Resources Science ›› 2017, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (6): 999-1012.doi: 10.18402/resci.2017.06.02

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characterization and diagnosis of rural decline in poor mountainous areas

Yixiao RAN1(), Fengrong ZHANG1(), Bailin ZHANG2, Jian ZHOU1, Chao LI1, Zhen XIE1   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences,China Agricultural University,Beijing 100193,China
    2. College of Management,Tianjin Polytechnic University,Tianjin 300387,China
  • Received:2016-10-24 Revised:2017-03-08 Online:2017-06-20 Published:2017-06-20


Few natural resources,a low population capacity,inconvenient traffic and poor public services are characteristics of poor mountainous areas. These areas are centrifugal areas of population and industry that have fragile ecologies. Focusing on seven typical villages in Youyang County in Chongqing City,we analyzed the micro-scale evolution of rural land use to explore rural decline in poor mountainous areas based on participatory rural appraisal methods and remote sensing imagery interpretation. We found that the degree of rural decline in poor mountainous is severe. Along with rural labor flowing into cities and towns and an increasing number of aging people,rural construction land is inefficient,and the diversity of the rural land use changed from simple to richness to simple again. Cultivated land size became smaller,gathered and less fragmented. Meanwhile,the vegetation rate increased due to conversion between cultivated land and woodland. Many reasons,including a lack of agricultural livelihood resources,difficulty in realizing agricultural mechanization,decentralization and the comparative benefits of urban and rural areas were responsible for the decline in rural mountainous areas. A diagnosis index system of rural decline,including population loss rate,rural residential land shrinking rate and reduction in cultivated area was established. This showed that rural decline mainly occurred in remote mountainous villages. We suggest that rural land consolidation and poverty alleviation should obey the object law,making a rural plan scientific. Self-repair of ecosystems should be emphasized in ecological restoration. Cultivated land should be transferred selectively.

Key words: poor mountainous areas, rural decline, diagnose, rural land consolidation, Youyang County in Chongqing City