Food Security

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 439–449 | Cite as

Effects of urbanization on arable land requirements in China, based on food consumption patterns

Original Paper

Abstract

China’s urbanization has led to changes in food consumption patterns. The effects of this population shift on the limited arable land resources available have not been clearly understood. Based on food consumption data in 1982, 1992 and 2002, we evaluated the arable land requirements needed to meet the demand of Chinese food consumption patterns and the countermeasures that could mitigate the increasing pressure on this limited resource. The results indicated that processed food (including plant oil, alcohol and sugar) needed the most arable land for production, followed by livestock-based food and plant-based food, which needed the least. The arable land requirement for food consumption of urban residents was higher than that of rural residents in all 3 years, 1982, 1992 and 2002 and both decreased from 1982 to 2002. Based on the data for these years, the total arable land requirement for Chinese food consumption is projected to increase from 1982 to 2030, and then gradually decreases from 2040 to 2050. The food demand pressures put on the limited arable land resources in China is exacerbated by trends in food consumption patterns—i.e. more livestock-based and less plant-based food, and the need to improve the nutritional intake of both urban and rural populations. To alleviate the pressures, Chinese food consumption patterns should be changed so that less livestock-based and more plant-based food is consumed. Two other mitigation options are to increase the import of land-intensive food and to invest in agricultural research and development. These findings could be helpful in optimizing the interrelationships between the limited arable land resources available and food consumption patterns during the continuing rapid urbanization of China.

Keywords

Arable land requirement Food consumption pattern Urbanization Food security China 

Supplementary material

12571_2013_265_MOESM1_ESM.doc (182 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 181 kb)

References

  1. Bettencourt, L., & West, G. (2010). A unified theory of urban living. Nature, 467, 912–913.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cai, Y. L., Fu, Z. Q., & Dai, E. F. (2002). The minimum area for per capita of arable land and its implication for the optimization of land resource allocation. Acta Geographica Sinica, 57(2), 127–134 (in Chinese, with English abstract).Google Scholar
  3. Cowell, S. L., & Parkinson, S. (2003). Localisation of UK food production: an analysis using land area and energy as indicators. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 94, 221–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. CSSD (Chinese Society for Sustainable Development). (2004). The base of development, evaluation of natural resources and ecological conditions in China. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press (In Chinese).Google Scholar
  5. Delgado, C. L. (2003). Rising consumption of meat and milk in developing countries has created a new food revolution. Journal of Nutrition, 133, 3907S–3910S.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2012). FAOSTAT. Available from http://faostat.fao.org. Updated 2012 Aug.
  7. General Office of the State Council of China (2001). Outline for the development of food and nutrition in China (2001–2010) (in Chinese). http://www.gov.cn/gongbao/content/2001/content_61214.htm. Accessed 22 April 2012.
  8. Gerbens-Leenes, P. W., Nonhebel, S., & Ivens, W. P. M. F. (2002). A method to determine land requirements relating to food consumption patterns. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 90, 47–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gerbens-Leens, P. W., & Nonhebel, S. (2002). Consumption patterns and their effects on land required for food. Ecological Economics, 42, 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Godfray, H. C. J., Beddington, J. R., Crute, I. R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J. F., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S. M., & Toulmin, C. (2010). Food Security: the challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science, 327, 812–818.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gong, P. (2011). China needs no foreign help to feed itself. Nature, 474, 7349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. INFS, China CDC (Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention). (2002). China food composition 2002. Beijing: Peking University Medical Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kastner, T., & Nonhebel, S. (2010). Changes in land requirements for food in the Philippines: a historical analysis. Land Use Policy, 27, 853–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kastner, T., Rivas, M. J. I., Koch, W., & Nonhebel, S. (2012). Global changes in diets and the consequences for land requirement for food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1117054109.Google Scholar
  15. Kearney, J. (2010). Food consumption trends and drivers. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, 365, 2793–2807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li, S., & Luo, C. (2010). Re-estimating the income gap between urban and rural households in China. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 7151–7163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li, G.-l., Bai, X., Yu, S., Zhang, H., & Zhu, Y.-g. (2012). Urban phosphorus metabolism through food consumption: the case of China. Journal of Industrial Ecology. doi:10.1111/j.1530-9290.2011.00402.x.Google Scholar
  18. Lichtenberg, E., & Ding, C. (2008). Assessing farmland protection policy in China. Land Use Policy, 25, 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu, J., & Savenije, H. H. G. (2008). Food consumption patterns and their effect on water requirement in China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 12, 887–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lu, C., Xie, G., Cheng, S., Ma, B,. Feng, Y. (2009). Rangeland resources unilization of China: conflict and conordination between product function and ecological function. Journal of Natural Resouce 24(10), 1685–1695.Google Scholar
  21. MLR (Ministry of Land and Resource of China) 2003. Communiqué on Land and Resources of China 2002. Readable from http://www.mlr.gov.cn/zwgk/tjxx/200710/t20071025_659740.htm (in Chinese).
  22. NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). (1983). China statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  23. NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). (1993). China statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  24. NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). (2002). China rural statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  25. NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). (2003). China rural statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  26. NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China). (2010). China rural statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  27. NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission). (2003). Data assembly on cost and benefit of agricultural products in China. Beijing: China Statistics Press. 710 pp. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  28. NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) (2008). State mid- and long-term grain security plan for 2008–2020 Period. Beijing. http://www.gov.cn/jrzg/2008-11/13/content_1148414.htm. Accessed 22 April 2012.
  29. Neset, T. S., & Lohm, U. (2005). Spatial imprint of food consumption: a historical analysis for Sweden, 1870–2000. Human Ecology, 33(4), 565–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qiang, W., Liu, A., Cheng, S., Kastner, T., & Xie, G. (2013). Agricultural trade and virtual land use: the case of China’s crop trade. Land Use Policy, 33, 141–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Qu, F., Kuyvenhoven, A., Shi, X., & Heerink, N. (2011). Sustainable natural resource use in rural China: recent trends and policies. China Economic Review, 22, 444–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rask, K. J., & Rask, N. (2011). Economic development and food production-consumption balance: a growing global challenge. Food Policy, 36, 186–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Regmi, A., & Dyck, J. (2001). Effects of urbanization on global food demand. In A. Regmi (Ed.), Changing structures of global food consumption and trade. Washington DC: ERS WRS 01-1, USDA, ERS.Google Scholar
  34. Tilman, D., Balzer, C., Hill, J., & Befort, B. L. (2011). Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20260–20264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. UN-DESA (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs), Population Division (2010). World Urbanization Prospects, The 2009 Revision, CD-ROM Edition. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/CD-ROM/WUP2009-F02-Proportion_Urban.xls. Accessed 22 April 2012.
  36. UN-DESA (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs), Population Division (2011). World Population Prospects, The 2010 Revision, CD-ROM Edition. Accessed 22 April 2012.Google Scholar
  37. Wang, L.D. (2005). China national survey on nutrition and health, summary report (Part 1). Ren min wei sheng chu ban she. Beijing, pp19–20 (In Chinese).Google Scholar
  38. Wang, J., Chen, Y., Shao, X., Zhang, Y., & Cao, Y. (2012). Land-use changes and policy dimension driving forces in China: present, trend and future. Land Use Policy, 29(4), 737–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wolf, J., Bindraban, P. S., Luijten, J. C., & Vleeshouwers, L. M. (2003). Exploratory study on the land area required for global food supply and the potential global production of bioenergy. Agricultural Systems, 76, 841–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ye, L., & Ranst, E. V. (2009). Production scenarios and the effect of soil degradation on long-term food security in China. Global Environment Change, 19, 464–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang, B. Y., Zhang, T., Lin, L. M., Wang, F., Xin, R., Gu, X., He, Y., Yu, D., Li, P., Zhang, Q., Zhao, J., Qin, Y., Yang, X., Chen, G., Liu, J., Song, X., & Zheng, X. (2008). Correlation between birth defects and dietary nutrition status in a high incidence area of China. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 21, 37–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhao, J., Zhu, Y., Shao, G., & Ness, D. (2008). Coping with an urbanizing world: interdisciplinary research towards sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 284–287.Google Scholar
  43. Zhen, L., Cao, S., Cheng, S., Xie, G., Wei, Y., Liu, X., & Li, F. (2010). Arable land requirements based on food consumption patterns: case study in rural Guyuan District, Western China. Ecological Economics, 69, 1443–1453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Xiamen Key Lab of Urban MetabolismXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Resources and Environmental ScienceNorthwest Agriculture and Forestry UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations