Farmland Transitions in China: An Advocacy Coalition Approach | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2021
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© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

In recent decades, global social and economic development has resulted in substantial land-use transitions. This was first observed with respect to losses of forested land, attracting worldwide concern. Forest transitions have an important impact on global ecology, whilst farmland transitions are key in terms of global food security. However, research into farmland transitions is lacking, particularly with respect to mechanistic analysis. Using data on China’s farmland areas between 1950 and 2017, we investigated the transitional characteristics, and triggers, of farmland change through linear regression analysis. Furthermore, based on the Advocacy Coalition Framework, we reveal the internal mechanism of these transitions. Our main findings are as follows: (1) between 1950 and 2017, China’s farmland area exhibited significant growth, and there were two transitions, namely in 1984 and 2004; (2) macroscopic economic and social changes determine the overall evolution of the farmland area; (3) there were two advocacy coalitions in the farmland transition policy subsystem—the farmland supplement and farmland consumption coalitions; (4) under the influence of macroscopic economic and social development, external events play a catalytic role in the transitions, and relatively stable parameters have an indirect but lasting effect in terms of transition outcomes.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Zhou, Xiaoping
Li, Xiaotian
Song, Wei
Kong, Xiangbin
Lu, Xiao


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