Mapping cropping intensity trends in China during 1982–2013

Bingwen Qiu, Difei Lu, Zhenghong Tang, Dunjiang Song, Yuhuai Zeng, Zhuangzhuang Wang, Chongcheng Chen, Nan Chen, Hongyu Huang, Weiming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Long range continuous monitoring information of cropping intensity is useful for sustainable agricultural management but still limited. This study filled this information gap through delivering spatiotemporal continuous datasets of cropping intensity in China during the past 30 years. Cropping intensity data were derived by a wavelet features-based method based on the long-term weekly global EVI2 (Enhance Vegetation Index with two bands) at 0.05° spatial resolution (5 km) from 1982 to 1999 and 8-day composite 500 m Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) surface reflectance products from 2001 to 2013. The remote-sensing estimated images in 2013 agreed well with field survey data (overall accuracy = 91.63%) and the national agricultural census data (r2 = 0.89). Results revealed that the cropping intensity remarkably increased during 1982–1999 but slightly declined during 2001–2013. The overall cropping intensity increased from 1.34 in the 1980s to 1.41 in the 1990s, and then dropped to an average of 1.36 after 2000. From 1982 to 1999, approximately 93,225 km2 single-cropped areas changed to double-cropping, primarily those located in the North China plain. However, 39,883 km2 double-cropped areas were turned back into single-cropping areas from 2001 to 2013, principally located in the North China plain, the Middle-lower Yangtze River plain, and the hill regions of the southern Yangtze River. This reverse trend of cropping intensity was due to combined effects from the corresponding reverse variations in agricultural population, increasing agricultural mechanical power, positive agricultural policy. The agricultural duty free policy has only immediate effects on stabilizing cropping intensity in croplands with more favorable biophysical conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • China
  • Continuous wavelet transform
  • Cropping intensity
  • Spatiotemporal continuous datasets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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