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Related maps, pictures, links

Land use changes result from a complex interplay of many factors, but climate change is definitely one of them.  This can be seen from a case study on changes in the key grain crops in Heilongjiang Province in the 1980s.  Chinese scientists investigated the relationships between changing acreages of grain crops and global warming in Heilongjiang Province.  Analysis was based on agricultural statistics and ground-based climate data during 1980 to 2001.  Analysis shows that an evident relationship between the acreage of these main crops and global warming.  The northern planting boundary for rice in Heilongjiang Province has extended to 52º N, and has also expanded to the east.  The borderline for corn also advanced northward.  Meanwhile, wheat areas have retreated northward.  The changes in planted area lag 1-2 years behind the temperature change.

This example also shows the interplay between climate variations, government agricultural policies and advances in farming technologies.  Real-life examples will show us the interplay between natural and human-induced factors and must be at the heart of our analysis.

Because the conversion of wetlands to agriculture occurs most easily at the fringes of wetlands in dry years, a dryer climate and more pronounced droughts result in increased conversion of wetlands.  The same holds for the desiccation of natural wetlands as result of an overexploitation of aquifers and surface waters through irrigation.  There is a pressing, regional need to analyze data on climate change and drought cycles and to study the their interplay with fire and different land use pressures.
As such, we can predict that current, wasteful water management policies coupled with projected climate change will:

Given current development patterns, these factors will lead to a massive use of water resources in the Songhua, Ussuri, and Amur-Heilong Rivers and to the construction of large reservoirs on the main channels of major rivers as the most effective means of water diversion.
The most rapid change can be expected in Dauria, where the increasing occurrences of large-scale forest fires in all three countries are well correlated to rates of global warming.  Some authors like A. Galanin from Far Eat Botanical Garden predict a rapid shift of the forest margin to the north, a significant desiccation of land and a subsequent need to relocate local communities to more hospitable areas.  Partial unilateral efforts to store more water from transboundary basins in Mongolia and China are unlikely to be effective in confronting this threat.
There is an obvious need for careful, international planning to adapt to climate change both in the Amur-Heilong headwaters and across the entire basin as well.


Map collection:

Climate, waters and water management



Cropland change in China in 1990-2000 (by Liu 2005)

Northeast China  irrigation (by F.Lasserre)

Songhua Floodplain map(ADB 2000)



Amur climate


Rice paddies in Small Hinggan mountains (Photo by Guo Yumin.)

Also look:

Amur climate

Precipitation in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Temperature in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Climate fluctuations, floods and droughts in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Cranes and storks and climate change in Middle Amur

Great Bustard and White-naped Crane response to climate cycles in Dauria

Global climate change predictions and signs in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Ecosystem response to climate change in Amur-Heilong River Basin

River between – environmental perspective on Amur water management

Water infrastructure in the Amur-Heilong River Basin

Land degradation and desertification


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