 Research region
The research region is located in Youyang Tujia
and Miao Nationality Autonomous County in
Southeastern Chongqing. This county is linked by
Qianjiang District and Xiushan and Pengshui Counties
(Fig. 1). Its geographic coordinates are 108°1825
109°1902 E, 28°192829°2418N. The total square
is 5159.3 km2. The landforms within the county are
divided into three types: the middle mountain
(8001895 m), low mountain (600800 m), and
trough valley (263600 m). The area ratio is
approximately 54.86%, 21.14%, and 24%, respec-
tively. Youyang has a four-season humid monsoon
subtropical climate. Topoclimate is quite prominent in
this area. The annual average temperature decreases
from 17.1ºC in the lowlands (263 m) to 8.1ºC in the
summit (1895 m). The accumulated temperature
decreases from 6228ºC in the lowlands to 4341ºC in
the middle mountain region. The county has
jurisdiction over 38 towns (39 towns originally,
6 花晓波等: 丘陵山区农户生计策略对农地边际化的解释—以重庆市酉阳县为例
1049
governance of Jiangfeng Village transferred to the
town of Longtan in 2011) and 278 administrative
villages, and the county seat is located in the town of
Zhongduo[1314]. Youyang is a National Key Poverty
Alleviation County and belongs to ecologically fragile
zone[15].
1.2 Research data and approach
The basic data in this research include the social
and economical statistical data from the 1998 to 2010
Chongqing Statistical Yearbooks and the 2004 to 2009
Youyang National Economy and Social Development
Statistical Bulletins.
From July to August 2010, we selected the
typical areas according to the three types of landform.
The middle mountain area includes the village of
Longjia, Maoba, and the village of Yingpan, Xinglong.
The low mountain area includes the village of
Honghua, Gongtan, the village of Bajiao, Youchou,
and the village of Shidi, Daxi. The trough valley area
includes the village of Taiping, Ganxi. Farmer’s
livelihood research was conducted in six typical
villages of six towns. The study group adopted the
widely used semi-structured interview of PRA, which
used a particular interview topic and a pre-framed
interview outline. Interviewees discussed their views
on the theme by looking back on what had happened
in the past[16]. Using this method, 246 valid data
samples were collected. The questionnaire mainly
focused on the basic information of the way of life of
the farmers and land use. The main components of the
life of the farmers were as follows. 1) Family
fundamental conditions: the number of family
members, gender, age distribution, educational
backgrounds, and division of household labor; 2)
family income and expenditure: agricultural income,
secondary and tertiary industry income, other income,
living expenses, and expenditure on education and
sanitation; 3) information on part-time jobs,
businesses, and regular jobs of family members; 4)
domestic animals and fixed productive assets owned
by the family; and 5) management of family
agricultural land: total area of possessed cultivated
land, area of renting in and out cultivated land, area
of abandoned land, cultivation radius, etc.
2 Results and Analysis
2.1 Primary diagnosis of marginal pheno-
mena of agricultural land use in You-
yang County
Agricultural land marginalization is a process
comprehensively driven by the society, the economy,
policies, and the natural environment, among others.
Agricultural lands have no longer economic
production capacity under existing land use and
social-economic structure[17]. The study of agricultural
land marginalization remains in the beginning stage in
domestic areas[18]. Huang and Liu[1718] hold the view
that marginal benefits, intensive gradient, and sowing
area of particular agricultural lands use are the three
main indices for diagnosing agricultural land
marginalization. If the marginal benefits of
agricultural land use are negative and show that
intensive gradient is decreasing, if the sowing areas
are reduced or even totally abandoned, and if
agricultural land marginalization and the analysis of
Fig. 1 Study area of Youyang County in Southeast
Chongqing Province, Southwest China
北京大学学报(自然科学版) 49
1050
http://zzys.agri.gov.cn/Article_Show.aspx?ArticleID=57409
http://www.amic.agri.gov.cn/nxtwebfreamwork/detail.jsp?articleId=91851
farmer responses are confirmed by the farmer
investigation data, we can conclude that agricultural
land use shows marginalization[19]. However,
acquiring data on intensive gradient and crop yields
can be difficult due the various calculating methods.
Thus, the present research takes the factors of the
sowing area of crops, commonly cultivated areas at
the end of the year, land abandonment phenomena,
and potential threats of natural disasters as the bases
of the primary diagnosis of the marginalization of
Youyang County agricultural land, considering the
availability of county data and its specificity. The
uncertainty of natural disasters and the damage from
wild animals to crops have an important impact on
agricultural production, such as determining how
many sowing areas of farm crops to cultivate and
whether choosing abandonment of the arable land. So
the study chooses “potential threats of natural disasters”
as an important diagnostic factor of agricultural land
marginalization in the hilly area. Fig. 2 shows the logic
frame diagram of result statements.
Fig. 3 shows that the sown area of the crops in
Youyang County are decreasing, with middle- and
low-yielding fields Comprise the major part. In
20042006, sown area of the crops in Youyang County
grew slowly, however, a sharp decline occurred in
2007. According to reports, Youyang county suffered
storms, floods, hail, and other natural disasters in
agricultural production. From January to September in
2007, there were 14.77 million mu sown area of the
crops affected by disasters (1 mu=1/15 hm2). Sown
area of the crops has increased in 2008 and 2009 while
it was still low compared to that in 2004. Farmers
commonly adopt shorting, multiple cropping,
intercrop and mixed cultivates systems, which are
relevant to elevation and soil fertility, among others.
Fig. 4 shows that the year-end commonly used
cultivated area in Youyang County is decreasing.
Although the area of cultivated land in Youyang
County is comparatively large, the area of basic
agricultural land (that can ensure stable yields despite
drought or excessive rain) is small, and low-yield land
comprises a comparatively large 23.36%. Agricultural
land located above 1000 m accounts for 10.21% [14].
According to the Statistical Bulletin of National
Economy and Social Development of 2004, as much
as 5000 hm2 of land has been abandoned all over the
county. According to the available documents, in
2006, more than 4666.7 hm2 land has been abandoned
in the county. An on-the-spot investigation reveals
massive abandoned fields in Youyang County. The
massive fields can be roughly divided into three types
(Fig. 5). The first type includes completely abandoned
fields that can no longer be cultivated. These hilly
areas have resulted in the leanness of some cultivated
land and long-term decline in capacity. The second
Fig. 2 Logic frame diagram of results statements
6 花晓波等: 丘陵山区农户生计策略对农地边际化的解释—以重庆市酉阳县为例
1051
type covers partially abandoned fields because some
farmers sought economic opportunities by enrolling in
secondary and tertiary industries. This practice is
commonly found among part-time farmers and has
clear seasonal characteristics. The farmers rent out,
employ someone to cultivate, or find other means to
exploit the non-abandoned fields. The third type refers
to fields destroyed by disasters. These fields have
been abandoned because of heavy rain or landslide.
Frequent natural disasters compel the labor force,
similar to “ecological immigrants” to migrate, change
land management and lifestyle, and finally, to abandon
the fields.
Youyang County suffers from frequent natural
disasters such as cold damage, continuous rain, dry
season, floods, and hailstones, among others[13].
Youyang County has a well developed karst landform,
where the karst area accounts for 86.81% of the
county-wide total area, and it also has severe soil
erosion and rocky desertification, as well as fragile
ecological environment. A survey shows there is
15.41% rocky desertification and semi-rocky
desertification land area out of the total land area in
Youyang County[20]. Natural disasters caused by the
rocky desertification are possessed of the characteris-
tics like as many kinds, great strength, high
frequencies and wide distribution. These disasters
show the trends of which have shorter repetition
period, higher frequency and greater loss, so that they
have caused tremendous economic losses to Youyang
County[21]. Disastrous weather can result in the
phenomena of abandoned agricultural land. The
possible existence of potential or recessive natural
disaster is also an important reason of the
marginalization of agricultural land. The coercion of
Fig. 5 Abandoned land in Youyang County (photos taken in 2009 and 2010 by Hua Xiaobo)
Data source: Chongqing Statistical Yearbook (2005 to 2010)
Fig. 3 Sown area of the crops in Youyang County of
Chongqing Province from 2004 to 2009
Data source: Chongqing Statistical Yearbook (2000 to 2008)
Fig. 4 Year-end commonly-used cultivated area in Youyang
County of Chongqing Province from 1999 to 2007
北京大学学报(自然科学版) 49
1052
natural disaster is reflected in the eco-environmental
effect and is finally fed back to agricultural land use.
For example, the sowing season of this county is in
March and April; however, this season usually suffers
from cold damage. The vegetation period of crops is
usually companied by cold waves, continuous low
temperature, low humidity, and so on. Floods not only
destroy agricultural land and crops, but also cause the
loss of domestic animals, and farm equipment, among
others[14].
2.2 Evolution of arable land marginaliza-
tion and responses of rural households
in Youyang County
Table 1 presents the basic situation of investi-
gated farmers. With the rise in the altitude, each
household has fewer members. The study explains the
marginalized agricultural land in Youyang County
from the perspective of farmers’ livelihood strategies
and their management behavior of agricultural land.
2.2.1 Influence of marginalization process of agri-
cultural lands exerted by farmers’ liveli-
hood strategies
Some farmers are engaged in the secondary and
tertiary industries within the studied regions, among
which the highest is within trough valley area (Table 2).
The average ages of farmers in the towns of
Ganxi, Gongtan, Youchou, Daxi, Maoba, and
Xinglong are 31.5, 32.5, 32.5, 30.1, 33.6, and 28
years, respectively. The oldest and the youngest are 66
and 15, 64 and 16, 59 and 16, 74 and 14, 68 and 13,
and 54 and 14 years old, respectively. As to the gender
and educational level, males comprise the larger
proportion. The people mainly have primary and
middle school diplomas.
Analyzed from the perspective of the division
of family labor force, labor force can be divided into
agricultural labor and non-agricultural labor (such as
engaging in the secondary and tertiary industries or
having salary income, etc), and non-labor force
includes students, old people who can not engage in
agricultural production, children, disabled patients
and so on. We can get an intuitive understanding, that
the proportions of non-agricultural labor out of the
total labor force are respectively 55.70%, 55.24%,
41.40%, 40.15%, 49.62% and 39.26% (Fig.6).
Agricultural income and non-agricultural income in
different landform types (trough valley, low mountain
and middle mountain) are respectively 9684, 45564;
5197.85, 15734.15; 4049.54, 10982.86 RMB. As can
be seen, the non-agricultural income is far higher than
the agricultural income. The youth and adults go out
to work in secondary and tertiary industries through
our interview. They get the jobs mostly by themselves
Table 1 Basic situation of investigated farmers
Geomorphic type Trough valley area Low mountain region Middle mountain region
Town (Village) Ganxi
(Taiping)
Gongtan
(Honghua)
Youchou
(Bajiao)
Daxi
(Shidi)
Maoba
(Longjia)
Xinlong
(Yingpan)
Number of surveyed households 25 35 49 39 47 51
Number of family members 124 165 242 207 197 187
Male 63 91 133 111 109 112
Female 61 74 109 96 88 75
Average household 5 4.7 4.9 5.3 4.2 3.7
Table 2 Overview of farmers working in secondary and tertiary industries
Geomorphic type Trough valley area Low mountain region Middle mountain region
Town (Village) Ganxi
(Taiping)
Gongtan
(Honghua)
Youchou
(Bajiao)
Daxi
(Shidi)
Maoba
(Longjia)
Xinlong
(Yingpan)
Households in secondary
and tertiary industries 42 53 61 50 64 44
Percent/% 33.87 32.12 25.21 24.15 32.49 23.53
6 花晓波等: 丘陵山区农户生计策略对农地边际化的解释—以重庆市酉阳县为例
1053
or through relatives. They are away all year and their
jobs are not steady. One of the important reasons for
the marginalization of agricultural land is the
insufficient family laborers; only women, children,
and the elderly, the so-called “386199” troops [18],
remain in the countryside.
2.2.2 Influence of marginalization process of
agricultural land exerted by farmers’
management behavior of agricultural land
The agricultural land management behavior of
farmers profoundly influences changes in agricultural
land use. As mentioned above, young agricultural
labor forces choose to engage to work in the secon-
dary and tertiary industries as the result of relative
shortage of agricultural labor. Farmers tend to
determine the land use activities based on the current
capacity of the labor force. An analysis of the total
area of arable lands, rented-out lands, rented lands,
areas returned to forests from agricultural land,
cultivated lands, abandoned lands, and the number of
agricultural lands, among others, reveals the following
results. The per-capita figures in the six typical towns
are 0.11, 0.08, 0.10, 0.08, 0.19, and 0.11 hm2,
respectively, in the following sequence: middle moun-
tain region > trough valley area > low mountain area.
Renting and rented lands exist in all the six towns.
Because the altitude of middle and low mountain areas
is relatively high and many of sloping lands have
inclination rates above 25°, the towns return
agricultural lands to forests under the organization of
the local government. The returning areas in the
middle mountain relief areas are comparatively big,
measuring 4.30 and 13.08 hm2, respectively (Table 3).
The agriculture infrastructure in Youyang County
is fragile. In the studied area, aside from the
infrastructure, the natural geographical environment is
adverse. For example, the farming radius is large. The
quantity of fields, which are fragmented, is small.
Farmers find living on the income from these fields
due to several reasons. First, very few farmers own
agricultural machinery such as grain separator and
grinder. Instead, they practice traditional cultivation
and methods. Farmers earn money only by agricultural
products and livestock, as well as subsidies from the
government in terms of grain and Grain for Green.
Third, farmers have livelihood expenditures, such as
cropping and breeding expenditures, and living
expenses, such as power, water, goods, education, and
health expenses. Farmers in the studied area live a
Table 3 Farmer’s management behavior of agricultural land
Trough valley area Low mountain region Middle mountain region
Geomorphic type
Town (Village) Ganxi
(Taiping)
Gongtan
(Honghua)
Youchou
(Bajiao)
Daxi
(Shidi)
Maoba
(Longjia)
Xinlong
(Yingpan)
Cultivated land area per capita/hm20.11 0.08 0.10 0.08 0.19 0.11
Total cultivated area/hm2 13.16 13.91 23.22 16.82 37.86 21.37
Rent out of a total area/hm2 2.12 1.58 2.85 0.53 4.60 1.07
Rented a total area/hm2 0.88 2.65 5.33 5.01 12.37 4.56
Grain to Green of total area/hm2 9.45 0.87 5.00 1.49 4.30 13.08
Average farming radius/m 502.3 611 767.5 1091 835.7 677.3
Average agricultural land parcel 3.6 4.7 4.6 5.4 4.6 5.1
Abandoned land area/hm2 0.42 0.17 6.15 5.04 22.83 0.40
Abandoned land/% 3.19 1.25 26.5 29.96 60.3 1.87
1. Ganxi (Taiping), 2. Gongtan (Honghua), 3. Youchou (Bajiao),
4. Daxi (Shidi), 5. Maoba (Longjia), 6. Xinlong (Yingpan)
Fig. 6 Distribution of the proportion of agricultural labor
and non-agricultural labor in the rural labor force
北京大学学报(自然科学版) 49
1054
vulnerable life. A method to achieve agricultural
modernization is to emancipate surplus rural labor.
However, the measure does not apply to the local
farmers. Common policy support for progress in
fragile eco-regions is hard to obtain. Therefore,
farmers need to engage in secondary and tertiary
industries because the two bring in more benefits. All
the studied areas have abandoned agricultural lands,
especially in the middle and low mountain regions.
The largest abandoned agricultural land comprises
60.3% of the whole agricultural land. In general, the
higher altitude, the larger abandon agricultural lands.
3 Conclusion and Discussion
This study has adopted PRA to investigate the
livelihood of rural households in six typical towns in
Youyang County, Chongqing. Based on the statistical
yearbook and farmers’ livelihood survey data, the
study has demonstrated the marginalization of
agricultural land and has presented the farmers’
livelihood strategies to agricultural land use. The
results are as follows.
1) The primarily diagnosis as to whether a
marginal trend exists in agricultural land was done by
studying the changes in cultivated area of the crops,
common agricultural land at the end of the year,
abandoned land, and potential natural disaster. In the
past 10 years, both the sowing area and common
agricultural lands at the end of the year have declined.
The topography and human element have resulted in
many abandoned lands in Youyang County. In
addition, there exist natural disaster risks in Youyang
County, which threaten the agricultural production,
including seeding and agricultural lands. Marginal
activity is evident in Youyang County. Cultivating part
of the low-quality agricultural lands should be ceased.
For the high-quality agricultural lands, farmers should
be guided to cultivate and improve the lands, and
increase output efficiency, thereby avoiding problems
of changing high-quality land into marginal land and
food security.
2) According to the research on the state of
farmers in six typical towns of different landforms in
Youyang, agricultural land marginalization from two
perspectives of farmers’ livelihood strategies and
agricultural land management behavior have been
revealed. Limited by the natural environment,
small-scale management, and condition of agricultural
production, the livelihood strategies of farmers is
diverse. Two problems lead to the shortage of labor in
the countryside and marginal agricultural lands: low
income and the choice of the major agricultural
laborers to work in the secondary and tertiary
industries.
Study of the marginalized agricultural land in
China is just beginning. This research provides a case
of typical mountainous fragile eco-regions for margi-
nalization studies. The interaction between livelihood
diversification and agricultural land use is complex.
The microcosmic interaction between the changing
process of agricultural land use and the living needs of
farmers require further exploration. How to use the
micro-scale model to simulate the process of
agricultural land margining is a problem that demands
prompt solution.
Acknowledgments The authors would like to
thank Dr. Wang Yang from Peking University for his
help in revision of this paper.
References
[1] He Xuefeng. The logic of land rights trend of
Chinese countryside land system. Beijing: China
University of Political Science and Law Press, 2010
[2] Tian Yujun, Li Xiubin, Chen Yuqi, et al. A review on
research advances in farm labor migration and its
impacts on farm land use. Journal of Natural
Resources, 2010, 25(4): 686695
[3] Tian Yujun, Li Xiubin, Ma Guoxia, et al. Influences of
labor emigration from agriculture on the production
abandonment of cultivated land in ecological sensitive
areas. China Land Science, 2010, 24(7): 49
[4] Tian Yujun, Li Xiubin, Xin Liangjie, et al. Impacts of
the rise of labor opportunity cost on agricultural land
use changes a case study of Ningxia Hui
Autonomous Region. Journal of Natural Resources,
2009, 24(3): 369377
6 花晓波等: 丘陵山区农户生计策略对农地边际化的解释—以重庆市酉阳县为例
1055
[5] Li Xiubin. Research priorities for land use change in
the accelerated phase of urbanization. China Popu-
lation Resources and Environment, 2009, 19(5): 15
[6] Chen Yuqi, Li Xiubin, Zhu Huiyi, et al. Agricultural
land use responses to increasing labor opportunity
cost in Suixian County of Henan Province. Progress in
Geography, 2010, 29(9): 10671074
[7] Chen Yuqi, Li Xiubin, Sheng Yan. Land use changes
caused by biofuel production. Journal of Natural
Resources, 2010, 25(9): 14961505
[8] Yan Jianzhong, Zhang Yili, Bai Wanqi, et al.
Livelihood succession and land use/cover change in
the Upper Reaches of Dadu River watershed.
Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural
Engineering, 2005, 21(3): 8389
[9] Bai Wanqi, Zhang Yongmin, Yan Jianzhong, et al.
Simulation of land use dynamics in the upper reaches
of the Dadu river. Geographical Research, 2005,
24(2): 206212
[10] Yan Jianzhong, Zhang Yili, Bai Wanqi, et al. Land
cover changes based on plant successions: defores-
tation, rehabilitation and degeneration of forest in the
upper Dadu River watershed. Science in China: Ser D,
2005, 48(12): 22142230
[11] Chen Hai, Wang Tao, Liang Xiaoying, et al.
Simulation and application of households LUCC
based on a multi-agent system: a case study for
Mengcha Village of Mizhi County of Shaanxi
Province. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2009, 64(12):
14481456
[12] Liu Chengwu, Li Xiubin. Regional differences in the
changes of the agricultural land use in China during
19802002. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006, 61(2):
139145
[13] Editorial Committee of Chorography of Youyang
County. Youyang Chorography. Chongqing: Chong-
qing Publishing House, 2002
[14] Editorial Committee of Overview of Youyang County.
Overview of Youyang County. Beijing: The Ethical
Publishing House, 2008
[15] Chen Jiansheng. Study on rural chronic poverty in
ecological fragile region — based on monitoring
evidence from 600 national poverty alleviation
county. Beijing: Economic Science Press, 2009
[16] Hao Shilong, Li Bicheng, Yu Qiang. Application of
the participatory rural appraisal and GIS method to the
research of small scale land use change. Journal of
Natural Resources, 2005, 20(2): 309315
[17] Huang Liming. Study on the marginalization of arable
Land and its effects: a case of Tongcheng County
Hubei Province. Beijing: China Meteorological Press,
2010
[18] Liu Chengwu. Study on the marginalization of arable
land in China. Beijing: Science Press, 2009
[19] Liu Chengwu, Li Xiubin. The character and diagnostic
criterion for marginisation of the arable land. Progress
in Geography, 2005, 24(2): 106113
[20] Li Weike, Yang Hua, Liu Jinping. Empirical research
on classification and control modes of karst rocky
desertification zone in southeastern Chongqing based
on remote sensing a case study of Youyang in
Chongqing. Journal of Shenyang Normal University:
Natural Science, 2006, 24(4): 490494
[21] Zhang Jing. Present situation appraisal and district
control research of Youyang’s karst rocky deserti-
fication[D]. Chongqing: Chongqing Normal
University, 2006
... Tan et al. [25] explored the impact of farmland marginalization on changes in land use in mountainous and hilly areas. Lu et al. [29] and Hua et al. [30] used social survey methods to investigate the influence of farmers' family characteristics on farmland marginalization, and revealed that small-scale and young families were more likely to abandon farming. In addition, a sample survey report showed that the abandonment ratio of farmland in hilly and mountainous areas in China was 14.32% in 2014-2015 [31]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Farmland is the most precious natural resource and the primary source of food for human beings. Urbanization not only occupies a large amount of farmland spatially, but also economically squeezes agricultural production, resulting in farmland marginalization and causing serious threats to food security. However, the manner in which rapid urbanization drives farmland marginalization in surrounding areas and the factors that might play a dominant role in this process remain elusive. Therefore, the present study considered rapidly urbanized regions of 128 county-level units in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) of China from 2000 to 2020 as the study area. Methods such as spatial autocorrelation analysis, hotspot analysis, and multiple linear regression analysis were used to explore the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics and the driving factors of farmland marginalization. The results showed that: (i) the marginalization ratio of farmland in YRD from 2000 to 2020 was 31.34%, with a distinctly increasing trend, generally high in the central and southern and low in the north areas; (ii) marginalization exhibited different spatial agglomeration under different influencing factors: the economy-induced marginalization ratio was 23.19%, playing a dominant role, in general, distributed as high in the middle and low on the sides, while the nature-induced marginalization ratio was 8.15%, and in general, the spatial pattern shifted from discrete- to a clear- distribution of high in the south and low in the north; and, (iii) farmland area per capita, total power of agricultural machinery, GDP per capita and government farmland subsidies were the main factors driving farmland marginalization. In addition, nature-induced marginalization was primarily driven by economic level and topographical conditions, whereas economy-induced marginalization was primarily driven by production conditions. We suggest that in the future, corresponding policies and measures should be established to reduce farmland marginalization in rapidly urbanized areas and to ensure food security.
... Youyang is a National Key Poverty Alleviation County and belongs to an ecologically fragile zone (Chen, 2009;Editorial Committee of Chorography of Youyang County, 2002;Editorial Committee of Overview of Youyang County, 2008;Hua et al., 2013Hua et al., , 2014. Youyang County lies in Southeastern Chongqing (Fig. 1). ...
Article
Understanding the manifestations and underlying drivers of agricultural land use change in China is of great importance for both domestic and global food security. However, little is known about the holistic pattern of agricultural land use change across China, especially from the perspective of intensity since the evidence has been gathered mainly through case studies at local levels. This study conducts a systemic review of agricultural land use change and its underlying drivers in China by aggregating 169 relevant case studies from 123 publications. The cases related to intensification and disintensification, which are the two types of agricultural land use change, are generally equal, accounting for 50% of the total number of cases. Intensification and disintensification can be further divided into the same three categories: expansion/contraction of agricultural land, changes in agricultural land use activities and changes in land management intensity. Demographic, economic, technological, and institutional drivers, together with location factors, are frequently noted as significant underlying drivers, while sociocultural drivers and farm(er) characteristics are less frequently recognized. Finally, three major land use change trajectories are summarized mainly concerning rising labor costs and the concomitant increase in off-farm employment, the ecological improvement policy, and advances in agricultural technology.
Article
Full-text available
Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) offer a conceptual approach to include multi-actor decision making into models of land use change. Through the simulation based on the MAS, this paper tries to show the application of MAS in the micro scale LUCC. This paper starts with a description of the context of MAS research. Then, based on the BDI (belief, desire, intention) decision-making architecture, it provides a model for the household decisionmaking. Based upon this framework, Section 4 reports a case study for Mengcha Village of Mizhi County of Shaanxi Province. Section 5 gives the simulated LUCC of 2008, and verifies the result. Section 6 discusses the potentials and drawbacks of the following approach. From our design and implementation of the MAS in a micro scale model, a number of observations and conclusions can be drawn on the implementation and future research directions. (1) The use of BDI decision-making to represent individual households provides a more realistic modeling of the making-decision process. (2) The use of continuous function, not discrete function, which constructs the interaction among households, is more realistic to reflect the effect. (3) This paper attempts to give a quantitative method to analyze the household interaction. And it provides the premise and foundation for researching the communication and learning. (4) The BDI decision-making architecture constructed in this paper helps to accumulate theoretical and practical experience for the interaction research between the micro land use decision-making and the macro land use landscape. Our future research work will focus on the following aspects. (1) The scale issues should be paid attention to the transformation of the household land use decision-making to the collective decision-making. (2) The methods should be explored on the researches into the household decision-making in a longer period of time, so as to build the bridge between long-term LUCC data and short-term household making-decision. (3) The quantitative method and molder, especially the scenario analysis molder, should be researched, which may reflect the interaction among the different household types.
Article
Full-text available
To link regional land use/cover changes with environmental effects, land cover changes are required to reflect vegetation successions, whereas the land cover classification systems commonly used nowadays cannot serve this purpose. In this paper, a new land cover classification system is established in which land covers are classified by the vegetation successions, taking Zamtang County, Barkam County and Jinchuan County in the upper Dadu River watershed as a study area. Using multi-temporal remote sensing images, the land cover data of 1967, 1986 and 2000 are obtained by means of integration of unsupervised classification and visual interpretation methods. The database facilitates the study of land use/cover changes, environmental effects and ecological construction. Land cover changes reflect the main ecological processes in the upper Dadu River watershed. The landscape composed mainly of grasslands, wildwoods and alpine scrubs in 1967 was changed to that of grasslands, secondary forests, alpine scrubs, fragmentary wildwoods, artificial forests, secondary scrubs in 2000, meanwhile, the landscape got more fragmentized. The total area of the forests decreased by 9.43%. Study results have shown the process of restoration of logged areas in forest centers. From 1967 to 2000, only 6.86 percents of logged areas were converted to shrubs, meadows or croplands, and the rest were converted into artificial forests or secondary forests. So the ecological shelter functions will be restored, stage by stage. Firewood collection, charcoal production and overgrazing are the three major triggers for the extensive degradation of alpine oak forests, Sabina tibetica forests and meadows. The arid valley grasslands expanded too. The degradation of vegetation in the southern slopes impairs ecological shelter functions and affects livelihood of local residents, so it is essential to find effective measures for ecological restoration and reconstruction. Field investigations have found that the current measures have not concerned with how to keep the livelihood of local farmers and herders. The most important measure for ecological protection and restoration is to help the farmers and herders to raise the living standard, which means that they will never need to rely only on the colonizing of croplands, the logging of forests and the grazing of livestock to make a livingKeywords: land use/cover classification, upper Dadu River watershed, vegetation successions, GIS, RS.
Article
Based on field survey, family questionnaire, historical datum analysis and interpretation of remote sensing data, this study presents livelihood succession during 1950-2000 and land cover change during 1967-2000 in Rangtang County, Maerkang County and Jinchuan County in the Upper Reaches of Dadu River watershed, by the combined using of geographic information systems (GIS) method and remote sensing (RS) method. The results show: there are different livelihood succession in the valley areas, middle-mountain areas, forest areas and pasture areas in the Upper Reaches of Dadu River watershed. At the collective economy stage, livelihoods of all the residents rest on agriculture and herds, which resulting in involution of agriculture. As labor forces transferred to the second and third industry to seek better livelihoods after the 1980s, livelihood of the whole region has diverse successions, as it is easier for the labor forces in valley areas to transfer to the second and third industry, harder for labor forces in middle-mountain areas, impossible for labor forces in pasture areas. As a result, involution cultivation system in the valley areas and middle-mountain areas is given up and agricultural structure is adjusted according to market needs, while the mountain nomadism has no marked changes. The residents in the valley areas and forest areas are positive to environmental degradation, while residents in the middle-mountain areas and pasture areas are passive to it. Driven by diverse livelihood successions, land use change successions and response models, the land cover change dynamics are also different in the four regions. This paper also shows that changing livelihood models and transferring the labor forces to the second and third industry are the key countermeasures for social and economic development and ecological rehabilitation of ecotone.
Article
China has entered the middle stage of urbanization since the mid-1980s. In this accelerated phase of urbanization, the main features of land-use change are: the rapid expansion of construction land; a significant reduction in arable land; fanning land intensity passing over its inflection point. The most important factors affecting future land-use change in China include: the process of urbanization, agricultural labor force changes, and governments' environmental protection policy. From a macro point of view, there are conflicts among land demands from food security, urbanization and ecological protection, that is, a "Trilemma" exists in China's land policy. In order to co-ordinate these landuse conflicts, the key is to grasp the reasonable requirements of the land, to understand the change of land use intensity as well as the effects of land-use changes. Greater priority should be given to research in these three land use change issues.
Article
Based on the cost-income data (1980-2002) of farm produce and the China Agricultural Yearbook, taking these main crops in the progress of the arable land use as a case study, this paper studied the regional differences in the changes of the agricultural land use in China during the period 1980-2002 from three aspects as the degree of intensity, the sown area and the abandonment of the arable land. The results showed that: (1) The degree of intensity of land use in the western region (WR) during 1980-2000 had a strong increasing trend, but in the eastern region (ER) and in the central region (CR) the degree of intensity descended notablely and has had a sustained declining trend since 1997. (2) The total sown area of the crops shrank evidently in the ER, but the total sown area of crops had a stable trend of expansion in the WR. (3) The sown area in the ER, CR and WR went through a similar process, i.e., shrinking (1980-1985)-expanding (1985-1991)-shrinking (1991-1994) -expanding (1994-1999)-shrinking (1999-2002). However, there was a marked difference in the change extent and its tendency of the sown area among them. The sown area had a marked declining tendency in the WR and expanded in the CR and WR especially before 1999. (4) The abandoned cultivated land area was the largest in the CR, moderate in the ER and the smallest in the WR. The abandonment phenomena emerged in 1992-1995 in the ER, in 1998-2002 in the CR, and the time of the abandonment in the WR had no feature of concentration.
Article
Rising labor opportunity cost is one of the most important characteristics of farmers’ economic environment in present China, and brings great agricultural land use changes correspondingly. Based on the stratified random sample of rural households in Sui County, this paper estimates the opportunity cost of farm labors, and then analyzes its effect on farmers’ agricultural land use decisions. The findings show that the households with higher labor opportunity cost are more likely to reduce labor intensity and increase labor-saving input in their land use decisions. From the descriptive analysis, we also find these households always prefer grain crop planting, reduce yield-raising input or even rent out their cultivated land. As labor and yield-raising input are two essential positive factors for grain production, continuous declining of labor input and yield-raising input caused by rising labor opportunity cost may influence the grain yield per unit area in the future.
Article
Based on the cost-benefit data (1980–2002) of farm products and China Agriculture Yearbooks, this paper studies the regional disparity in the changes of the agricultural land use in China during the period 1980–2002 from three aspects such as the degree of intensity, the sown area and the abandoned farmland. The results show that: (1) The degree of intensity of land use in the western region during 1980–2000 has a strong uptrend, but in the eastern and central regions the degree of intensity descends obviously and has shown a continuous downtrend since 1997. (2) The total sown area shrinks notably in the eastern region, while it enlarges constantly in the western region. (3) The sown area in the eastern, central and western regions has gone through a similar cyclic process: down (1980–1985)-up (1985–1991)-down (1991–1994)-up (1994–1999)-down (1999–2002). However, there are obvious differences in amplitude variation and tendency among them. The sown area has shrunk in the eastern region and expanded in the central and western regions especially before 1999. (4) The most cases of abandoned farmland are reported in the central region, the second in the eastern region and the least in the western region. The abandonment phenomena chiefly occurred during 1992–1995 in the eastern region, and during 1998–2002 in the central region.
Article
Based on the clear introduction of the connotation of marginalization, the index of diagnosing the marginalization degree is put forward. According to the 685 copies of questionnaires on peasant households in Tongcheng County of Hubei Province and the statistical data of local government, marginalization of arable land and its correlation with rural labor migration in Tongcheng County are studied by using aggregative indicator method, clustering analysis method and correlation analysis method. Result shows that marginalization of arable land has happened two times in Tongcheng County since 1985. Dry land has severer marginalization degree than paddy field. There is significant correlation between marginalization degree of arable land and rural labor migration; and the correlation between marginalization degree and rural labor migration in paddy field is greater than that in dry land. Marginalization of arable land will advance the rural labor migration, while in response to the poor current circulation of lands; the rural labor migration will further deepen the marginalization degree. Marginalization of arable land is one of the important factors affecting the labor migration in rural areas.