Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 1927–1937 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal changes in agrochemical inputs and the risk assessment before and after the grain-for-green policy in China

  • Xiuhong Wang


China’s Grain-For-Green Policy (GFGP) of returning marginal cropland to forest or grassland is one of the most important large-scale initiatives to combat land degradation in its ecologically vulnerable regions. In order to maintain and increase crop production from decreasing areas of cropland, substantial spatio-temporal changes in agrochemical inputs have occurred, which have strongly influenced the ecological and environmental status of land in China. Based on the agrochemical inputs (chemical fertilizer, pesticide, plastic sheeting, and agricultural diesel oil) at the provincial level between 1993 and 2009, cluster analysis and gravity center modeling were used to trace these spatio-temporal changes. A regional comparative study was also undertaken to investigate the changes in the relative size of agrochemical inputs in the eastern, central, and western regions of China. It was found that the agrochemical inputs increased considerably at the nation level after the GFGP, which in order of increasing rate were: plastic sheeting > agricultural diesel oil > pesticide > chemical fertilizer. The gravity centers of agrochemical inputs moved substantially towards the northwest or west during the latter period of GFGP and regional comparative analysis showed that the agrochemical inputs increased substantially in the western region between 2004 and 2009. The ecological degradation caused by the expansion of the area devoted to crop production in the western region and the potential risk of agricultural non-point pollution caused by the increasing agrochemical inputs are the main factors restricting this area’s sustainable development.


Agrochemical input Ecological degradation Land use change Sustainable development Gravity center China 



The authors are indebted to the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC: 40971282) for its financial support. The comments from the two anonymous reviewers have been greatly helpful for strengthening the arguments of the paper.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)BeijingChina

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