Trends and driving forces of China's virtual land consumption and trade

Tian, Xu and Bruckner, Martin ORCID: and Deng, Yong and Bleischwitz, Raimund (2019) Trends and driving forces of China's virtual land consumption and trade. Land Use Policy, 89. p. 104194. ISSN 1873-5754

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Land resources are important for China's rapid economic development, especially for food and construction. China's land resources are under tremendous pressures, and therefore land use is increasingly displaced to other parts of the world. This study analyses the evolution and driving forces of China's land consumption from 1995 to 2015. The main results show that China's land footprint increased from 8.8% of the global land resources under human use in 1995 to 15.7% in 2015. China's domestic land resources are mainly used for serving domestic consumption. Moreover, China needs to import virtual land from foreign countries to satisfy 30.8% of its land demand. Among the three land use types of cropland, grassland and forests, grassland had the largest fraction in China's land footprint from 1995 to 2000, while forest has become the largest one since 2000. China's virtual land trade experienced a sharp increase in net imports from 9.4E + 04 km2 in 1995 to 3.4E + 06 km2 in 2015. Observing China's virtual land network by a cluster analysis, this study concludes that China keeps tight relationships with Australia, Japan, Brazil and Korea for its cropland consumption, and Canada, USA, Mexico, Australia, Korea and Japan are relevant for its grassland consumption. In addition, decomposition analysis results show that affluence is the major driving factor for China's land consumption, while changes in land use intensity could mitigate some of the related effects. Lastly, policy recommendations are proposed so that China can move toward sustainable land management.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: To see the final version of this paper please visit the publisher's website. Access to the published version requires a subscription. This study is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (71704104, 71774100, 71690241, 71810107001, and 71325006), the Fundamental Research Funds for the China postdoctoral Science Foundation, the Shanghai Municipal Government (17XD1401800), Yunnan Provincial Research Academy of Environmental Science, and the big data project funded by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU-2019UGBD-03). Tian Xu values a visiting scholarship at University College London (UCL). The authors are grateful for the comments from the anonymous reviewers of this paper. M.B.’s contribution was funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant FINEPRINT (Grant Number 725525).
Keywords: land footprint; input-output analysis; driving forces; virtual land trade; China
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2020 12:37
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2020 12:41
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