Patterns of carbon footprints of main grains production in China: a comparison between main and non-main producing areas

Peipei Tian, Hongwei Lu*, Reinout Heijungs, Dan Li, Yuxuan Xue, Yiyang Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of carbon footprints (CFs) of grains production is important to formulate regional heterogeneous greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategies. This study evaluates the CFs, farm CFs (FCFs: CFs of per unit area), and production CFs (PCFs: CFs of per unit yield) of main grains production in China based on a new scale data set: agricultural statistics data of over 300 prefecture-level regions. A comparison of CFs of main grains production between main producing area (MPA) and non-main producing area (NMPA) are firstly discussed on a totally new scale. Results show that the CFs of main grains production of MPA accounts for 54–57% of country’s total although the area of farmland of MPA only accounts for 42%. The PCF and FCF of rice production are higher in MPA, while those of wheat and maize production are lower in MPA. It implies that there are less GHG emission of rice (main paddy grain) productions in NMPA and less GHG emission of wheat and maize (main dryland grains) production in MPA. In additional, the PCF of rice shows growth, while that of wheat and maize shows decline from 2008 to 2017. The growth of PCF of rice is mainly driven by the rise of PCF in MPA. Findings are expected to improve the understanding patterns of China’s CF of main grains production and subsequently contribute to GHG mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23595-23606
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number16
Early online date22 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2019YFC0507800), Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41890824), the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA20040301), and the CAS Interdisciplinary Innovation Team (Grant No. JCTD-2019-04).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Carbon footprint
  • China
  • GHG mitigation
  • Grain production
  • Spatiotemporal pattern


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