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A survey-based exploration of land-system dynamics in an agricultural region of Northeast China


  • Yu, Qiangyi
  • Wu, Wenbin
  • Verburg, Peter H.
  • van Vliet, Jasper
  • Yang, Peng
  • Zhou, Qingbo
  • Tang, Huajun


Understanding the complexity of agricultural systems requires insight into the human–environment interactions. In this paper we used survey data to analyze land system change and its relation to farmer’s attitudes in a typical agricultural region of Northeast China, focusing on land tenure, crop choice and intensification. Our survey shows that land transfer was fairly common across the study area: average farmland acreage per household almost doubled from 1.3ha by early 1980s to 2.6ha by early 2010s, especially due to urban migration of farmers. The survey indicates an increase in land transfers over time with a sharp decrease of the average period of land transfer contracts. Crop choice displays a trend of decreasing diversity as several cereal crops are no longer grown in the study region and the majority of bean cultivation has been replaced by maize and tobacco. Land transfers can explain part of these changes, butnot necessarily the full change to a dominance of a smaller number of crops at the region level. Irrigation intensity is related to the locations of rivers, while agricultural inputs, along with land transfer and crop allocation, show a spatial pattern which is related to road accessibility. Survey results show that two family characteristics (education level and the initially allocated land rights) and two socioeconomic factors (infrastructure and crop prices) are important in making land transfer decisions, while external factors such as market, policy, local cropping system, and agricultural disasters have substantially influenced crop choice decisions. The survey approach is very valuable to analyze land system changes from a stakeholder’s perspective, especially in the absence of statistical data atfarm level.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Qiangyi & Wu, Wenbin & Verburg, Peter H. & van Vliet, Jasper & Yang, Peng & Zhou, Qingbo & Tang, Huajun, 2013. "A survey-based exploration of land-system dynamics in an agricultural region of Northeast China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 106-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:121:y:2013:i:c:p:106-116 DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2013.06.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Knight, John & Deng, Quheng & Li, Shi, 2011. "The puzzle of migrant labour shortage and rural labour surplus in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 585-600.
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    7. Jara-Rojas, Roberto & Bravo-Ureta, Boris E. & Díaz, José, 2012. "Adoption of water conservation practices: A socioeconomic analysis of small-scale farmers in Central Chile," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 54-62.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mingjun Ding & Qian Chen & Xiangming Xiao & Liangjie Xin & Geli Zhang & Lanhui Li, 2016. "Variation in Cropping Intensity in Northern China from 1982 to 2012 Based on GIMMS-NDVI Data," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-16, November.
    2. Shaikh Shamim Hasan & Xiangzheng Deng & Zhihui Li & Dongdong Chen, 2017. "Projections of Future Land Use in Bangladesh under the Background of Baseline, Ecological Protection and Economic Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-21, March.


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