Rice cropping density and intensity lessened in southeast China during the twenty-first century

  • Bingwen QiuEmail author
  • Wen Qi
  • Zhenghong Tang
  • Chongcheng Chen
  • Xiaoqin Wang


Accurate and updated time series maps of paddy rice distribution and planting intensity will greatly improve our knowledge. Unfortunately, spatiotemporal explicit information on rice fields is relatively limited, and considerable uncertainties still exist as regards to its inter-annual variations in China. In this study, an improved rice mapping methodology was proposed through combined consideration of vegetation phenology and surface moisture variations from different seasonal rice. This method was applied to southeast China based on 500 m 8 day composite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhance Vegetation Indices with two bands (EVI2) during the period 2001–2013. Its efficiency was validated with 763 ground survey sites, with an overall accuracy of 95.02 % and the kappa index of 0.9217. Spatiotemporal analysis indicated that rice cropping density and intensity lessened in southeast China during the period 2001–2013. Particularly, the paddy rice-planted areas reduced by 30.09 %, changing from 231,005 to 161,484 km2. Among them, the planted areas of double rice decreased by 49.34 %, changing from 34,215 to 17,335 km2. Therefore, averaged rice cropping intensity in southeast China decreased from 1.148 to 1.107. The primary dynamic patterns were from single rice or a rotation of rice plus other crops to non-rice (93,386 km2) and double rice to non-double rice (24,132 km2). When analyzed at provincial and altitudinal gradient levels, it was obvious that areas with greater rice cropping density or intensity were associated with more remarkable reductions.

Graphical abstract

The left graph shows that the rice cropping density lessened in Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan provinces and other three provincial-level administrative units (Zhejiang, Fujian and Shanghai) from 2001 to 2013. The middle graph indicates the movement of gravity center as well as the variations in the total planted areas of single rice, rice plus others and double rice. The right graph denotes that the rice cropping intensity decreased in each provincial-level administrative unit from 2001 to 2013


Rice cropping intensity Rice cropping density Spatiotemporal variations MODIS EVI2 Southeast China 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 41471362). We are very grateful for the thorough and constructive comments from the reviewers of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bingwen Qiu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wen Qi
    • 1
  • Zhenghong Tang
    • 2
  • Chongcheng Chen
    • 1
  • Xiaoqin Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Engineering Research Centre of Geospatial Information Technology of China, Key Laboratory of Spatial Data Mining & Information Sharing of Ministry of EducationFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Community and Regional Planning ProgramUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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