PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (5): 618-625.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.05.009

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Potential impacts of industrial land expansion on food security in China, 1990-2015

Ailin LIU1,2(), Wenhui KUANG1,*(), Chi ZHANG3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
  • Received:2016-09-01 Online:2017-05-20 Published:2017-05-20
  • Contact: Wenhui KUANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2014CB954302


Food security is a key governmental and academic concern in China. In the past 25 years, due to the rapid industrialization and urbanization, competition for land resources and environmental pollution threatened the sustainability of China's grain production. Studies to date have focused on the urbanized areas, and rural industrial land expansion and impact on food security in China remain largely unknown. This study constructed an 1 km resolution grain output dataset using the latest remote sensing data-derived land use dataset (NLUD-China) and county-level grain production data of China to evaluate the impacts of industrial land expansion and pollution on food security of the country. The results show that the industrial land area increased by 326% between 1990 and 2015, with an increasing expansion rate of 288 km2/a in the 1990s to 2600 km2/a in 2010-2015, close to the current urban expansion rate (3000 km2/a). During 1990-2015, industrial land expansion led to 1.7×104 km2 reduction of crop land, resulting in a direct production loss of 6.49 Mt (106 tons). Indirect losses caused by industrial pollution was conservatively estimated at 83.20 Mt. Overall estimated losses due to industrial land influence can be up to 17% of China's cropland production. Spatially, direct loss of crop production in China decreased from the central and coastal region to the northwest region. In the central and western regions losses caused by soil pollution is relatively serious. With the increasing population and other socioeconomic and environmental changes, the balance between the supply and demand of food becomes more delicate. Therefore, remote sensing monitoring of crop land and industrial land for national macroeconomic development and environmental protection is of great significance.

Key words: industrial land expansion, cropland resource, food security, remote sensing, China