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Urban Expansion and Agricultural Land Loss in China:A Multiscale Perspective

Author:
Shi, Kaifang  Chen, Yun  Yu, Bailang  Xu, Tingbao  Li, Linyi  Huang, Chang  Liu, Rui  Chen, Zuoqi  Wu, Jianping  


Journal:
SUSTAINABILITY


Issue Date:
2016


Abstract(summary):

China's rapid urbanization has contributed to a massive agricultural land loss that could threaten its food security. Timely and accurate mapping of urban expansion and urbanization-related agricultural land loss can provide viable measures to be taken for urban planning and agricultural land protection. In this study, urban expansion in China from 2001 to 2013 was mapped using the nighttime stable light (NSL), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and water body data. Urbanization-related agricultural land loss during this time period was then evaluated at national, regional, and metropolitan scales by integrating multiple sources of geographic data. The results revealed that China's total urban area increased from 31,076 km(2) in 2001 to 80,887 km(2) in 2013, with an average annual growth rate of 13.36%. This widespread urban expansion consumed 33,080 km(2) of agricultural land during this period. At a regional scale, the eastern region lost 18,542 km(2) or 1.2% of its total agricultural land area. At a metropolitan scale, the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou (SNH) and Pearl River Delta (PRD) areas underwent high levels of agricultural land loss with a decrease of 6.12% (4728 km(2)) and 6.05% (2702 km(2)) of their total agricultural land areas, respectively. Special attention should be paid to the PRD, with a decline of 13.30% (1843 km(2)) of its cropland. Effective policies and strategies should be implemented to mitigate urbanization-related agricultural land loss in the context of China's rapid urbanization.


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