Quantitative assessment and spatial characteristics analysis of agricultural drought vulnerability in China


In this study, the spatial characteristics of agricultural drought vulnerability in China were investigated using a GIS-based agricultural drought vulnerability assessment model, which was constructed by selecting three agricultural drought vulnerability factors. Seasonal crop water deficiency, available soil water-holding capacity and irrigation were identified as the main indicators of agricultural drought vulnerability in China. The study showed that the distribution of seasonal crop moisture deficiency showed significant differentiation in both north–south and east–west directions, and the agricultural drought vulnerability presented a similar trend. At a regional scale, southern and eastern China typically has a low- and moderate-vulnerability to drought, while high and very high vulnerability to agricultural drought is observed in northern and western China. In terms of China’s agricultural regions, the central part of the southwest region, the area between the southern Huang-Huai-Hai region and the northern part of the Middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River region, and the northeast region are the areas of low agricultural drought vulnerability in China, while areas of high agricultural drought vulnerability are mainly located in the Inner Mongolia, Loess Plateau and Gan-Xin regions. Due to differences in the physical and social–economic conditions within the agricultural areas, vulnerability to agricultural drought exhibits substantial variability both between different agricultural regions and within the same region. The methodology of grid-cell-based agricultural drought vulnerability assessment, developed in this study, provides a foundation for better description of the differences in regional and even smaller scale.

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Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. NSFC40601091; National Science and Technology Support Program of China, No. 2006BAD20B02 and No. 2006BAC18B06.

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Correspondence to Jianjun Wu.

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Wu, J., He, B., Lü, A. et al. Quantitative assessment and spatial characteristics analysis of agricultural drought vulnerability in China. Nat Hazards 56, 785–801 (2011) doi:10.1007/s11069-010-9591-9

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  • Agricultural drought
  • Vulnerability
  • Spatial characteristics
  • Grid
  • GIS