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Jianhua Zhang

2013 IPG Symposium - Root Biology

May 29, 2013

China has a growing population of 1.35 billion and has been largely self-sufficient in its food production so far. In consideration of its major agricultural resources, i.e. the land, the available fresh water and the temperature condition, China is actually very vulnerable in maintaining its food security.

Due to the unfavorable distributions of its water resources and temperature conditions, almost all the land that can be cropped has been utilized. Over cropping and over irrigation has led to some serious problems in two major areas of this country. In Northwest China where most of the land belongs to the inland river system, over expanding of irrigated area has resulted in some serious ecological problems, such as shrinking of oasis and desertification of grasslands.

In North China Plain where about half of the country’s wheat and maize are produced, over cropping has been supplemented with underground water for several decades, which has led to fast drop of underground water table. The whole North China Plain is drying up. China’s food security is threatened by its diminishing water resources. Practices that can sustainably use the water resources will be the key ways out to secure the country’s future food production.