Dry cropland changes in China's Three Gorges Reservoir Region during the period 1990 to 2015

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Wang, M., Tian, F., He, X., Anjum, R., Bao, Y. and Collins, A. L. 2020. Dry cropland changes in China's Three Gorges Reservoir Region during the period 1990 to 2015. Journal of Mountain Science. 17, pp. 516-527. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5598-1

AuthorsWang, M., Tian, F., He, X., Anjum, R., Bao, Y. and Collins, A. L.

Monitoring and analyzing changes in the extent of cultivated land may inform strategic decisions on issues of environmental and food security. The dry cropland area of 12000 km² in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (TGRR) of China is essential for feeding the local population of ~20 million, but is highly prone to soil erosion, leading to the delivery of excessive amounts of sediment and associated pollutants to the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR), and causing serious eco-environmental consequences. Against this background, this paper used Landsat images and a digital elevation model to analyze the altitudinal distribution of, and dynamic changes in, the area of dry cropland during the period 1990 to 2015. The results suggest that dry cropland was mainly distributed in the elevation range of 200-600 m. The dry cropland area decreased from 12525.37 km² to 11796.27 km² during the 25-year study period, including a particularly significant decrease in the rate of decrease from 6.93 km²/yr to 43.99 km²/yr after 2000. The largest decline in the dry cropland area occurred in the elevation range of 600-900 m. The transformations between dry cropland and forest revealed the impact of the TGR operation on the extent of dry cropland. A total of 528.79 km² of dry cropland with slopes >25° were converted to forest after 2000, whereas a total of 642km² of forest was converted to dry cropland during the study period, and these conversions mainly occurred between the elevation of 200–900 m. These spatiotemporal changes in the dry cropland area are likely to raise new issues concerning food security in the TGRR.

KeywordsDry cropland; Altitude; Reservoir
Year of Publication2020
JournalJournal of Mountain Science
Journal citation17, pp. 516-527
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5598-1
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Oct 2019
PublisherScience Press

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