• karst rocky desertification;
  • driving forces;
  • human pressure on land;
  • social-economic circumstances;
  • southwest China


Karst rocky desertification (KRD) is a type of land degradation especially prominent in southwest China. This article analyzes the anthropogenic driving forces of KRD at two scales: rural locality and its macro socio-economic circumstances. At the rural locality scale, the intensive human pressure on land because of a large and fast growing population and unsustainable land use are identified to be the reason for KRD. However, more radical driving forces lie in the farmers' disadvantages in social-economic circumstances, which compel them to overuse rural land. Hukou system, coastal development strategy, and household responsibility system are verified as three important factors in social-economic circumstances. At last, a two-scale framework is constructed to explain how anthropogenic driving forces lead to KRD in southwest China. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.