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Regional Sustainability

Abstract

Traditional rural homegarden agroforestry system in the Chengdu Plain of China, called “Linpan” in Chinese, integrates the ecological functions of the landscape with human production activities. Studying the driving mechanisms of rural landscape changes in the Chengdu Plain is of great significance from stakeholders’ perspective. Taking the Pidu Linpan Farming System (PLFS) in the suburban area of Chengdu (designated as one of China-Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems in 2020) as a case, this study combined remote sensing image analysis, oral history interviews, and focus group interviews to elucidate the driving forces of landscape changes in the PLFS. The results show that tourism development, traffic accessibility, economic demand, and agricultural heritage protection measure are the main driving forces promoting the stability and maintenance of the traditional homegardens. In contrast, population ageing, land circulation, centralized residence, climate change, and living and recreational need are the forces leading to adverse changes in the traditional homegardens. In addition, these driving forces have led to the gradual abandonment of traditional agricultural activities and critical issues related to rural landscape planning and management. The current research indicates that infrastructure construction and increased traditional agricultural income are considered as the best practices of local stakeholders, promoting the development of the protected homegardens of heritage sites and tourist destinations. Finally, we put forward some suggestions to improve and maintain the traditional rural landscape: (1) establishing a benefit-sharing mechanism; (2) establishing a training system with traditional technology and culture; (3) strengthening infrastructure construction; (4) promoting the development of the agricultural industry; (5) improving the cultural quality of farmers; and (6) establishing a management system with legal effects. This research can provide a basis for the formulation of rural landscape planning and the orderly and healthy development of agricultural heritage in Chengdu Plain.

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