Resources Science ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 664-.doi: 10.18402/resci.2018.04.02

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A review of change in agricultural multifunctionality in metropolitan areas under rapid urbanization in China

Jiao HUANG1,2(), Shuangcheng LI1,2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2017-08-23 Revised:2018-01-25 Online:2018-05-02 Published:2018-05-02


Agriculture can provide multiple economic, ecological and social functions beyond food and fibre production. Agricultural multifunctionality is an important issue in agricultural transformation, land use management and sustainable urban development in metropolitan areas under rapid urbanization. In China, much research has focused on agricultural multifunctionality or the impacts of urbanization on agriculture. However, there is still a lack of synthetic studies regarding the application of the Multifunctional Agriculture research paradigm on analyzing the change and adaptation of agriculture in metropolitan areas. Based upon an extensive review in China we aimed to illustrate the conceptual framework of agricultural multifunctionality and summarize the assessment indicators in order to create a widely accepted research framework for agricultural multifunctionality. We also aimed to analyze changes in agricultural multifunctionality and agricultural systems in metropolitan areas under rapid urbanization in China. The results show that rapid urbanization has changed not only the main types of agricultural functions in metropolitan areas but also interactions among functions. Different adaptation strategies by different stakeholders led to seven main categories of agricultural systems, including the farmer-household-based agro-tourism, specialized and large-scale food production and processing groups, agricultural scientific research parks, enterprise-based recreational agricultural parks, public agricultural parks, conservation agriculture and community supported agriculture. Changes in the main activities and functions of these agricultural systems show a trend towards high multifunctionality of agriculture in metropolitan areas in China. Finally, suggestions are provided to promote research on agricultural multifunctionality and policy-making for the development of sustainable metropolitan agriculture in China.

Key words: urbanization, metropolitan area, agricultural multifunctionality, China, review