Resource Use and Agricultural Sustainability: Risks and Consequences of Intensive Cropping in China

Zhen, Lin / Zoebisch, Michael

kassel university press, ISBN: 978-3-89958-221-5, 2006, 202 Pages
(Journal of Agriculture Beiheft 86)

URN: urn:nbn:de:0002-2211

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Content: This publication is the extended outcome of a research project on the efficient use and management of agricultural resources in China.

The study area is the North China Plain (NCP), the food-grain bowl of the country. To feed the growing population, farmers in the area have been using high rates of inputs to increase crop yields. Researchers, planners and decision-makers are debating the sustainability of these input-intensive farming practices. This case study attempts to provide an insight into this dimension of agriculture by assessing local farming practices from three aspects: environmental, economic and socio-institutional sustainability.

To assess the sustainability of the farming practices, 16 location-specific indicators were selected. Data were collected from a number of relevant sources; data evaluation included descriptive analysis, statistical tests, financial analysis, weighted average index construction, correlation, multiple regression, and sensitivity analysis.

The study attempts to provide the answers for (1) environmental sustainability as reflected by groundwater use, soil fertility and pests & disease management of the local people; (2) economic sustainability measured by the productivity of major crops and per-capita food-grain production of the households; (3) socio-institutional sustainability using the criteria of food self-sufficiency, income, extension services and farmer’s knowledge, technologies and perceptions.

Finally, recommendations are made for a more sustainable use and management of agricultural resources.

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