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Assessing the harvested area gap in China


  • Yu, Qiangyi
  • Wu, Wenbin
  • You, Liangzhi
  • Zhu, Tingju
  • van Vliet, Jasper
  • Verburg, Peter H.
  • Liu, Zhenhuan
  • Li, Zhengguo
  • Yang, Peng
  • Zhou, Qingbo
  • Tang, Huajun


Total crop production is a function of the harvested area and the yield. Many studies have investigated opportunities to increase production by closing the yield gap and by expanding cropland area. However, the potential to increase the harvested area by increasing the cropping frequency on existing cropland has remained largely unexplored. Our study suggests that the attainable harvested area gap (HAG) in China ranges from 13.5 to 36.3 million ha, depending on the selected water allocation scenario, relative to the current harvested area of 160.0 million ha. Spatially, South China and the Lower Yangtze region have the largest potential to increase harvested area, as these regions allow triple-cropping, have sufficient water available, and have a good irrigation infrastructure. The results imply that management factors are equally important for exploring the potential against the resource endowment: water allocation has a large impact on both the size and the spatial pattern of the attainable HAG. This indicates the necessity of further examining the spatial-temporal dynamics of HAG at national and regional scales, and its potential contribution to food security and sustainable agricultural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Qiangyi & Wu, Wenbin & You, Liangzhi & Zhu, Tingju & van Vliet, Jasper & Verburg, Peter H. & Liu, Zhenhuan & Li, Zhengguo & Yang, Peng & Zhou, Qingbo & Tang, Huajun, 2017. "Assessing the harvested area gap in China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 212-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:212-220
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2017.02.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Wenbin & Yu, Qiangyi & You, Liangzhi & Chen, Kevin & Tang, Huajun & Liu, Jianguo, 2018. "Global cropping intensity gaps: Increasing food production without cropland expansion," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 515-525.
    2. Lan, Kang & Chen, Xin & Ridoutt, Bradley G. & Huang, Jing & Scherer, Laura, 2021. "Closing yield and harvest area gaps to mitigate water scarcity related to China’s rice production," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 245(C).
    3. Ramshani, Mohammad & Li, Xueping & Khojandi, Anahita & Omitaomu, Olufemi, 2020. "An agent-based approach to study the diffusion rate and the effect of policies on joint placement of photovoltaic panels and green roof under climate change uncertainty," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 261(C).
    4. Zhongen Niu & Huimin Yan & Fang Liu, 2020. "Decreasing Cropping Intensity Dominated the Negative Trend of Cropland Productivity in Southern China in 2000–2015," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(23), pages 1-14, December.
    5. Sun, Zhanli & You, Liangzhi & Müller, Daniel, 2018. "Synthesis of agricultural land system change in China over the past 40 years," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 473-479.

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