Study on Economic growth, Urbanization and Sustainable Utilization of Cultivated Land in China

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  • This article was downloaded by: [McMaster University]On: 05 December 2014, At: 11:35Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: MortimerHouse, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    Study on Economic growth, Urbanization andSustainable Utilization of Cultivated Land in ChinaWu Qun a , Guo Guancheng a & Fan Li aa College of Land Management, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing , 210095 ,ChinaPublished online: 16 May 2013.

    To cite this article: Wu Qun , Guo Guancheng & Fan Li (2004) Study on Economic growth, Urbanization and SustainableUtilization of Cultivated Land in China, Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, 2:2, 40-44, DOI:10.1080/10042857.2004.10677362

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  • Abstract: By means of the dynamic regression model, this paper analyzes the relationships among economic growth, urbanization and changes of cultivated land in China, finds that the ratio of cultivated land occupied by economic growth is decreasing with social and economic growth. And, based on that, some policy suggestions on how to promote the sustainable use of cultivated land in China are put forward. Keywords: economic growth; urbanization; cultivated land; sustainable utilization

    As a scarce and indispensable natural element, land has become an important constrained factor to social and economic development in China. This paper aimed to put forward some policy suggestions on how to promote the sustainable development of China's economy, based on scientific analysis

    of the relationships among economic growth, urbanization and changes of cultivated land area.

    1 ECONOMIC GROWTH, URBANIZATION AND CHANGES OF CUL T1VATED LAND AREA IN VARIOUS PERIODS

    Since adopting the policy of reform and opening, China has experienced fast progressive economy, with fixed assets increasingly enlarged. From 1978 to 2001, fixed assets investment increased by 56 times, from 62.872 thousand million yuan to 3721.35 thousand million yuan , while per capita GDP increased by 20 times, from 376.5 yuan to 7516.7 yuan. During the same period, the level of Chinese urbanization increased from 17.92% to 37.66% with a speed above 1% annually. However, the cultivated land area in China decreased from 99389.3 thousand ha to 94737.68 thousand ha, with a declining speed of 202.24 thousand ha annually( refer to Fig.1)[1l.

    Fig.1 Dynamic changes of economic growth, urbanization and cultivated land area in China

    100000 - Cultivated land area 42

    '" .:; "" 'iii' i" "' '0 c:

    .!!1 '0 Q)

    u -~ 92000 0

    197 8 1983 1988 1993 1998 year

    (b) Relat ion between fixed assets investment and cultivated land quantity

    100000

    99000

    98000

    97000

    96000

    95000

    94000 o==.:J...U....U....LJ...J.....U....LJ...J....L.L.LJ....L.U

    1978 1983 198819931998 year

    (d) Relation between per capita GOP and cul tivated land

    8017

    701 7 ~ 6017 ~ 5017 8 4017 ~ 3017 g 2o1 7 R 101 7 rl 17

    [1) The dara of cultivated land after 1996 are modified by starinical aperture.

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  • Having analyzed those data from 1978 to 2001, we can divide the variation of economic growth, urbanization and cultivated land area into 3 stages.

    First stage(1978 - 1983): It is the revival and initial stage of Chinese economy. Within the 5 years, GDP had a growth rate of 63.75% with an increased amount of 231040 million yuan, and an annual growth rate of 12.75% with an increased amount of 46208 million yuan. Fixed assets investment had a growth rate 113.86% with an increased amount of 76138 million yuan, and an annual growth rate 22.77% with an increased amount of 15227.6 million yuan in the same period, whereas urbanization level increased from 17.92% to 21.62%, with an annual growth rate 20.65%. However, the cultivated land area decreased by 206 thousand ha annually, with a total amount of 1030 thousand ha.

    Second stage(1983- 1991): Chinese economy steadily developed in this stage. In this stage, GDP had a growth rate 264% with an increased amount of 1568330 million yuan, and an annual growth rate 33% with an increased amount of 196041 million yuan. Fixed assets investment had a growth rate of 70.17% with an increased amount of 416440 million yuan, and an annual growth rate of 8. 77% with an increased amount of 52055 million yuan in the same period. Urbanization level increased from 21.62% to 26.37%, with an annual growth rate of 21.79%. However, the cultivated land area decreased by 338.25 thousand ha annually, with a total amount of 2706 thousand ha. It is the stage that had the quickest declining rate of cultivated land area.

    Third stage(1991 - 2001): China economy developed fast in this stage. In this stage, GDP had a growth rate of 343.77% with an increased amount of 7431550 million yuan, and an annual growth rate of 34.38% with an increased amount of 743155 million yuan. Fixed assets investment had a growth rate of 565.18% with an increased amount of 3161900 million yuan, and an annual growth rate of 56.52% with an increased amount of 316190 million yuan in the same period. Urbanization increased from 26.37% to 37.66%, with an annual growth rate of 42.81%. Urbanization had fast growth, while the declining rate of cultivated land area was slower in the stage than the first two stages. The cultivated land area decreased by 91.56 thousand ha annually, with a total amount of 915.62 thousand ha.

    From tab.1(Y is cultivated land area, X1 is population, X2 is GDP, X3 is fixed assets investment), we can find although economic growth conducted by unit fixed assets investment (6X,/6Xl) was declining in the third stage, the number of 6X,/6X' is 2.35, still exceeding 1. We can conclude that marginal return rate of fixed assets investment is still increasing despite the declining growth rate. The decreasing velocity of cultivated land area caused by unit increased amount of GDP and fixed

    assets investment (6y/6X,&6y/6X.~) declined rapidly, while

    the increasing amount of GDP and fixed assets investment conduced by unit decreased amount of cultivated land area (6X,/6y, 6X.J/6y) grew rapidly. We can draw with a conclusion that China's economy is propelled with intensive investment of capital and land utilization. Moreover, the ratio of land occupied by economic growth is declining more and more rapidly in China because of much attention to cultivated land protection and rigorous land regulation.

    Tab. 1 Economic growth, urbanization and changes of cultivated land area in various periods

    2 RELATIONS AMONG ECONOMIC GROWTH, POPULATION GROWTH AND CHANGES OF CULTIVATED LAND AREA

    With cultivated land area (y) as an induced variable, and GDP(X1), population(X2) independent variables, the dynamic regression model is established to take further analysis of the relations among economic growth, population growth and changes of cultivated land area.

    Tab.2 Regression model of GOP, population and cultivated land area

    It is learned that economic growth and population growth have dual influences on cultivated land. As for the relation between economic growth and cultivated land, though much cultivated land is needed in the course of economic growth, much more cultivated land is converted to satisfy the needs of transport,

    Chinese Journal of Population, Resources and Environment 2004 Vol. 2 No.2 41

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  • etc. So cultivated land area will decrease by 407 ha whenever GOP grows 1000 million yuan according to the regression model of Y and XL Cultivated land area decreased by 4651.62 thousand ha while the annual growth rate of GOP is 33% from 1978 to 2001. So the relation can show China decreased 26471 ha cultivated land when GOP rose 1%. GOP in China will increase by 287% in 20 years at the rate of 7%, so 7597 thousand ha cultivated land will be occupied. The population growth means much more food requirement, which in turn leads much demands in cultivated land and also much construction land. From the regression model of Y and X2, it is concluded that the latter demand for construction land to decrease cultivated land is higher than the former demand to increase cultivated land. Therefore cultivated land area will decrease 1608 ha whenever population grows 100 thousand.

    China Population Research Center predicts that China's population will grow by 192 million from 2001 to 2020. So cultivated land area will have decreased by 3087.38 thousand ha more by then. We should not be too optimistic, for declined cultivated land area has challenged Chinese food safety. Though recently good harvest makes grain supply higher than demands, we should not loosen cultivated land protection, for the grain abundance is only in stage, partial and at a lower consume level. In the long run, current supply capacity is not sufficient for giant requirement. With population growth and higher living standard, the pressure will be much heavier.

    On grain per capita consumption, China is only 400Kg which is lower than affluent standard, while international standard is 500Kg, and in developed countries it is up to 650 Kg. Generally establishing affluent society will be Chinese strategic objective in the first two decades in the 21st century. General affluent society means general enhancement of living standard, which includes raising grain per capita consumption and multiply requirements of livestock and aquatic products. Much requirement for livestock products also will consume more grain. According to the ratio of feeding stuff and meat, lkg chicken exhausts 2kg grain, 1 kg pork exhausts 4kg, and 1 kg beef exhausts 7kg ... It indicates that the output of grain is lower, not higher for more and more requirements. Huang Jikun, professor of Chinese Academy of Sciences, predicted that grain demands would increase to 594 million tons by 2020, only with a supply of 553 million tons. The gap between supply and demand is 41 million tons. The total output of grain in 2001 was 452637.7 thousand tons, with average output 4.78tons/ ha. There will be a shortage of 8577.41thousand ha even if cultivated land area in 20 years will remain stable. So we must practically protect cultivated land and raise its sustainable production capability to ensure cultivated land safety.

    3 RELATION BETWEEN URBANIZATION AND CHANGE OF CULTIVATED LAND AREA

    42 Chinl'~l' Journ.d of Popui.Hion, R~:,oLJrCl'~ .111d Emironmcnt 200'-l \'ol. 2 :\'o.2

    Urbanization is only a way of human's social development and economic growth. What's more, it is an important sign of urbanization. Different countries have different processes. At present, world's average urbanization is 46%, and in developed countries it has reached 78%. For these developed countries, urban population develops rapidly, which has reached saturation state, and contradiction of population's transition from the countryside to the urban area is not severe. However, for those developing countries, such as China, urbanization starts late and urban population is rapidly increasing. It is unavoidable to occupy cultivated land during urbanization. So it is urgent to correctly handle the relationship between urbanization and protection of cultivated land. This paper will reveal the dialectical relationship between urbanization and change of cultivated land area through correlation analysis.

    Figure 2 reveals changes of cultivated land area and urbanization in China from 1952 to 2001.

    Fig.2 Change of urbanization and cultivated land in China (1952-200 1)

    Having examined the effects of urbanization on cultivated land area with the increasing urbanization, we analyzed two factors in different periods. The result are as follows:

    Tab.3 Regression equation between cultivated land area and urbanization at different times

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  • From the above regression equations, it is observed that there is converse change between the present urbanization and cultivated land area. But coefficient of urbanization(X4) in equation is increasing with process of time and increscence of urbanization. It is forecasted that coefficient of urbanization will go on increasing with further increscence of urbanization. It also means that the net decrease of cultivated land will become less and less when urbanization development reaches a certain degree. There are two reasons. One is that, in urban area, unit land contains much population than the country does, and the intensity of urban land use is higher. What's more, the larger urban scale, the less land use per person. Take 1996 as an example(table 4), using land per person in a small town is 1.99 times as that in ultra-metropolis, 1.53 times that in megalopolis, and 1.33 times that in metropolis. The other is that urbanization construction can promote transaction of surplus labors in the countryside, which can empty much curtilage and non-agricultural land, and turn it into cultivated land by land reallocation. The surplus labors' transaction can also operate scale of cultivated land and decrease unnecessary gutters, ditches and roads. As a result, cultivated land area is increased.

    Tab. 4 Land use per person in urban and countryside in China(1996)

    Dtlltl resources: /ihmg Hz111. Prolt'ctlon ofcultittllt'd hmd tmd process ofurbtllli4-4llion. Retll esltlfe

    guiding rel'ord.2001,(7)

    It is indicated from the above analyses that urbanization increment is beneficial to land's intensive use and protection of cultivated land. Take a period(1991-2001) in China as an example, agricultural population was reduced by 57170 thousand. If standard is calculated as in the countryside, 155 m2 /person, these persons need to occupy 881635 ha land, and if standard is calculated as 131.6 m2/person or 66.2 m2/person, the highest and lowest standard in urban areas, these persons need to occupy 752357.2 ha or 378465.4 ha urban construction land if they enter urban life. And 133777.8 ha or 507669.6 ha land can be saved from comparison. Urbanization increment promotes improvement of land use efficiency. Though urbanization construction will occupy some cultivated land, the quantity is far lower than that for non-agriculture occupancy by limiting urbanization.

    4 POLICY ADVICE ON SUSTAINABLE UTILIZATION OF CULTIVATED LAND IN CHINA

    4.1 Protection of cultivated land should be treated in different ways In eastern areas of China, where economy is more developing than others, they should change land utilization type and exploit interior potentialities, and strengthen interior relocation reconstruction and land consolidation. To increase efficiency of land's allocation and utilization, cultivated land should be concentrated to reach a certain scale, while industry be concentrated to industrial gardens and residents to cities. In middle and western areas of China, where economy is developing slowly, they should strengthen planning and avoid duplicate construction, and urban construction shouldn't occupy as much cultivated land as before. What's more, the whole country should be regarded as one unit, and cooperation among different districts should be carried out positively. For example, there is little potential of increasing cultivated land in economically developed regions, but these regions can cooperate with under-developed regions, whose reserved resources of cultivated land are relatively plenty. They can invest to exploit land by their economic dominance. It can not only solve their own food problem, but also support economic construction of under-developed regions.

    4.2 Land arrangement in both cities and countryside is carried out, which can exploit interior potentialities In China, unreasonable use of land is by no means rare in cities. First, industries layout is not rational and much land of good quality is occupied by those industries with low profit. Second, land rights and ownership are not regular, and land shape is not proper to construction layout, which greatly affects land utilization with high efficiency. Third, cities develop with an extensional expansion mode. It is necessary to arrange land to change these phenomena. Surveys have suggested that the area for rebuilding old cities accounts for about 10% of the built-up area in the cities. Plot ratio can be raised one or two times after rebuilding old cities. So, it can save much construction land and reduce occupancy on cultivated land.

    Farmland arrangement can effectively increase cultivated land and insure demand of land utilization in the process of urbanization, which will promote development of urbanization. During the process of farmland arrangement, construction of central villages should be combined with land reallocation in natural villages and land utilization of rural enterprises, and the land can be recultivated. By the way of farmland arrangement, farmland region on a big scale can be formed to speed up agricultural modernization, reduce agricultural production cost, and improve scale economics efficiency. According to the surveys in Jiangsu province, if people arrange unoccupied farm, roads and waste channels and ponds, they can increase cultivated land area at the ratio of 4% to 8%, save rural settlement land at ratio of over 30%, and increase average yield at the ratio of about 20%.

    4.3 Reduce agricultural production cost At present, there is a phenomenon of low income with high

    ChinLsc Journal of Popuhuion. Re!iourccs .l!lJ EnvironmLnt 2004 \'ol. 2 :'\n.2 43

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  • production in many regions, which results in the reduction farmers' enthusiasm of growing grain. The important reason is high cost of agricultural production materials, such as seed, fertilizer, pesticide and agricultural mechanism, and farmer's heavy burden. Abandonment of land has appeared in many regions, which brings much pressure on the limited resources of cultivated land. Now, grain price has reached to a high degree in China and it is not realistic to enhance enthusiasm of growing grain by increasing grain price. Therefore, it is very important to enhance input of agricultural scientific research, spread agricultural technology, reduce agricultural production cost and lighten farmer's burden.

    4.4 Develop economic growth technology with economy style Economic growth mode should be transformed from extensive farming to intensive farming. It should be changed that urban industries only put stress on increment of output while the rural areas only pursues immediate economic benefit and ignores protection of resources and environment, especially, cultivated land. Also, the efficiency of input-output in economic growth, structural optimisation, scale economics, and scientific technical progress should be noticed. Both high-grade technology industries and skill intensive industries should be developed to improve input-output efficiency of land , output value rate , profit and tax rate per unit, and to reduce occupancy on cultivated land per output value. What's more, land should be replaced by economic growth technology with economy style to further save cultivated land.

    44 Chinese Journal of Popula[ion, Rcsourcc.\ and Environmem 2004 Vol. 2 No.2

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