The Evolution of Sloping Cultivated Land Abandonment in Karst Mountainous Areas – A Case of Huajiang Canyon in Guizhou Province, China
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School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang Guizhou 550001, China
Submission date: 2023-10-06
Final revision date: 2024-01-04
Acceptance date: 2024-01-20
Online publication date: 2024-04-22
Publication date: 2024-06-27
Corresponding author
Yangbing Li   

School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang Guizhou 550001, China
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2024;33(5):5443-5458
Identifying the evolution of sloping cultivated land (SCL) abandonment and its influencing factors in China’s karst mountainous areas (KMA) is highly significant to ensuring the sustainable utilization of cultivated land and ecological environment restoration in mountainous regions. Based on the highresolution remote sensing images and digital elevation model (DEM) of the Huajiang Canyon (HC) from 2004 to 2020, this paper analyzes the distribution pattern, evolutionary rule, driving mechanism, and effect of SCL abandonment in the KMA of southwestern China in the micro spatial unit through the landscape pattern index, buffer analysis, and spatial autocorrelation analysis. The results show that: (1) the abandonment of SCL in the HC mainly occurs in the karst peak cluster and trough valley areas of southwestern, southern, and the northeastern areas, with severe rocky desertification having scarce SCL and relatively little abandoned cultivated land (ACL); (2) The trend of the ACL in KMA from 2004 to 2020 shows continuous growth, and the ACL patches are fragmented; (3) Abandonment of SCL is more pronounced at higher elevations, and the possibility of abandonment of SCL is greater at steeper slopes, with the ACL mainly evolving into low-covered grassland, shrub forests, and Zanthoxylum bungeanum forests; (4) The abandonment of SCL around rural settlements in the HC is a process from far to near, with farmers being the first to abandon SCL far from their settlements, but the abandonment of SCL around the roads is distributed in a fluctuating trend; (5) The abandonment of SCL in KMA is the result of the interaction of numerous factors, with socio-economic factors being the dominant ones. The abandonment of SCL has brought ecological and economic benefits to the KMA, and provided evidence of global greening in the micro-space. The results of this study can provide scientific references for rational land management and ecological environment restoration in mountainous areas around the world.
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