Domestic Wheat Trade and Its Associated Virtual Cropland Flow in China, 2010–2015
© 2018 by the author. How to meet food demands with limited cropland has become a serious problem worldwide, especially in China. Global and national food trade can alleviate regional food unbalance among different countries or regions to some extent. The embedded virtual land also flows with food trade, and reasonable food trade can save global croplands and protect local ecosystems. Therefore, it is of great importance to study how trade influences land use as well as its associated environmental consequences. Recent studies have mainly focused on global food trade and its associated virtual land flow; however, only a few have focused on national food trade and its associated virtual land flow. Thus, this study aims to explore the domestic wheat trade and its associated virtual land flows in China during the period 2010-2015, based on the CHINAGRO model and previous studies. The Huang-Huai-Hai Plain and its surrounding regions were the main producers and consumers of wheat and virtual wheat. Without wheat stocks and international wheat trade, the annual domestic wheat trade accounted for 16.43% of the total national wheat production in China. Anhui was the largest net exporter of wheat, followed by Henan, while the developed areas such as Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai were the main net importers. Additionally, as an important transfer region, Jiangsu was the largest exporter and importer of wheat virtual cropland, but it finally presented as a net exporter of wheat cropland. During this period, domestic wheat trade led to a total land savings of 2.62 Mha/a, accounting for 10.80% of Chinese wheat cropland. However, compared with the year 2010, Shandong, Hebei, and Sichuan turned into wheat net importers in 2015, which was due to different reasons such as national agriculture polices and economic development. In addition, the net virtual cropland per capita has been greatly influenced by local economic development.