Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 315–329 | Cite as

A framework for a regional integrated food security early warning system: a case study of the Dongting Lake area in China

  • Xiaoxing Qi
  • Laiyuan Zhong
  • Liming LiuEmail author


Understanding the regional food security situation is of great importance to maintaining China’s food security. To provide targeted information to help regional policymakers monitor food security status, based on the differentiated foci during the phased development of food security, this paper was conceived from the perspective of the need for early warnings and proposes a framework for regional integrated food security that incorporates food quantity security, food quality security, and sustainable food security. In this framework, an indicator system is proposed, and the calculation of these indicators, as well as their warning thresholds and warning ranges, is discussed. To test this approach, a case study was conducted in one of China’s major grain-producing areas, the Dongting Lake area. The results showed that the overall integrated food security situation in this area was generally in the low-alarm range between 1986 and 2011; the primary causes of this status were food quality security, generally in the low- or medium-alarm range, and sustainable food security, which in 14 of the 26 years was in the low-alarm range. The government should establish a more robust system for monitoring the quality of agricultural products, controlling waste discharge, and guaranteeing poor individuals access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs. Policies on pesticide and fertilizer application should shift from actively encouraging more use to controlling excess application.


Integrated food security Early warning system Regional scale Dongting Lake area 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No. 41130526).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Resources and EnvironmentChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of AgricultureGuangdong Ocean UniversityZhanjiangChina

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