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Title: Land suitability assessment and land use change in Fujian Province, China

item Romkens, Mathias

Submitted to: Pedosphere
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2007
Publication Date: 6/20/2007
Citation: Quan, B., Zhu, H., Romkens, M.J. Land suitability assessment and land use change in Fujian Province, China. Pedosphere. 17(4):493-504. 2007

Interpretive Summary: In the P.R. of China, land use is an important issue in the rapidly industrializing and urbanizing provinces of southeast China, specifically in the Fujian and Guangdong Provinces. In these provinces, high quality cropland is often taken for building sites and infrastructure purposes. In the process, agricultural activities are forced to relocate elsewhere, usually to less suitable land. This article assesses land use and land use changes that have taken place between 1996 and 2002 in Fujian Province. The article develops indices of land suitability for cropland and forestland in Fujian Province based on a number of classes for each of eleven evaluation factors, including: altitude, slope gradient, accumulated temperature (> 10 degrees C), precipitation, aridity, soil organic matter, soil texture, soil pH, soil fertility, thickness of topsoil horizon, and past soil erosion. Weight factors were assigned to each evaluation factor and a land suitability grade was determined. Strategies and measures were proposed to improve land utilization and land potential productive capacity to prevent poor land use practices, develop and promote intensive farming systems, and develop an ecological forest system and agriculturally based ecology model.

Technical Abstract: Understanding land suitability and the land use spatial and temporal variations is important for making land management decisions. To that end, the suitability of cropland and forest land and their changes in Fujian Prov. were evaluated and analyzed using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) acquired data. This article aims to present the current land quality status, the distribution and the trend in land use change. Results indicated that first class suitable cropland area accounted for only 4.2% of the total land area while unsuitable cropland comprised 87.2 % of the total land area of Fujian Prov. The percentage of first class suitable cropland in the southeastern region was more than that of the northwestern areas. Also, the percentages of unsuitable cropland in the northwestern region was more than that of the southeastern region. In addition, only 13.62 % of the existing cropland area consisted of first class cropland, while 70.08 % was classified as unsuitable for cultivation. Although the first class forest land comprised 3 748 032 ha or 30.2 % of the total Fujian Prov. land area, unsuitable forest land was 2 959 723 ha or 23.9 %. Urbanization and the conversion of land for the public transport infrastructure systems took appreciable cropland and forest land out of production between 1996 and 2001. Most of this land was located in the developed southeastern region of Fujian Prov. Therefore, the major tasks ahead will involve land development for full for grain production potential, a better coordination of allocating land to different uses, and regulating inappropriate activities that damage agricultural ecosystems.