Evaluating and predicting the effectiveness of farmland consolidation on improving agricultural productivity in China

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Abstract

Food security has always been a focus issue in China. Farmland consolidation (FC) was regarded as a critical way to increase the quantity and improve the quality of farmland to ensure food security by Chinese government. FC projects have been nationwide launched, however few studies focused on evaluating the effectiveness of FC at a national scale. As such, an efficient way to evaluate the effectiveness of FC on improving agricultural productivity in China will be needed and it is critical for future national land consolidation planning. In this study, we selected 7505 FC projects completed between 2006 and 2013 with good quality Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as samples to evaluate the effectiveness of FC. We used time-series Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer NDVI from 2001 to 2013, to extract four indicators to characterize agricultural productivity change of 4442 FC projects completed between 2006 and 2010, i.e., productivity level (PL), productivity variation (PV), productivity potential (PP), and multi-cropping index (MI). On this basis, we further predicted the same four characteristics for 3063 FC projects completed between 2011 and 2013, respectively, using Support Vector Machines (SVM). We found FC showed an overall effective status on improving agricultural productivity between 2006 and 2013 in China, especially on upgrading PL and improving PP. The positive effect was more prominent in the southeast and eastern China. It is noteworthy that 27.30% of all the 7505 projects were still ineffective on upgrading PL, the elementary improvement of agricultural productivity. Finally, we proposed that location-specific factors should be taken into consideration for launching FC projects and diverse financial sources are also needed for supporting FC. The results provide a reference for government to arrange FC projects reasonably and to formulate land consolidation planning in a proper way that better improve the effectiveness of FC.

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Fan, Y., Jin, X., Xiang, X., Gan, L., Yang, X., Zhang, Z., & Zhou, Y. (2018). Evaluating and predicting the effectiveness of farmland consolidation on improving agricultural productivity in China. PLoS ONE, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198171

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