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Presentation

2nd Revision

Introduction

 

Introduction

What is this application about?
This is a decision-support application for planners and policymakers. It should help in the evaluation of options for dealing with China's (future) food problems.
The core of this application is an integrated analysis of China's food prospects that takes into account biophysical, climatic, hydrological, demographic, social, economic, and political dimensions (see the Arguments section). In addition, a broad range of related data sets were selected, have been converted into tables, maps, satellite images, and charts, and are here merged into an interactive hypertext document. Some of the data sets are from the IIASA LUC-GIS (such as most of the digital maps), others were collected by the author from the Internet or from statistical reports and yearbooks (such as the FAO data sets and tables from various Chinese statistical yearbooks). All analyses and data resources are connected via a web of hundreds of links, so that the user can "jump" from one argument to related arguments, tables, charts, maps, or Web sites on the Internet.
China's food security is a multicriteria problem. It cannot be solved by dealing with one dimension only - such as by focusing on the problem of soil erosion. There are at least seven dimensions that play a major role in China's food prospects: (1) population growth, (2) diet change, (3) urbanization, (4) size and quality of arable land, (5) supply of water, (6) policies and economic arrangements, and (7) scientific and technological developments. Each of these dimensions must be taken into account for political planning and scientific research concerning China's food security. This application brings together data, analyses, and Web resources for each of these dimensions.
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How is this application organized?
The application has three major components and provides nine different information access tools.
Components
The application includes three major components:
An analysis of China's food prospects, translated into arguments
A large archive of corresponding data sets (including tables, figures, maps, and remote-sensing images)
An extensive set of references, including a bibliography and a large selection of Web links
The arguments are organized in an evaluation matrix that
(a) describes current trends in food-related sectors,
(b) outlines the impact of these trends,
(c) evaluates data quality and
(d) prediction errors,
(e) describes intervention possibilities, and
(f) discusses the costs of these interventions.
Biogeophysical, socioeconomic, and institutional factors are taken into account. The matrix tries to systematically cover all relevant dimensions of China's food problems in a way that policymakers can use for evaluating alternative strategies. It provides arguments and "hard facts" for a policy dialogue and for further research.
A major intention of this system is to emphasize the multidimensional nature of China's food problems. Food security is not primarily a resource problem, as suggested by some researchers. Scarcity of water and land are just two factors in a multi-term equation that also includes demographic, economic, sociocultural, and political elements.
Tools
The information in this application can be accessed through the following tools:
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) All arguments are organized in an evaluation matrix, the main tool in this application.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) Corresponding data can be accessed from the data directory, which includes links to all tables, charts, figures, maps, and remote-sensing images.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) The FAQ section is a list of answers to frequently asked questions concerning China's food prospects.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) There are also a few in-depth analyses of food-related issues that do not fit into the argument scheme of the evaluation matrix but are nevertheless important for understanding China's food situation.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) The executive summary of arguments presents the main results in each section of the evaluation matrix in condensed form.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) The conclusions give an answer to the initial question: "Can China Feed Itself?"
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) The bibliography provides bibliographical refrences on food and agriculture in China.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) A large selection of Web links to China-related resources, research centers, and related materials is also included.
bluearr_r.gif (847 bytes) An index to everything in this application is also provided.
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Revision 2.0 (First revision published in 1999)  - Copyright 2011 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. (First revision: Copyright 1999 by IIASA.)