PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (9): 1100-1108.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.09.005

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Land sparing versus sharing framework from ecosystem service perspective

Zhe FENG1,2, Xuegong XU2,*(), Jian ZHOU3,4, Yang GAO3,4   

  1. 1. School of Land Science and Technology, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University; Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100087, China
    3. Department of Land Resources Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Agricultural Land Quality, Monitoring and Control, Ministry of Land and Resources, Beijing 100193, China
  • Received:2015-10-01 Revised:2016-07-01 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • Contact: Xuegong XU
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271102, No.41501087


Land sparing versus sharing framework is an important theory for balancing food production and biodiversity conservation for sustainable land use. In this article, the relationship between the "land sparing versus sharing framework" and ecosystem services was summarized by revealing the theoretical basis of the combination of ecosystem services and land sparing versus sharing framework. The impacts of land-use decisions such as the USDA Conservation Reserve Program on food production, biodiversity, and other direct and indirect ecosystem services were analyzed. The application of this framework in Chinese environmental conservation projects was discussed, aiming at providing a reference for the coupling of land-use optimization and ecosystem services provision. The results show that: (1) The framework of "land sparing versus sharing" was based on multiple demands of ecosystem services from cultivated land. From an ecosystem service perspective, expansion of the framework can be seen as demand change from food production alone to multiple demands containing food production and other ecosystem services. (2) When food production service and other services are in a state of trade-off, in ecologically fragile and low resilience areas, where the relationship between ecosystem services shows a "convex tradeoff," land sparing strategy is often appropriate; whereas land sharing strategy is appropriate in ecologically stable and high resilience areas where the relationship between ecosystem services shows a "concave tradeoff." (3) Land sharing optimizes the demand of ecosystem services, according to the study of the land-use practices in the United States. Assessment of ecosystem services can be used as a tool to measure the effect of land-use policies and strategies.

Key words: land sparing versus sharing, ecosystem services, biodiversity, food production, trade-offs