We introduce the Gini coefficient to assess the rationality of land use structure. The rapid transformation of land use in China provides a typical case for land use structure analysis. In this study, a land Gini coefficient (LGC) analysis tool was developed. The land use structure rationality was analyzed and evaluated based on statistical data for China between 1996 and 2008. The results show: (1)The LGC of three major land use types-farmland, built-up land and unused land-was smaller when the four economic districts were considered as assessment units instead of the provinces. Therefore, the LGC is spatially dependent; if the calculation unit expands, then the LGC decreases, and this relationship does not change with time. Additionally, land use activities in different provinces of a single district differed greatly. (2) At the national level, the LGC of the three main land use types indicated that during the 13 years analyzed, the farmland and unused land were evenly distributed across China. However, the built-up land distribution was relatively or absolutely unequal and highlights the rapid urbanization in China. (3) Trends in the distribution of the three major land use types are very different. At the national level, when using a district as the calculation unit, the LGC of the three main land use types increased, and their distribution became increasingly concentrated. However, when a province was used as the calculation unit, the LGC of the farmland increased, while the LGC of the built-up and unused land decreased. These findings indicate that the distribution of the farmland became increasingly concentrated, while the built-up land and unused land became increasingly uniform. (4) The LGC analysis method of land use structure based on geographic information systems (GIS) is flexible and convenient. © 2013 Zheng et al.
Zheng, X., Xia, T., Yang, X., Yuan, T., & Hu, Y. (2013). The Land Gini Coefficient and Its Application for Land Use Structure Analysis in China. PLoS ONE, 8(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076165