Challenges and strategies for agricultural green development in the Yangtze River Basin

Chaoyi Guo, Zhaohai Bai, Xiaojun Shi, Xuanjing Chen, David Chadwick, Maryna Strokal, Fusuo Zhang, Lin Ma, Xinping Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Yangtze River Basin (YRB) has been recognized as one of the key strategic development regions in China. Agriculture p52 roduction systems in the YRB have contributed considerably to China’s goal of food security. Realizing Agriculture Green Development (AGD) means agriculture production systems with high productivity, high resource use efficiency and low environmental costs. However, challenges and barriers still exist for realizing AGD in the YRB. Here, we summarize four main challenges for AGD in the YRB, and identify two approaches (top-down and bottom-up) including main strategies needed to achieve AGD. The four challenges include, but are not limited to, (1) low agricultural productivity and nutrient use efficiencies, (2) an uneven agricultural production structure, (3) rapid urbanization, and (4) uncoordinated targets for environmental protection and food production. We conclude that both top-down and bottom-up approaches are needed to deliver AGD in the YRB. Top-down approaches are mainly operated by government and underpinned by research, which uses spatial planning to promote the balance between agricultural production and the ecological environment, and to optimize the proportions of cereal and cash crop production with monogastric and ruminant animal production. The bottom-up approach needs strategies to close the yield gap of various cropping and livestock systems, improve resource use efficiencies to control environmental impacts. Furthermore, training and education are needed to increase awarenessand improve skills for farmers and advisers. Our review can serve as example for other global regions that are in transition from unsustainable agriculture production towards sustainable withclean environment and healthy economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of integrative Environmental Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2021


  • Crop-livestock system
  • environmental pollution
  • nutrient flux
  • productivity
  • spatial planning
  • urbanization

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