【Title】Changes in Agricultural System as Farmers Adapt to Economic-Social and Climatic Changes in the Min Upriver Rural Areas in Western Sichuan, Southwestern China
【Author】ZHANG Long-jiang; TANG Ya; LIU Ben-hong
【Addresses】Department of Environment, College of Architecture and Environment, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
【Citation】Zhang LJ, Tang Y, Liu BH (2015) Changes in agricultural system as farmers adapt to economic-social and climatic changes in the Min Upriver rural areas in Western Sichuan, Southwestern China. Journal of Mountain Science 12(3). DOI: 10.1007/s11629-014-3386-5
【Abstract】Rapid economic growth in China has brought about great economic-social changes in rural areas, having considerable impact on the society in economy and environment. With a per capita possession of about 0.08 ha of cropland, Chinese farmers in rural areas adopt various ways in response to these changes in a bit to maintain their livelihood, wherein the agricultural system is facing one more options possible. To understand how rural communities have used different mechanisms to adapt to the economic and natural changes, we joined a survey in dry valleys of the Min upriver area under Maoxian county of western Sichuan province, southwestern China and visited the local people. Changes in the main crop cultivation have shown up an important means to keep up their household income. Farm households start seeking economic growth through diversified cultivating of cereal and economic crops in five lines, namely cereal, apple monoculture, apple and vegetables, plum and vegetables, mixed fruits and vegetables. These new lines mirror farmers’ flexibility to cope with today’s economic-social and climatic changes. The farming operation has changed all the more from asubsistence on grain to special agricultural products. Economic reforms in the early 1980s motivated theprogress first in conversion of production from grain to fruits, and the desire to increase family income turned out to be an impetus for the subsequent events. At present, more farmers moving out of the rural areas, uneasyavailability of labor force, increased opportunity cost of labors and their wages, increased farm size, and the urgent demand for the agricultural labor force, all these combine into the trend of the agricultural system of China on facing further economic-social reforms and reconstruction of the countryside across China.
【Keywords】Agricultural system; Climate change; Farmers; Economic impacts; Social change; Min River