Soil Degradation Through Agriculture in China: Its Extent, Impacts and Implications for Environmental Law Reform

Chapter
Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP, volume 2017)

Abstract

China has some of the most intense and widespread soil degradation problems in the world. Mitigating soil degradation problems to achieve sustainable soil environment management has attracted high national priority in China’s environmental protection agenda. Over the past decades, environmental laws and regulations were developed in China to address the soil environmental protection issue, and a number of fragmental mechanisms have therefore been introduced. However, that has proven to be insufficient to address the challenges raised by soil degradation and to tackle issues in terms of food security, food safety and human health facing China. As a comprehensive strategy and method to manage natural resources and the natural environment, integrated ecosystem management (IEM) approach has been recommended as a suitable framework to deal with the soil degradation problems in China. The author argued that China should take prompt steps to reform its environmental regulatory frameworks to accommodate IEM for soil degradation control and sustainable soil environment management.

References

  1. ADB (2002) PRC national strategies for soil and water conservation. Final Report (TA 3548). https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/project-document/71709/tar-prc-33446.pdf
  2. ADB (2007) Country environmental analysis for the People’s Republic of China. Available at http://www.adb.org/Documents/Produced-Under-TA/39079/39079-PRCDPTA.pdf
  3. Anna T et al (2016) Scaling up of sustainable land management in the Western People’s Republic of China: evaluation of a 10-year partnership. Land Degrad Dev 27(2):134–144. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bai ZG, Dent D (2009) Recent land degradation and improvement in China. AMBIO J Hum Environ 38(3):150–156. https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-38.3.150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berry L (2003) Land degradation in China: its extent and impact. Report submitted to the United Nations. Available at http://lada.virtualcentre.org. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/537621482745818202/pdf/109976-WP-Box396323B-PUBLIC-Land-Degradation-GEF-UNCCD.pdfGoogle Scholar
  6. Boer B, Hannam I (2015) Developing a global soil regime. Int J Rural Law Policy (1):1–13Google Scholar
  7. Carter C, Zhong F, Zhu J (2012) Advances in Chinese agriculture and its global implications. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 34:1–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. CCICED (2010) Developing policies for soil environmental protection in China. Available at: http://www.cciced.net/cciceden/POLICY/rr/prr/2010/201205/P020160810466173582807.pdf
  9. Cheng D, Cai C, Zuo C (2006) Advances in research of soil degradation by erosion. Res Soil Water Conserv 13(5):252–254Google Scholar
  10. China MEP (2010) Gazette of China’s Environmental Protection (2009). Available at http://jcs.mep.gov.cn/hjzl/zkgb/2009hjzkgb/201006/t20100603_190415.htm
  11. China MEP (2013) Soil pollution and physical health. Environmental Science Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  12. China MEP (2014) Gazette of the national soil pollution survey. Available at http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/W020140417558995804588.pdf
  13. China MEP (2016) Measures for the Soil Environment Management of Contaminated Sites (for Trial Implementation), Order of the Ministry of Environmental Protection No. 42, December 31, 2016Google Scholar
  14. Conradie EM, Field DN (2000) A rainbow over the land: a South African guide on the church and environmental justice. Western Cape Provincial Council of ChurchesGoogle Scholar
  15. DeLong C, Cruse R, Wiener J (2015) The soil degradation paradox: compromising our resources when we need them the most. Sustainability 7(1):866–879. https://doi.org/10.3390/su7010866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deng X, Li Z (2016) Economics of land degradation in China. In: Ephraim N, Mirzabaev A, Von Braun J (eds) Economics of land degradation and improvement - a global assessment for sustainable development. Springer, pp 385–399Google Scholar
  17. Deng XZ, Huang JK, Rozelle S, Uchida E (2008) Growth, population and industrialization, and urban land expansion of China. J Urban Econ 63(1):96–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Edward W (2014) One-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, state study finds. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/world/asia/one-fifth-of-chinas-farmland-is-polluted-state-report-finds.html?_r=0
  19. Elizabeth B (2013) Global approaches to site contamination law. Springer, p 4Google Scholar
  20. EPA (1989) Risk assessment guidance for superfund, vol 1 human health evaluation manual (Part A): interim final, pp 6–47Google Scholar
  21. Ephraim N, Mirzabaev A, Von Braun J (2016) Economics of land degradation and improvement - a global assessment for sustainable development. Springer, p 30Google Scholar
  22. Eswaran H, Lal R, Reich PF (2001) Land degradation: an overview. In: Bridges EM, Hannam ID, Oldeman LR, Pening de Vries FWT, Scherr SJ, Sompatpanit S (eds) Responses to land degradation. Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on land degradation and desertification, Khon Kaen, Thailand. Oxford Press, New Delhi, India. Avaialble at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/use/?cid=nrcs142p2_054028
  23. FAO (1976) A framework for land evaluation. FAO Soils Bulletin 32. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  24. FAO (1977) Assessing soil degradation, FAO soils bulletin. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  25. FAO (2015) What is soil. FAO, Rome, Italy. Available online: http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/about/all-definitions/en/
  26. FAOSTAT (Statistics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2013) FAOSTAT database. Avaiable at http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/download/Q/QC/E
  27. Hannam I (2007) Environmental law and policy frameworks to manage land degradation in the dryland ecosystem areas of [the People’s Republic of] China. J World Assoc Soil Water 2:63–74. doi: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/5921
  28. Hannam I, Qun D (eds) (2011) Law, policy and dryland ecosystems in the People’s Republic of China. IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper No. 80Google Scholar
  29. Houghton PD, Charman PEV (1986) Glossary of terms used in soil conservation. Soil Conservation Service, Bathurst. Available at http://www.scs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/494410/Glossary_of_Terms_Used_In_Soil_Conservation.pdf
  30. Hua M, Lv Y, Li H (2013) Complexity of ecological restoration in China. Ecol Eng 52(3):75–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huang J, Roselle S (1995) Environment stress and grain yields in China. Am J Agric Econ 77(4):853–864. https://doi.org/10.2307/1243808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jiang Z (2006) To implement integrated ecosystem management to accelerate combating land degradation. In: Jiang Z (ed) Proceedings of international workshop on integrated ecosystem management, Beijing 1–2 November 2004, pp 2–6. Global Environment Facility, Asian Development Bank and People’s Republic of China Forestry Publishing HouseGoogle Scholar
  33. Jin Z, Cheng H, Chen L et al (2010) Concentrations and contamination trends of heavy metals in the sediment cores of Taihu Lake, East China, and their relationship with historical eutrophication. Chin J Geochem 29–33. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11631-010-0033-xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kenneth AG, Lewis TL (2009) Twenty lessons in environmental sociology. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  35. Lal R (1997) Degradation and resilience of soils. Philos Trans R Soc B 352:997–1010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Len B, Boukerrou L, Olson J (2006) Resource mobilization and the status of funding of activities related to land degradation. Available at http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/537621482745818202/pdf/109976-WP-Box396323B-PUBLIC-Land-Degradation-GEF-UNCCD.pdfGoogle Scholar
  37. Li HJ, Liu ZJ, Zheng L, Lei YP (2011) Resilience analysis for agricultural systems of north China plain based on a dynamic system model. Scientia Agricola 68(1):8–17. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162011000100002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Liao Y (2010) China’s food security. Chin Econ 43:103–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Liu Y (2014) State forestry administration bureau leader on soil desertification in China (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency, Jun 16, 2014. Available at: http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2014-06/16/content_2701798.htm
  40. Liu EK, Zhao BQ, Mei XR, Li XY, Li J (2010) Distribution of water-stable aggregates and organic carbon of arable soils affected by different fertilizer application. Acta Ecol Sin 30(4):1035–1041Google Scholar
  41. Long F (2013) Introduction to the resources status in China-Land resources (in Chinese). Available at: http://www.jingchengw.cn/new/20130411/4927.htm
  42. Ma X, Ortolano L (2000) Environmental regulation in China: institutions, enforcement, and compliance. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham (MD), USA and Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  43. MEP (Ministry of Environmental Protection of the P.R.C) (2015) Report on the state of the environment in China 2015. Available at: http://www.mep.gov.cn/hjzl/zghjzkgb/lnzghjzkgb/201606/P020160602333160471955.pdf
  44. Ministry of Land and Resources of P.R.C (2015) Soil pollution prevention and control law has entered into legislative agenda (in Chinese). Available at: http://www.mlr.gov.cn/xwdt/jrxw/201503/t20150312_1345005.htm
  45. National Bureau of Statistics of China and Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (2009) China environment statistical yearbook 2009. China Statistics PressGoogle Scholar
  46. Oldeman LR, Hakkeling RTA, Sombroek WG (1991) World map of the status of human-induced soil degradation: an explanatory note, second revised edition. ISRIC/UNEP. Available at: http://www.isric.org/sites/default/files/ExplanNote_1.pdf
  47. Qi F et al (2015) What has caused desertification in China? Sci Rep 5. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/srep15998
  48. Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2007) Wetland inventory: a Ramsar framework for wetland inventory. Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, vol 12, 3rd edn. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland. Available at: http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/lib/lib_handbooks2006_e12.pdf
  49. Su Y (2006) China’s rural pollution problem. Economic Information, January 14, 2006. Available at http://www.chinaelections.org/NewsInfo.asp?NewsID¼45122
  50. The Department of Research Center of the State Council (2006) Status Quo of the agricultural pollution in China and suggested countermeasures. Stud Int Technol Econ 9(4):17–20Google Scholar
  51. Tiziano G (2016) Soil degradation, land scarcity and food security: reviewing a complex challenge. Sustainability 8(3):281–322. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. UN (2004) World population to 2300. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. UN (2007) World urbanization prospects: the 2007 revision. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. UN (2012) The future we want. UN Doc A/66/L 56. Available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E
  55. UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) (1994) Article 1(f)Google Scholar
  56. UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) (1992) Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought, Chapter 12 of Agenda, 21. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992Google Scholar
  57. UNEP (1994) Desertification, land degradation [definitions]. Desertification Control Bulletin 21Google Scholar
  58. UNEP (2006) Report on millennium ecosystem assessment. UNEP, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  59. Walter G (2009) Catholics going green: a small-group guide for learning and living environmental justice. Ave Maria PressGoogle Scholar
  60. William F (2001) Ritter and Adel Shirmohammadi, Agricultural nonpoint source pollution: watershed management and hydrology. Lewis Publishers, p 1Google Scholar
  61. Wood S, Sebastian K, Scherr SJ (2000) Pilot analysis of global ecosystems: agroecosystems. International Food Policy Research Institute and World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. Available at: http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/pdf/page_agroecosystems.pdf
  62. World Bank (2001) China, overcoming rural poverty, a world bank country study. The World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  63. Xu CW, Feng H, Ma HQ (2007) Assessment of metal contamination in surface sediments of Jiaozhou Bay, Qingdao, China. CLEAN Soil Air Water 35(1):62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ye L, Ranst EV (2009) Production scenarios and the effect of soil degradation on long-term food security in China. Glob Environ Change 19:464–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.06.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Anthony Young et al (1994) Land degradation in South Asia: its severity, causes, and effects upon the people. World Soil Resources Reports. FAOGoogle Scholar
  66. Zhang W, Wu S, Hong J (2004) Estimation of agricultural non-point source pollution in China and the alleviating strategies I. Estimation of agricultural non-point source pollution in China in early 21 century. Sci Agric Sin 37(7):1008–1017Google Scholar
  67. Zhao X (2013) Developing an appropriate contaminated land regime in China: lessons learned from the US and UK. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  68. Zhao X (2017) Land contamination legislation in China: the emerging challenges. In: Kitagawa H (ed) Environmental policy and governance in China. Springer, pp 47–67Google Scholar
  69. Zhou K, Xia C, Baiping T (2008) Toward an improved legislative framework for China’s land degradation control. Nat Res Forum 32(1):11–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-8947.2008.00172.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and Justice, University of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL), Wuhan UniversityWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations