How do climatic and management factors affect agricultural ecosystem services? A case study in the agro-pastoral transitional zone of northern China

Jianmin Qiao, Deyong Yu, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Agricultural ecosystem management needs to ensure food production and minimize soil erosion and nitrogen (N) leaching under climate change and increasingly intensive human activity. Thus, the mechanisms through which climatic and management factors affect crop production, soil erosion, and N leaching must be understood in order to ensure food security and sustainable agricultural development. In this study, we adopted the GIS-based Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model to simulate crop production, soil erosion, and N leaching, and used a partial least squares regression model to evaluate the contributions of climate variables (solar radiation, precipitation, wind speed, relative humidity, and maximum and minimum temperature) and management factors (irrigation, fertilization, and crop cultivation area) on agricultural ecosystem services (AES) in the agro-pastoral transitional zone (APTZ) of northern China. The results indicated that crop production and N leaching markedly increased, whereas soil erosion declined from 1980 to 2010 in the APTZ. Management factors had larger effects on the AES than climate change. Among the climatic variables, daily minimum temperature was the most important contributor to the variations in ecosystem services of wheat, maize, and rice. Spatial changes in the cultivated area most affected crop production, soil erosion, and N leaching for majority of the cultivated areas of the three crops, except for the wheat-cultivated area, where the dominant factor for N leaching was fertilization. Although a tradeoff existed between crop production and negative environmental effects, compromises were possible. These findings provide new insights into the effects of climatic and management factors on AES, and have practical implications for improving crop production while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume613-614
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Crop production
  • Driving factor
  • EPIC
  • N leaching
  • Soil erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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