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The Transformation of Agricultural Development towards a Sustainable Future from an Evolutionary View on the Chinese Loess Plateau: A Case Study of Fuxian County

Listed author(s):
  • Yanjun Guo


    (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Anwai, Beijing 100101, China
    University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)

  • Yansui Liu


    (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Anwai, Beijing 100101, China)

  • Qi Wen


    (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Anwai, Beijing 100101, China
    School of Resources and Environment, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China)

  • Yurui Li


    (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Anwai, Beijing 100101, China)

Registered author(s):

    The Loess Plateau in China receives lots of attention from around the world. The expansion of bad agricultural practices for hundreds of years aggravated the soil erosion on the Loess Plateau, however, and a lot of efforts were and are being made to reduce the serious soil erosion as well as regional poverty. Agricultural development of the Loess Plateau is still confronted with intricate challenges such as food concerns, environment concerns, and regional poverty. The strategy of development towards sustainability offers a possible and important way to face the challenges. This study tried to develop a holistic “variation-selection-replication-retention” model to analyze the transformation of agricultural development from an evolutionary view which is generally integrative. It is indicated that policies should be lively and vibrant organisms full of innovations owning to ever-changing environment in the evolutionary view. Under this analytical framework, one possible path from serious soil erosion region to region with sustainable agriculture could be recognized in the case study of Fuxian County: serious soil erosion regions → regions with poor production conditions → production-optimized regions → regions with developed agriculture → regions with sustainable agriculture. Diversified integrative development is suggested due to regional differences and the possible developing order in Fuxian County. State-subsidized “Grain for Green” policy and diversified land use are necessary for the transformation of serious soil erosion regions which are usually trapped in regional poverty. To the transformation of regions with poor production conditions, a state-subsidized “production optimization” policy and diversified land use deserve to be considered, due to regional poverty in regions with poor production conditions. Agricultural scale operation is priority for the transformation of production-optimized regions towards agricultural modernization. Ecological thinking is very helpful for the transformation of regions with developed agriculture. The area of serious soil erosion regions in Fuxian County has dropped down from 1760 km 2 in 1949 to 360.6 km 2 in 2010. The diversified integrative routine tends to be one possible way to realize the development towards sustainability.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 1-25

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:6:p:3644-3668:d:36779
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    1. Foster, John & Metcalfe, J. Stan, 2012. "Economic emergence: An evolutionary economic perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 420-432.
    2. Markus C. Becker & Nathalie Lazaric & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 2005. "Applying organizational routines in understanding organizational change," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(5), pages 775-791, October.
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    4. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1993. "Knowledge of the Firm and the Evolutionary Theory of the Multinational Corporation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 24(4), pages 625-645, December.
    5. Xu, Zhigang & Xu, Jintao & Deng, Xiangzheng & Huang, Jikun & Uchida, Emi & Rozelle, Scott, 2006. "Grain for Green versus Grain: Conflict between Food Security and Conservation Set-Aside in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 130-148, January.
    6. Nill, Jan & Kemp, Ren, 2009. "Evolutionary approaches for sustainable innovation policies: From niche to paradigm?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 668-680, May.
    7. Powell, John H. & Wakeley, Timothy M., 2003. "Evolutionary concepts and business economics: Towards a normative approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 153-161, February.
    8. Uchida, Emi & Xu, Jintao & Xu, Zhigang & Rozelle, Scott, 2007. "Are the poor benefiting from China's land conservation program?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 593-620, August.
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