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Title: Virtual land use in China over time and space
Authors: Guo, Shan
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: As all human beings fundamentally depend on nature, natural capital accounting becomes increasingly prominent. Productive land is a good proxy for natural capital and it can provide a wealth of materials needed by humans. Globalization increases worldwide economic links. The displacement of land use from one place to another occurs when goods are traded among industries and regions, thus shifting the pressures of local land resources. Exploring land occupation of the Chinese economy is a great concern given the modern economic organization of China and its growing trade connections. The fast population increase, rapid economic growth, accelerated commodity consumption and expansion of domestic and foreign trade present increasing challenges for China's sustainable land use. Temporal nexus studies for exploring the dynamics and evolution of China's virtual land use change are important to meet the sustainability needs of future land use. Spatial nexus studies provide a useful basis for understanding China's regional displacement of land use and facilitating regional cooperation and partnerships to achieve sustainability. Resource challenges are interconnected. Land and water are the two basic elements that have the most significant effects on China's agricultural production. Studies of land-water nexus identify the increasing interconnections and tradeoffs of China's land and water use. This research aims to explore systematically the temporal nexus, spatial nexus, and resource nexus of China's land use to provide insight into "virtual land" given the complex globalized economic network. This can facilitate China's sustainable land management by establishing a comprehensive database of historical and spatial virtual land use data, and data on the land-water nexus. The specific research objectives are as follows: (1) To investigate the changing pattern of China's virtual land using time series input-output data; (2) To explore regional land footprint distribution patterns and regional spatial transfer of virtual land use; (3) To understand the linkages and tradeoffs between land and water by identifying China's land-water nexus; (4) To draw policy implications for achieving sustainable land management by providing insight into the temporal nexus, spatial nexus, and resource nexus of China's virtual land use. This study first employs time-series data to investigate the land occupation of the Chinese economy over time with multiple land use types, including cultivated land, forest land, pasture land, and construction land. The calculated results are a solid reference to recognize the historical characteristics of China's virtual land. These findings also provide a detailed historical database to guide sustainable land use management. Second, this study identifies the land occupation of the Chinese economy over space with China's four land use types. A spatial database is provided to help establish integrated sustainable land use policies considering all kinds of land use types in China's 30 regions. Third, this study simultaneously analyzes China's farm land and water embodied in consumption and interregional trade. Determining the nexus of farm land and water use in a complex and interrelated economy is crucial as various environmental indicators usually interact and complement each other. Lastly, policy implications are developed and provided in accordance with a systematical analysis of the temporal nexus, spatial nexus, and resource nexus.
The key findings obtained in this study are as follows. First, Agriculture and Food Processing are two key sectors that contribute the largest volumes of embodied cultivated, forest and pasture land to meet the household food demand in 2012. Construction and Food Processing are crucial sectors that consume the largest embodied construction land. Although the total consumption-based land use in China fluctuates, embodied cultivated, forest, pasture and construction land intensities in 1987-2012 and 2000-2012 have a downward trend, showing China's effort to improve various land use efficiencies and effectiveness. With respect to trade pattern, Agriculture sector is the largest net importer of cultivated, forest and pasture land in China, Petroleum Extraction sector is the largest net importer of construction land, whereas Garments sector is the largest net exporter of the four types of land use. China is a net exporter of embodied cultivated, forest, pasture and construction land throughout the concerned years. Second, the imbalanced spatial distribution between the supply and demand of land use is observed. Some developed regions, such as Shandong, Jiangsu, and Guangdong, are the most significant driving factors of cultivated, forest, and pasture land consumption, although these regions have relatively less land. The net transfer of cultivated and forest land flows are mainly from undeveloped regions, such as Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, to developed regions, such as Shandong, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Net flows of pasture land come principally from Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai. Three economic regions of China with the most active trade activities attract a significant amount of embodied construction land, mainly derived from nearby provinces. Third, Shandong, Henan, Guangdong and Yunnan are the most important drivers of farm land and water consumption in China. Heilongjiang is the largest farm land and water supplier, and Shanghai is the largest receiver. This study reconsiders land occupation of the Chinese economy in different time and space to prioritize sustainable land use. A systematical analysis of the temporal nexus, spatial nexus, and resource nexus of China's land use is conducted by considering the complex globalized economic networks. Temporal nexus can help identify significant historical characteristics and the key driving factors. Spatial nexus identifies the issues of spatial transfer of land resource pressures and the spatial distribution patterns of land footprint. Land-water nexus is crucial to recognize the interdependencies, synergies and tradeoffs of farm land and water resources, allowing for an integrated sustainable agricultural development plan. This systematical analysis of China's land use is vital to customize and prioritize policy recommendations on sustainable land management in China.
Subjects: Land use -- China -- Data processing.
Land use -- China -- Planning.
Land use, Rural -- China -- Planning.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xviii, 241 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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