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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Northward expansion of paddy rice in northeastern Asia during 2000-2014.


Paddy rice in monsoon Asia plays an important role in global food security and climate change. Here we documented annual dynamics of paddy rice areas in the northern frontier of Asia, including Northeastern (NE) China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, from 2000-2014 through analysis of satellite images. The paddy rice area has increased by 120% (2.5 to 5.5 million ha) in NE China, in comparison to a decrease in South Korea and Japan, and the paddy rice centroid shifted northward from 41.16 °N to 43.70 °N (~310 km) in this period. Market, technology, policy, and climate together drove the rice expansion in NE China. The increased use of greenhouse nurseries, improved rice cultivars, agricultural subsidy policy, and a rising rice price generally promoted northward paddy rice expansion. The potential effects of large rice expansion on climate change and ecological services should be paid more attention in the future.

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