Agricultural Development and Implication for Wetlands Sustainability: A Case from Baoqing County, Northeast China

  • Chong Fang
  • Zhidan Wen
  • Lin Li
  • Jia Du
  • Ge Liu
  • Xiaodi Wang
  • Kaishan SongEmail author


Historical thematic maps and remote sensing data were applied to address spatiotemporal dynamics of land use/land cover (LULC) changes and its impact on wetlands sustainability based on eight LULC datasets from 1954 to 2015 in Baoqing County, Northeast China. This study demonstrated that LULC drastically changed in the past six decades due to conversion of wetlands, woodland, and grassland into cropland. The cropland was 578.8 km2 in 1954, accounting for 5.8% of the area in Baoqing County, and it increased to 54.3% in 2015, which was nearly equivalent to 9.4 times of that in 1954. Cropland increased 4843.6 km2 from 1954 to 2015 with average increased area of 79.4 km2/yr. The conversion of wetlands was the main reason for cropland increase (49.7%), and woodland (18%) and grassland (16.3%) conversion were other reasons. Results also revealed that 78% of wetlands were lost during the past six decades, of which 91.2% were converted cropland. Population increasing (population across Baoqing in 2015 was 7.8 times of that in 1949), agricultural technology development was the main reason for cropland increase, institutional and economic policies also played important roles for cropland dynamics, particularly paddy field influenced by market price. Agricultural development has caused severe wetlands degradation both in area and functionality, and still being the major threads for wetlands sustainable development. Several suggestions concerning the future land use policy formulation and wetlands sustainability were proposed. They are adjusting the ‘food first’ agricultural policy, reinforce management for wetlands nature reserves, creating infrastructure for the rational use of surface and groundwater, harnessing the degraded cultivated land.


Baoqing County cropland Geographic Information System (GIS) Remote Sensing (RS) wetlands 


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The authors would like to thank all the staff and master students of Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences for their efforts in field data collection and laboratory analysis. Special thanks also go to Dr. Liu Huanjun, Duan Hongtao, Chen Ming, and Miss Jin Cui for their hard work during the LULC dataset establishing process.


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Copyright information

© Science Press and Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chong Fang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhidan Wen
    • 1
  • Lin Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jia Du
    • 1
  • Ge Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaodi Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kaishan Song
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Earth ScienceIndiana University-Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.School of Geography and TourismHarbin UniversityHarbinChina

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