Recent changes in land use and productivity in agro-pastoral Inner Mongolia, China

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


This study challenges the prevailing assumption that the expansion of cultivated land areas and increasing number of livestock in the agro-pastoral regions of northern China have aggravated the process of land degradation since the start of the rural reforms in 1978. Land-use and productivity trends in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), with special attention to the Keerqin steppe region, have been analysed. A combination of methods including household surveys, analysis of agro-statistics and satellite-based productivity modelling has been applied on different spatial scales. Increase in grain yields was found, though considerable interannual variability persists, rendering livelihood insecure for farmers. Although statistics for cultivated land area are inferior the area of cultivated land seems to be increasing mainly in the pastoral counties. Farmers acknowledge the importance of the 30-year contract on cultivated land introduced in 1997 with respect to their investment in long-term management, but ranked the availability of chemical fertilizers and the economic means to buy them as more critical for crop production than soil erosion. This indicates the increase in use of and dependence on agro-chemicals, a trend confirmed by regional statistics, and concern is raised regarding the sustainability of the rapid agricultural development. The spatio-temporal dynamics of primary production for the IMAR was analysed by means of a regionally adapted light use efficiency model. The model, driven by a combination of NOAA AVHRR data and climatic data, has been used to map monthly Gross Primary Production (GPP) for the period 1982-1999. Though the high inter-annual variability in primary production undermines the identification of significant trends, it is indicated that in the western regions there has been no change in biological production, whereas a large area in central IMAR shows a marked increases for the period 1982-99. A combination of increasing crop yields, an increase in precipitation, as well as afforestation projects are probable factors explaining the pattern of regional increase in primary production.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography


  • geomorphology, Physical geography, China, Inner Mongolia, remote sensing, LUE model, primary production, GPP, yield variability, land degradation, farmers’ perception, productivity, Land use, pedology, cartography, climatology, Fysisk geografi, geomorfologi, marklära, kartografi, klimatologi
Translated title of the contributionMarkanvändning och produktivitet i Inre Mongoliet China: förändringar under senare tid
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 Dec 12
  • Sara Brogaard, MICLU, Sölvegatan 10, 22362 Lund,
Print ISBNs91-973857-7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2003-12-12 Time: 10:15 Place: Geocentrum 1, sal 111, Sölvegatan 10, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: F Hutchinson, Charles Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Office of Arid Lands Studies, --- Article: I. Brogaard, S. and Zhao, X. (2002). Changes in land management and attitudes: A case study from Inner Mongolia, China. Ambio, 31 (3), 219-225. Article: II. Brogaard, S. and Li, X. (2003). Agricultural performance on marginal land in eastern Inner Mongolia, China – development in the pre- and post-1978 reform periods. Land degradation and development (Submitted November 2003). Article: III. Runnström, M., Brogaard. S. and Olsson, L. (2003). Estimation of PAR over Northern China in the context of NOAA AVHRR vegetation modelling. Geocarto International (Submitted August 2003). Article: IV. Brogaard, S., Runnström, M. and Seaquist, J. (2003). A. Primary production of Inner Mongolia, China, between 1982 and 1999, estimated by a satellite-driven light use efficiency model. Global and Planetary Change (Accepted).

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