PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (5): 880-888.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.05.015

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Development and prospect of the land-sparing versus land-sharing framework

HU Tian1,2, WU Jiansheng1,2,*(), PENG Jian2, LI Weifeng3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory for Urban Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    3. Department of Urban Planning and Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
  • Received:2019-04-01 Revised:2019-09-27 Online:2020-05-28 Published:2020-07-28
  • Contact: WU Jiansheng
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41671180)


Land sparing and land sharing are two alternative land-use strategies, which was framed by Green in 2005. The land-sparing versus land-sharing framework was initially designed to explore trade-offs between food production and biodiversity conservation by means of the density-yield curve. A debate on whether the land-sparing strategy or the land-sharing strategy is optimal has been on-going in the last 10 years and it has enriched relevant theories. Considering that there are many land-sparing practices but limited relevant research to provide guidance for land management in China, in this article we introduced the land-sparing versus land-sharing framework as a new perspective. We reviewed 317 articles in the Web of Science database and conducted bibliometric analysis for a better understanding of the context, methodology, and principles of the framework. The current status and historical trend referring to major topics and research subjects were analyzed. We also summarized decision-making options in previous studies and further advanced the framework from two aspects, focusing on land multi-functionality and the parallel between agriculture and urban systems. We found that land-sparing strategy was more prominent comparing with land-sharing strategy in studies and practices around the world in spite of the pros and cons of each. The advanced framework in this study extended the research object from agriculture to urban, and integrated the diversity of ecosystem services. This study may provide some guidance for the sustainable development of the social-ecological system and enrich the theoretical basis of the land-sparing versus land-sharing framework.

Key words: land sparing, land sharing, ecological conservation, biodiversity, natural land, land use strategy