iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Future land use and food security scenarios for the Guyuan district of remote western China

Lin Zhen (1)   , Xiangzheng Deng (2), Yunjie Wei (1), Qunou Jiang (3), Yingzhi Lin (2), Katharina Helming (4), Chao Wang (1), Hannes Jochen König (4), Jie Hu (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 6, Pages 372-384 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1170-007
Published: May 19, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Collection/Special Issue: RegioResources21
Spatial information and participation of socio-ecological systems: experiences, tools and lessons learned for land-use planning
Guest Editors: Daniele La Rosa, Carsten Lorz, Hannes Jochen König, Christine Fürst

Government policy is a major human factor that causes changes in land use. Thus, simulating the dynamics of land-use systems provides important information to support decisions on land management and land-use planning, and to analyze and quantify the consequences of policies. In the present study, we predicted land-use changes and their potential impacts on food security in the environmentally fragile Guyuan District, in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of north-central China, under the influence of a program to convert sloping agricultural land to conservation uses. Baseline and conservation policy scenarios (2005 to 2020) were developed based on input from local stakeholders and expert knowledge. For the baseline and conservation policies, we formulated high-, moderate-, and low-growth scenarios, analyzed the driving mechanisms responsible for the land-use dynamics, and then applied a previously developed “dynamics of land systems” model to simulate changes in land uses based on the driving mechanisms. We found that spatially explicit policies can promote the conversion of land to more sustainable uses; however, decreasing the amount of agricultural and urban land and increasing grassland and forest cover will increase the risk of grain shortages, and the effect will be more severe under the conservation and high-growth scenarios than under the baseline and low-growth scenarios. The Guyuan case study suggests that, during the next decade, important trade-offs between environmental conservation and food security will inevitably occur. Future land-use decisions should carefully consider the balance between land resource conservation, agricultural production, and urban expansion.


Land-use Patterns, Scenario Analysis, Dynamics of Land Systems Modeling, Food Security, Guyuan District, North-central China

Authors’ address

Lin Zhen
Yunjie Wei
Chao Wang
Jie Hu
Department of Natural Resources and Environment Security, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China)
Xiangzheng Deng
Yingzhi Lin
Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China)
Qunou Jiang
School of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, 100038 Beijing (China)
Katharina Helming
Hannes Jochen König
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Straße 84, D-15374 Müncheberg (Germany)

Corresponding author



Zhen L, Deng X, Wei Y, Jiang Q, Lin Y, Helming K, Wang C, König HJ, Hu J (2014). Future land use and food security scenarios for the Guyuan district of remote western China. iForest 7: 372-384. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1170-007

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Oct 31, 2013
Accepted: Nov 26, 2013

First online: May 19, 2014
Publication Date: Dec 01, 2014
Publication Time: 5.80 months

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