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《Resources Science》 2010-01
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An Evaluation of Sustainable Development of Agricultural Production Land Based on Terrain Constraints in Mountain Areas of Western China:A Case Study of the Southern Mountain Region of Gansu Province

NIU Shuwen1,2,QIN Jing1,2,SUN Hongjie1,2,DING Yongxia1,2,ZHAO Chunsheng1,2(1.College of Earth and Environment science,Lanzhou University,Lanzhou 730000,China;2.Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems(Ministry of Education) Lanzhou University,Lanzhou 730000,China)  
Agricultural production land is a kind of limited natural resource,which is essential for agricultural production and sustainable development,particularly for mountainous areas.As influenced by combined factors of climate,topography,vegetation,soil and hydrology,agricultural production land plays a vital role in potential productivity,environmental protection,and ecological integrity.However,excessive utilization of agricultural production land has already led to a sterile soil and vulnerable ecological environment over some areas.It is therefore quite necessary to evaluate sustainable development of agricultural production land from a perspective of the ratio of population accommodation under such circumstances.Peasants' living in mountainous areas of western China mainly depends on agricultural production land.In the present study,the authors evaluated sustainable development of agricultural production land across twenty-six counties in the southern mountain region of Gansu Province based on relevant data in 2006 from the perspective of the ratio of population accommodation.The ratio of population accommodation is defined as a ratio between the actual population supported by land and the theoretical optimum population supported by land.The actual population supported by land is defined by economic output value of the net primary productivity of agriculture production land.This concept is different from previous studies in which the total rural population was taken as the actual population supported by agricultural production land.The theoretical optimum population supported by agricultural land includes three parts:the theoretical optimum population supported by cultivated land and forest land,which is defined by labors needed in practice,and the theoretical optimum population supported by grass land.Given some particular characteristics of mountain areas,the correction coefficient of terrain complexity was employed to modify practical labor force needed in production of cultivated and forest land.It was found that the optimum population per unit area of grassland is 0.026 people per hectare for Maqu.It was also concluded that the actual population supported by economic output value of the net primary productivity of agriculture land is about 3.31 million,while the theoretical optimum population supported by agricultural production is roughly 3.64 million.The ratio of population accommodation of the area is 0.89,which indicated that this area is at a critical status of sustainable development.Population growth and the rapid expansion of non-agricultural land would result in adverse effects on sustainable development of agricultural production land,which could be addressed by deepening the reform of the agricultural economic system over the study area.
【CateGory Index】: F327
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