Original Articles

Research Progress and Prospect in the Disciplines of Agricultural Geography and Rural Development in China

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China;
    4. College of Environment & Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China

Received date: 2011-10-01

  Revised date: 2011-11-01

  Online published: 2011-12-25


This paper firstly reviews the brief development course of the disciplines of agricultural geography and rural development in China, then introduces the recent major achievements and their applications in economic development, finally demostrates the prospect on the new innovative research tasks and scientific proposals in the fields of agricultural geography and rural development to meet the needs of national strategies, based on comparison with related research progress abroad. Recent research progress includes research achievements, the applications of new technologies and methodologies, the establishment of basic research platforms, and talents fostering programmes. The summary of recent research achievements concerns five topics: (1) integrated research on agricultural and rural geography; (2) rural hollowing and the renovation of hollowed villages; (3) integrated research on building a new countryside; (4) regional agriculture and rural development; and (5) the systematization and internationalization of research achievements. With the implementation of the strategy on “building a new countryside,”relative research concerning new countryside construction and the renovation of hollowed villages has attracted the interest of a wide variety of researchers in China. Recent research results indicated that the evolutive process of rural hollowing can be identified into five stages, i.e., emergence, growth, flourishing, stability, and decline. Based on regional economic development level and its physiographic features, the types of rural hollowing can be categorized as urban fringe, plain agricultural region, hilly agricultural region, and agro-pastoral region. Especially, the plain agricultural region is the most typical one in rural hollowing, which shows the spatial evolution of rural hollowing as a“poached egg”pattern with a layered hollow core and solid shape. Furthermore, the driving forces behind rural hollowing are identified as the pull of cities and the push of rural areas. Currently, regional discrepancies, rural poverty, rural land-use issues and the present international environment are four major potential factors influencing the building of a new countryside in China. Accordingly, some researches have been carried out such as the implication of rural land-use change for building a new countryside, rural development types and their regional differentiation caused by industrialization and urbanization. In the future, there will be an obvious trend of regionalized and base-oriented agricultural production, and also an increasing trend of urbanization and industrialization in the rural development of China. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovative researches on agricultural geography and rural development to provide strong support to the realization of the coordinated and balanced rural-urban development, and the balance between agricultural economy and social issues, and to appropriately deal with the conflict between rural development and environmental protection. Accordingly, the future of agricultural geography and rural development research may focus on the following themes: (1) the mechanism and the integrated renovation model of hollowing village; (2) differentiation and restructuring of rural territorial types; (3) multi-functionality of rural system during the transition period; (4) the new pattern of regional agricultural types; (5) the effect and value of rural elements transformation; (6) rural-urban relationship and spatio-territorial restructuring; (7) driving mechanism and competitiveness of rural development; (8) territorial model and institution innovation of building a new countryside; and (9) the long-term strategy and guaranteeing system of building a new countryside in China.

Cite this article

LIU Yansui, LONG Hualou, ZHANG Xiaolin, QIAO Jiajun . Research Progress and Prospect in the Disciplines of Agricultural Geography and Rural Development in China[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2011 , 30(12) : 1498 -1505 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2011.12.005