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Zhong, Honglin, Sun, Laixiang, Fischer, Günther, Tian, Zhan and Liang, Zhuoran (2019) 'Optimizing regional cropping systems with a dynamic adaptation strategy for water sustainable agriculture in the Hebei Plain.' Agricultural Systems, 173. pp. 94-106.

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Unsustainable overexploitation of groundwater for agricultural irrigation has led to rapid groundwater depletion and severe environmental damage in the semi-arid Hebei Plain of China. Field experiments have recommended annual winter fallowing (i.e., forgoing winter wheat production) as the most effective way to replenish groundwater. However, adopting the recommendation across the Hebei Plain would lead to a significant reduction in total wheat production. This research aims to find the most favorable water-sustainable cropping systems for different localities in the Hebei Plain, which at the regional aggregation level maintains the uppermost overall levels of wheat and grain production respectively. Our simulations indicate that in the Hebei Plain, an optimal allocation of a wheat-early maize relay intercropping system and an early maize-winter fallow cropping system across the Hebei Plain could lead to significant water savings while minimizing grain production losses to around 11%. Compared to the prevailing wheat and summer maize cropping system, to prevent a drop in the water table, 39% of the current wheat cropping land would need to be fallowed in winter, reducing irrigation water use by 2639×106m^3. Replacing the prevailing wheat and summer maize cropping system with our optimized allocation system could lead to a 36% increase in total maize production and 39% decrease in total wheat production, resulting in total agricultural irrigation water savings of 2322×106m^3 and a total grain production reduction by 11%. The findings indicate the potential benefits of our cropping system adaptation method to meet the challenge of recovering local groundwater level with the least possible reduction of wheat and total grain production in the Hebei Plain.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Relay intercropping system; Groundwater overexploitation Cropping system adaptation; Water sustainable agriculture; The Hebei Plain; China
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
ISSN: 0308521X
Copyright Statement: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 13:40
Related URLs: https://www.jou ... ultural-systems (Publisher URL)
Funders: Other

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