All chapters:



Waters and water management

Ecosystems and ecoregions

Species diversity and use of biological resources

Nature conservation: econet and protected areas

Countries & cultures


Land use

International policy

Land use
Trends in Land Use. Recent Developments in Three Countries
Related maps, pictures, links
The China portion of the basin includes the majority of the intensively managed agricultural lands in the Amur-Heilong. In 1995 China accounted for more than 70 percent of all Amur-Heilong River basin agricultural land and about 16 percent of China 's national agricultural land. Remote sensing shows a massive conversion of grasslands, wetlands, and forests to croplands in China 's portion of the Amur-Heilong basin between 1990 and 2000 (Liu et al. 2005). Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia accounted for 70 percent of this cropland increase. All told, at least two million hectares of new cropland were added in the Amur-Heilong basin over that period. Northeast China forest cover declined by 1.26 million ha, and grasslands shrank by two million ha due to conversion to farmland. Another 0.6 million ha of conversion resulted from “water” and “unused land” categories, consisting mostly of wetlands ( Liu et al. 2005 ). The study concluded that both governmental statistics and remote sensing analyses conducted earlier by Chinese agencies show smaller areas of croplands and slower conversion rates. Look at map Cropland change in China in 1990-2000 (Liu et al. 2005)

In the Russian portion of the basin the area managed for agricultural production declined 19 percent from 1990 to 2001, arable land under cultivation declined by 48 percent, and the area under grain cultivation declined by 63 percent. Conversion of wildlands to farmland effectively ceased as did the renovation of drainage systems. (Karakin and Sheingauz .2004). ( Look at Abandoned cropland in Zeya Bureya Plains)

In Eastern Mongolia the concentration of services and herders in village centers has resulted in greater areas of overgrazing at these locations. Of the total pastoral land, 12 percent is grazed at low intensity, 67 percent at moderate intensity, 18 percent is heavily overgrazed and three percent of the pastoral land is severely overgrazed. Twelve percent of the total crop land of Mongolia is located in the eastern region. In previous years a maximum of 183,000 hectares of eastern Mongolia were used for cultivating crops. Today only 45 percent of this total is farmed.

Moving sands consuming cropland on Song-Nen Plain. Heilongjiang. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Map collections: Forestry

Oil & gas




Also look:

Land-use trends:

General trends in land-use



Amur Agriculture

Agricultural development in Northeast China

Agricultural development in Eastern Mongolia

Russian agriculture

Russian agricultural land and production in RFE-tables

Northeast Asia cooperation in agriculture

Environmental impacts of argiculture

Land degradation and desertification

Conversion of wildlands to farmland



Timber harvest in the Russian Far East

Salmon vs forestry

Major human-induced impacts on forest ecosystems of RFE (table)

Timber trade


Other land-use issues:


Nature tourism in the Amur/Heilong River Basin

Transport infrastructure impacts

Oil & gas Basin

Oil & gas impacts

Russian mining

Mongolian mining

Full contents
Full digest
Full atlas
All pictures