Changes in Cultivated Land Loss and Landscape Fragmentation in China from 2000 to 2020
Cultivated land area and fragmentation are two crucial elements that influence food production in China. However, few studies have analyzed the fine-grained changes in both the area and the fragmentation of cultivated land from a national perspective. Using a 30 m annual land-cover dataset with the help of cultivated land area (CA) and a newly constructed coupling landscape fragmentation index (CLFI), this research identified the spatial distribution characteristics of both the area and the
... scape fragmentation of cultivated land in Chinese counties and simultaneously analyzed the changes in the above two elements since the beginning of the 21st century. The results showed that the distribution pattern of CA in China's counties was large in the north and small in the south. During the first two decades of the 21st century, the total CA of China decreased, but the decrease rate decreased from 2.91% in 2000–2010 to 0.41% in 2010–2020; in contrast, the CLFI of China showed an increasing trend, but the increase rate also decreased, from 4.06% in 2000–2010 to 0.51% in 2010–2020. Spatially, from 2000 to 2010, there was an obvious reverse distribution pattern between counties with large CA changes and those with large CLFI changes; however, this pattern became less obvious from 2010 to 2020. Urban expansion, sloping land conversion programs and other ecological protection programs, and land development and consolidation programs were major causes of changes in the CA and CLFI across China. The findings of this research provide a data basis and scientific support for the protection and large-scale utilization of cultivated land, where this information is necessary to ensure food security.