Which impacts more seriously on natural habitat loss and degradation? Cropland expansion or urban expansion?

Lanping Tang, Xinli Ke*, Yuanyuan Chen, Liye Wang, Qiushi Zhou, Weiwei Zheng, Bangyong Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Natural habitat plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity. Both cropland expansion and urban expansion have an influence on natural habitat. However, it is not clear which one impacts more seriously on both the quantity and quality of natural habitat. This study compared the impacts of cropland expansion on the quantity and quality of natural habitat in China between 2000 and 2015 with the impacts of urban expansion. Map algebra in ArcGIS 10.6 was used to calculate the changes in the quantity of natural habitat, while the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST) Habitat Quality model was used to assess the changes in its quality. The results indicated that cropland expansion led to a loss of 35,811 km2 of natural habitat, which was twelve-times as much as that from urban expansion. Furthermore, the area of the heaviest habitat degradation due to cropland expansion was 9,530 km2, which was eight-times as much as that due to urban expansion. Noticeably, the greatest impacts of cropland expansion on natural habitat mostly occurred in areas where the ecological environment is already vulnerable (namely, the resistance and resilience of ecosystems in response to external interference are weak), whereas the impacts of urban expansion were much less in these areas. This study highlights that the impacts of cropland expansion on both the natural habitat loss and degradation far exceeded the impacts of urban expansion. It is necessary to improve cropland protection policies to guarantee food security while ensuring little or no harm to natural habitat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-964
Number of pages19
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Volume32
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41971240, and 41371113), Post-finance Project for National Social Sciences (Grant No. 19FGLB071), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2662017PY063), and Post-finance Project for Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education (Grant No. 18JHQ081). The authors thank the Proof-Reading-Service Web Shop (https://www.proof-reading-service.com) for its linguistic assistance for this manuscript. The authors appreciate that editors and anonymous reviewers proposed insightful comments to help us improve this paper.

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41971240, and 41371113), Post‐finance Project for National Social Sciences (Grant No. 19FGLB071), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2662017PY063), and Post‐finance Project for Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education (Grant No. 18JHQ081). The authors thank the Proof‐Reading‐Service Web Shop ( https://www.proof-reading-service.com ) for its linguistic assistance for this manuscript. The authors appreciate that editors and anonymous reviewers proposed insightful comments to help us improve this paper.

Funding Information:
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Grant/Award Number: 2662017PY063; National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant/Award Numbers: 41371113, 41971240; Post‐finance Project for National Social Sciences, Grant/Award Number: 19FGLB071; Post‐finance Project for Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Grant/Award Number: 18JHQ081 Funding information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • cropland expansion
  • ecosystem services
  • habitat degradation
  • natural habitat
  • urban expansion

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