The spatiotemporal landscape heterogeneity implies multiple biodiversity mechanisms across scales, and the cross-disciplinary studies between landscape ecology and biodiversity are becoming a new research field in China. This paper briefly reviews the development of the field by comparing papers published in international journals and Chinese journals; then it investigates the differences in the trends and focuses between international and Chinese studies. We also introduce several study areas that have emerged over the last 10 years in this field, including metacommunity assembly, landscape genetics, biodiversity and ecosystem service relationship, and landscape planning for biodiversity conservation. The major advances emerging in this field in China over the past 5 years can be classified into six subject areas: 1) effects of urban landscape and urbanization on biodiversity; 2) altitudinal patterns of biodiversity in mountain landscapes; 3) effects of topographic heterogeneity on plant community assembly and species coexistence; 4) impacts of landscape patterns and processes on animal behaviors; 5) forest fires and spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation responses; and 6) landscape ecology applications in natural conservation planning and design. In an attempt to promote cross-field studies between geography and ecology, this special issue collected 10 research articles, involving multiple landscape types and biological assemblages, in order to explore the interaction between landscape features and biodiversity. We anticipate that the future development of this active front will be primarily driven by the application of novel information techniques and the realistic demands of sustainability issues, in addition to answering scientific questions cross scales.
Understanding biogeographic patterns and the mechanisms underlying them has been a main issue in macroecology and biogeography, and has implications for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem sustainability. Evergreen broad-leaved woody plants (EBWPs) are important components of numerous biomes and are the main contributors to the flora south of 35°N in China. We calculated the grid cell values of species richness (SR) for a total of 6265 EBWP species in China, including its four growth-forms (i.e., tree, shrub, vine, and bamboo), and estimated their phylogenetic structure using the standardized phylogenetic diversity (SPD) and net relatedness index (NRI). Then we linked the three biogeographical patterns that were observed with each single environmental variable representing the current climate, the last glacial maximum (LGM)-present climate variability, and habitat heterogeneity, using ordinary least squares regression with a modified t-test to account for spatial autocorrelation. The partial regression method based on a general linear model was used to decompose the contributions of current and historical environmental factors to the biogeographical patterns observed. The results showed that most regions with high numbers of EBWP species and phylogenetic diversity were distributed in tropical and subtropical mountains with evergreen shrubs extending to Northeast China. Current mean annual precipitation was the best single predictor. Topographic variation and its effect on temperature variation was the best single predictor for SPD and NRI. Partial regression indicated that the current climate dominated the SR patterns of Chinese EBWPs. The effect of paleo-climate variation on SR patterns mostly overlapped with that of the current climate. In contrast, the phylogenetic structure represented by SPD and NRI was constrained by paleo-climate to much larger extents than diversity, which was reflected by the LGM-present climate variation and topography-derived habitat heterogeneity in China. Our study highlights the importance of embedding multiple dimensions of biodiversity into a temporally hierarchical framework for understanding the biogeographical patterns, and provides important baseline information for predicting shifts in plant diversity under climate change.
Understanding the underlying ecological processes that control plant diversity within (α-diversity) and among (β-diversity) forest gaps is important for managing natural forest ecosystems, and it is also a prerequisite for identifying the formation and maintenance mechanisms of forest plant communities. In this study, we focused on the interrelationships among habitat type (gap/non-gap plots), gap size, elevation and environmental factors, and we explored their effects on plant diversity (α-diversity and β-diversity). To do this, a total of 21 non-gap (i.e., closed canopy) plots (100 m2) and 63 gap plots, including 21 with large gaps (200-410 m2), 21 with medium gaps (100-200 m2) and 21 with small gaps (38.5- 100 m2),were selected along an elevational gradient in a subalpine coniferous forest of southwestern China. Using structural equation models (SEMs), we analyzed how forest gaps affected plant diversity (α-diversity and β-diversity) along an elevational gradient. The results showed that (1) as elevation increased, unimodal patterns of α-diversity were found in different-sized gaps, and β-diversity showed a consistent sinusoidal function pattern in different-sized gaps. The gap size was positively related to α-diversity, but this effect disappeared above 3500 masl. Moreover, the patterns of α-diversity and β-diversity in non-gap plots were irregular along the elevational gradient. (2) SEMs demonstrated that many environmental factors, such as the annual mean air temperature (AMAT), ultraviolet-A radiation (365 nm, UV-A365), ultraviolet-B1 radiation (297 nm, UV-B297), moss thickness (MT), soil carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N ratio), NH4-N and NO3-N, were significantly affected by elevation, which then affected α-diversity and β-diversity. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), UV-A365 and UV-B297 were significantly higher in plots with forest gaps than in the non-gap plots. Moreover, the PPFD and UV-A365 were positively and directly affected by gap size. Surprisingly, except for the NH4-N and the C/N ratios, the below-ground environmental factors showed little or no relationships with forest gaps. All of these effects contributed to plant diversity. Overall, the above-ground environmental factors were more sensitive to gap-forming disturbances than the below-ground environmental factors, which affected α-diversity and β-diversity. The predicted pathway in the SEMs of the elevational effects on α-diversity and β-diversity was relatively complicated compared with the effects of forest gaps. These results can provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms driving the diversity-habitat relationship in the subalpine coniferous forests of southwestern China.
Species abundance and habitat distribution are two important aspects of species conservation studies and both are affected by similar environmental factors. Forest resource inventory data in 2010 were used to evaluate the patterns of habitat for target species of Cervidae in six typical forestry bureaus of the Yichun forest area in the Lesser Xing’an Mountains, northeastern China. A habitat suitability index (HSI) model was used based on elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation and age of tree. These five environmental factors were selected by boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis from 14 environmental variables collected during field surveys. Changes in habitat caused by anthropogenic activities mainly involving settlement and road factors were also considered. The results identified 1780.49 km2 of most-suitable and 1770.70 km2 of unsuitable habitat areas under natural conditions, covering 16.38% and 16.29% of the entire study area, respectively. The area of most-suitable habitat had been reduced by 4.86% when human interference was taken into account, whereas the unsuitable habitat area had increased by 11.3%, indicating that anthropogenic disturbance turned some potential habitats into unsuitable ones. Landscape metrics indicated that average patch area declined while patch density and edge density increased. This suggests that as habitat becomes fragmented and its quality becomes degraded by human activities, cervid populations will be threatened with extirpation. The study helped identify the spatial extent of habitat influenced by anthropogenic interference for the local cervid population. As cervid species clearly avoid human activities, more attention should be paid on considering the way and intensity of human activities for habitat management as fully as possible.
Ecological corridor networks can efficiently improve regional landscape connectivity. Corridors for multiple faunal species movements are receiving increasing attention and graph theory is considered a promising way to explore landscape connectivity. In Xishuangbanna, the circuit theory was applied to explore the corridor networks for biodiversity for the first time. In addition, disturbances caused by the road network and the protection efficiency of National Nature Reserves and planned area for corridors were evaluated. Results indicated that the regional corridor networks could be estimated using a modified circuit method and Zonation model. Spatially, the key corridors were concentrated in the central-western, southeastern and northern regions. We detected 66 main intersections between key corridors and the road buffer. Of these points, 65% are forest, 23% grassland and 12% farmland. More than half of the area of National Nature Reserves constituted the top 50% of the corridors, and the planned corridor areas could efficiently protect some key corridors. However, these reserves only protected about 17% of regional key corridors, and the corridor conservation area in the western and northern regions were absent. The issues addressed in our study aided in the elucidation of the importance of regional landscape connectivity assessments and operational approaches in conservation planning.
Cyberspace is a new spatial realm of activities involving both humans and data, and it has become a cornerstone of the national security of every country. A scientific understanding of cyberspace is essential for analyzing cyberspace incidents, governing cyberspace and ensuring cybersecurity. Accordingly, cyberspace has become a new field of geographic research in the Information Age. Against the backdrop of fierce international competition over cyberspace, there has been an urgent need to strengthen research between the fields of geography and cybersecurity, leading to theoretical and methodological innovations that have created the sub-discipline of cyberspace geography. Cyberspace geography (CG) extends geographical research from real spaces to virtual spaces, and its theoretical basis is the evolution of the traditional geographic human-land relationship theory into a human-land-network relationship theory. CG research includes constructing mapping relationships between cyberspace and real space, redefining the traditional geographic concepts of distance and regions for cyberspace, creating a language, models and methodologies for visually representing cyberspace, drawing maps of cyberspace, and researching the principles governing the evolution of cyberspace structures and behaviors. The technical methods of CG include collecting and integrating data on elements of cyberspace, visually representing cyberspace and conducting cyberspace situational and behavioral intelligence awareness. Intelligence awareness covers cyberspace situational status assessments, network hotspot event dissemination and traceability analysis, and network event situational simulations and risk predictions. CG offers new perspectives on the scientific understanding of cyberspace, the development of disciplines such as geography and cybersecurity, and the creation of national cybersecurity prevention and control mechanisms as well as a community of common future in cyberspace.
Plant moisture content (PMC) is used as an indicator of forest flammability, which is assumed to be affected by climate drought. However, the fire-induced drought stress on PMC and its spatial and temporal variations are unclear. Based on a parallel monitoring experiment from 2014 to 2015, this study compared the PMCs and soil moisture contents (SMC) at five post-fire sites in central Yunnan Plateau, Southwest China. The number of years since last fire (YSF), season, topographic position, plant species and tissue type (leaf and branch) were selected as causal factors of the variations in PMC and SMC. A whole year parallel monitoring and sampling in the post-fire communities of 1, 2, 5, 11 and 30 YSF indicated that drought stress in surface soils was the strongest in spring within the first 5 years after burning, and the SMC was regulated by topography, with 64.6% variation in soil moisture accounted for by YSF (25.7%), slope position (22.1%) and season (10.8%). The temporal variations of PMC and SMC differed at both interannual and seasonal scales, but the patterns were consistent across topographic positions. PMC differed significantly between leaves and branches, and among three growth-forms. The mean PMC was lower in broad-leaved evergreen species and higher in conifer species. Season and soil temperature were the primary determinants of PMC, accounting for 19.1% and 8.3% of variation in PMC, respectively. This indicated phenology-related growth rather than drought stress in soil as the primary driver of seasonal changes in PMC. The significant variations of PMC among growth forms and species revealed that seasonal soil temperature change and dominant species in forest communities are useful indicators of fire risk assessment in this region.
Mountains in western China, hosted rich biodiversity and millions of people and inhabitant with vital ecosystem services, had experienced the most serious biodiversity loss with fragile ecological problems. Even though increasing attentions had been paid to this issue, we still lacked efficient methods to assess the change of plant biodiversity at medium/large scale due to the poor data and co-existing multiple habitat types. This study proposed an integrated method combining InVEST-habitat quality model, NPP and landscape pattern indexes to analyze the spatial heterogeneity of plant biodiversity and its spatiotemporal change on raster cell scale. The results indicated that plant biodiversity service was high in Bailongjiang watershed with obvious spatial pattern variations. The land area containing higher plant biodiversity were 3161 km2, which mainly distributed in the National Nature Reserve and forestry area. While the areas with lower plant biodiversity accounted for 37.67% and mainly distributed in the valleys between Zhouqu-Wudu-Wenxian County, the valley of Minjiang in Tanchang County and alpine mountain snow-covered regions. During 1990-2010, plant biodiversity level tended to increase and the higher plant biodiversity area increased from 14.13% to 17.15% due to ecological restoration and afforestation, while plant biodiversity decreased in the area with intensive human activities, such as cultivated land, urban and rural land. The results showed that combining InVEST-habitat quality model, NPP and landscape pattern indexes can effective reveal mountain plant biodiversity change. The study was useful for plant biodiversity conservation policy-making and human activity management for the disaster-impacted mountainous areas in China.
In Southwest China, five Nature Reserves (NRs) (Mangkang, Baimaxueshan, Yunling, Habaxueshan, and Yunlongtianchi) play a key role in protecting the endemic and endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (YSM) (Rhinopithecus bieti). However, increasing human activities threaten its habitats and corridors. We used a GIS-based Niche Model to delineate potential core habitats (PCHs) of the YSMs and a Linkage Mapper corridor simulation tool to restore potential connectivity corridors (PCCs), and defined five scenarios. A normalized importance value index (NIVI) was established to identify the protection priority areas (PPAs) for the YSMs for five scenarios. The results indicated that locations of the habitats and corridors were different in the five scenarios, thereby influencing the distribution of the PPAs and protection network of the YSMs. The NIVI value of Baimaxueshan nature reserve was 1 in the five scenarios, which implied the maximum importance. There were only 7 PCHs and 16 PCCs (with the longest average length of 223.13 km) which were mainly located around 5 NRs in scenario III. The protection network of the YSMs was composed of 16 PCHs, 18 PCCs, and 5 NRs. Under each scenario, most of the PCHs and the PCCs were located in the south of the study area. The five NRs only covered 2 PPAs of the YSMs. We suggest that the southern part of the study area needs to be strictly protected and human activities should be limited. The area of the five NRs should be expanded to maximize protection of the YSMs in the future.
Urbanization can profoundly influence the ecosystem service for biodiversity conservation. However, few studies have investigated this effect, which is significant for maintaining regional sustainable development. We take the rapidly developing, mountainous and biodiversity hotspot region, Jinghong, in southern Yunnan Province as the case study. An integrated ecosystem service model (PANDORA) is used to evaluate this regional BESV (ecosystem service value for biodiversity conservation). The modeled BESV is sensitive to landscape connectivity changes. From the 1970s to 2010, regional urban lands increased from 18.64 km2 to 36.81 km2, while the BESV decreased from $6.08 million year-1 to $5.32 million year-1. Along with distance gradients from the city center to the fringe, BESV varies as an approximate hump-shaped pattern. Because correlation analysis reveals a stronger influence of landscape composition on spatial BESV estimates than the landscape configuration does, we conclude that the projected urban expansion will accelerate the BESV reduction. Of the projected urban land, 95% will show a decreasing BESV trend by approximately $2 m-2 year-1. To prevent this, we recommend compact urban planning for the mountainous city.
Food security is the primary prerequisite for achieving other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Given that the MDG of “halving the proportion of hungers by 2015” was not realized as scheduled, it will be more pressing and challenging to reach the goal of zero hunger by 2030. So there is high urgency to find the pattern and mechanism of global food security from the perspective of spatio-temporal evolution. In this paper, based on the analysis of database by using a multi-index evaluation method and radar map area model, the global food security level for 172 countries from 2000 to 2014 were assessed; and then spatial autocorrelation analysis was conducted to depict the spatial patterns and changing characteristics of global food security; then, multi-nonlinear regression methods were employed to identify the factors affecting the food security patterns. The results show: 1) The global food security pattern can be summarized as “high-high aggregation, low-low aggregation”. The most secure countries are mainly distributed in Western Europe, North America, Oceania and parts of East Asia. The least secure countries are mainly distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and West Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia. 2) Europe and sub-Saharan Africa are hot and cold spots of the global food security pattern respectively, while in non-aggregation areas, Haiti, North Korea, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have long-historical food insecurity problems. 3) The pattern of global food security is generally stable, but the internal fluctuations in the extremely insecure groups were significant. The countries with the highest food insecurity are also the countries with the most fluctuated levels of food security. 4) The annual average temperature, per capita GDP, proportion of people accessible to clean water, political stability and non-violence levels are the main factors influencing the global food security pattern. Research shows that the status of global food security has improved since the year 2000, yet there are still many challenges such as unstable global food security and acute regional food security issues. It will be difficult to understand these differences from a single factor, especially the annual average temperature and annual precipitation. The abnormal performance of the above factors indicates that appropriate natural conditions alone do not absolutely guarantee food security,while the levels of agricultural development, the purchasing power of residents, regional accessibility, as well as political and economic stability have more direct influence.
Non-crop habitats have been suggested to impact local biodiversity significantly in agricultural landscapes. However, there have been few studies of the effects of less-focused non-crop habitats (orchard, wetland, pit and ditch) on variation of spider abundance. In this study, spiders in 30 woodlands were captured using pitfall traps in Fengqiu County, China, and the effects of local and landscape variations at different scales (50 m, 100 m, 200 m, 350 m and 500 m) on spider abundance were analysed. The most important variation that influenced spider abundance at the 500 m scale was the less-focused non-crop habitat (LNH) cover, and 10% was an appropriate proportion of LNH cover to sustain high level of spider diversity in the investigated landscape. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analyses revealed that there were significant differences in the spider composition among the high, medium and low LNH coverage. Based on indicator species analysis, different spider species were associated with landscapes with different levels of LNH cover. Lycosidae, which accounted for 48% of the total specimens, preferred woodland habitats neighbouring areas with high LNH cover. Compared with woodland habitats, LNH provided more diverse food sources and habitat to sustain more spider species in the study area. Furthermore, linear elements composed of vegetation, such as pits and ditches, may prevent agricultural intensification by enhancing landscape connectivity and providing habitats for different spiders. Our findings may provide a theoretical basis for biodiversity conservation in agro-ecosystems and top-down control of pests.
New Urban Districts (NUDs) are the important spatial carriers to promote urban expansion or transformation. Since the 1990s, they have been playing a more and more crucial role in China’s urbanization. For NUDs in the strict sense we found that: 96% to the east of Hu Line; 56% within the municipal districts; 64% within 36 km from their every city center and below the area of 423 km 2. The regional distribution follows significant spatial difference as “Eastern Region (50%) - Central Region (42%) - Western Region (8%)”, and the provinces with the largest number of NUDs are Guangdong, Henan, Zhejiang, Liaoning, and Jiangsu. Furthermore, their interesting constructed process highlights the typical characteristics of spatial production and spatial dialectic. This paper uses the theory of the production of space, and discovers that the growth of NUDs is a rapid ternary dialectical process of spatial production: “representations of space” is guided by the top-down governmental power; “spatial practice” is reflected in the hierarchical and regional difference of spatial elements, such as the type, pattern, distance and area of NUD; “spaces of representation” embodies the tension between governmental power and urban development rights, as well as the countermeasure mechanism. The extensibility of spatiotemporal sequences ensures the unity and continuity of spatial (re)production of NUDs. However, this is also facing a series of challenges like the management coordination of administrative division and the increasing unbalanced or inadequate development. Thus, critically rethinking the evolution of NUD is the key basis for achieving sustainable urban renewal and regional orderly development in the new era.
The retreating snowfields and glaciers of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, present alpine plants with changes in habitat and hydrology. The adjacent and relic periglacial patterned ground consists of solifluction terraces of green, vegetation-rich stripes alternating with sparsely vegetated brown stripes. We established georeferenced transects on striped periglacial patterned ground for long-term monitoring and data collection on species distribution and plant functional traits at Siyeh Pass and at Piegan Pass at Glacier National Park. We documented species distribution and calculated the relative percent cover (RPC) of qualitative functional traits and used 16S rRNA from soil samples to characterize microbial distribution on green and brown stripes. Plant species distribution varied significantly and there were key differences in microbial distribution between the green and brown stripes. The rare arctic-alpine plants Draba macounii, Papaver pygmaeum, and Sagina nivalis were restricted to brown stripes, where the RPC of xeromorphic taprooted species was significantly higher at the leading edge of the Siyeh Pass snowfield. Brown stripes had a higher percentage of the thermophilic bacteria Thermacetogenium and Thermoflavimicrobium. Green stripes were co-dominated by the adventitiously-rooted dwarf shrubs Salix arctica and the possibly N-fixing Dryas octopetala. Green stripes were inhabited by Krummholz and seedlings of Abies lasiocarpa and Pinus albicaulus. Prosthecobacter, a hydrophilic bacterial genus, was more abundant on the green stripes, which had 6,524 bacterial sequences in comparison to the 1,183 sequences from the brown stripes. While further research can determine which functional traits are critical for these plants, knowledge of the current distribution of plant species and their functional traits can be used in predictive models of the responses of alpine plants to disappearing snowfields and glaciers. This research is important in conservation of rare arctic-alpine species on periglacial patterned ground.
The spatial structures of China’s Major Function Zoning are important constraining indicators in all types of spatial planning and key parameters for accurately downscaling major functions. Taking the proportion of urbanization zones, agricultural development zones and ecological security zones as the basic parameter, this paper explores the spatial structures of major function zoning at different scales using spatial statistics, spatial modeling and landscape metrics methods. The results show: First, major function zones have spatial gradient structures, which are prominently represented by latitudinal and longitudinal gradients, a coastal distance gradient, and an eastern-central-western gradient. Second, the pole-axis system structure and core-periphery structure exist at provincial scales. The general principle of the pole-axis structure is that as one moves along the distance axis, the proportion of urbanization zones decreases and the proportion of ecological security zones increases. This also means that the proportion of different function zones has a ring-shaped spatial differentiation principle with distance from the core. Third, there is a spatial mosaic structure at the city and county scale. This spatial mosaic structure has features of both spatial heterogeneity, such as agglomeration and dispersion, as well as of mutual, adjacent topological correlation and spatial proximity. The results of this study contribute to scientific knowledge on major function zones and the principles of spatial organization, and it acts as an important reference for China’s integrated geographical zoning.
Whether economic agglomeration can promote improvement in environmental quality is of great importance not only to China’s pollution prevention and control plans but also to its future sustainable development. Based on the COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and NH3-N (Ammonia Nitrogen) emissions Database of 339 Cities at the city level in China, this study explores the impact of economic agglomeration on water pollutant emissions, including the differences in magnitude of the impact in relation to city size using an econometric model. The study also examines the spillover effect of economic agglomeration, by conducting univariate and bivariate spatial autocorrelation analysis. The results show that economic agglomeration can effectively reduce water pollutant emissions, and a 1% increase in economic agglomeration could lead to a decrease in COD emissions by 0.117% and NH3-N emissions by 0.102%. Compared with large and megacities, economic agglomeration has a more prominent effect on the emission reduction of water pollution in small- and medium-sized cities. From the perspective of spatial spillover, the interaction between economic agglomeration and water pollutant emissions shows four basic patterns: high agglomeration-high emissions, high agglomeration-low emissions, low agglomeration-high emissions, and low agglomeration-low emissions. The results suggest that the high agglomeration-high emissions regions are mainly distributed in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Shandong Peninsula, and the Harbin-Changchun urban agglomeration; thus, local governments should consider the spatial spillover effect of economic agglomeration in formulating appropriate water pollutant mitigation policies.
Research into urban expansion patterns and their driving forces is of great significance for urban agglomeration development planning and decision-making. In this paper, we reveal the multi-dimensional characteristics of urban expansion patterns, based on the intensity index of the urban expansion, the differentiation index of the urban expansion, the fractal dimension index, the land urbanization rate, and the center of gravity model, by taking the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) urban agglomeration as an example. We then build the center of gravity-geographically and temporally weighted regression (GTWR) model by coupling the center of gravity model with the GTWR model. Through the analysis of the temporal and spatial patterns and by using the center of gravity-GTWR model, we analyze the driving forces of the urban land expansion and summarize the dominant development modes and core driving forces of the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration. The results show that: 1) Between 1990 and 2015, the expansion intensity of the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration showed a down-up-down trend, and the peak period was in 2005-2010. Before 2005, high-speed development took place in Beijing, Tianjin, Baoding, and Langfang; after 2005, rapid development was seen in Xingtai and Handan. 2) Although the barycenter of cities in the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration has shown a divergent trend, the local interaction between cities has been enhanced, and the driving forces of urban land expansion have shown a characteristic of spatial spillover. 3) The spatial development mode of the Jing-Jin-Ji urban agglomeration has changed from a dual-core development mode to a multi-core development mode, which is made up of three functional cores: the transportation core in the northern part, the economic development core in the central part, and the investment core in the southern part. The synergistic development between each functional core has led to the multi-core development mode. 4) The center of gravity-GTWR model combines the analysis of spatial and temporal nonstationarity with urban spatial interaction, and analyzes the urban land expansion as a space-time dynamic system. The results of this study show that the model is a feasible approach in the analysis of the driving forces of urban land expansion.
This paper investigated spatial structures of 3418 national protected areas (NPAs) grouped into 13 types using GIS and quantitative analysis, including point patterns, Ripley’s K function, hotspot clustering, quadrat analysis, and Gini coefficient. Spatial accessibility was calculated for all NPAs from matrix raster data using cost weighted distance on the ArcGIS platform. The results are as follows: (1) The NNI of NPAs is 0.515, Gini is 0.073, all of which indicates distribution was shown to be a spatially dependent agglomeration, and more balanced in the provinces. The national key parks and the national water conservancy scenic spots had present the strongest aggregation, with NNI of 0.563 and 0.561 respectively, and K index indicates reducing aggregation when distance exceeds 600 km. (2) The national forest parks account for the largest proportion of 22.87% of all NPAs, and the world biosphere reserves the least of 0.77%. The number of NPAs in Shandong with 240 had been the largest one in all the provinces, while Tianjin had the least number including 9 NPAs. (3) There is only one hot spot in the first-class zone, 5 in the second-class zones, and 51 in the third-class zones, which indicates NPAs are also aggregated at microscopic scales. (4) The hotspot NPA regions were mainly concentrated in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, east of 100°E. High density of NPAs were generally in flat, water-rich, broad-leaved forest dominated plains and low mountain areas, with fertile soil, pleasant weather, long cultural history, and high transportation accessibility. (5) Average NPA accessible time is 60.05 min, with 70.76% regions being within 60 min, and the furthest was 777 min. The distribution of accessibility was positively related to the traffic lines. Interdepartmental protectionism has meant the various departments developed different management systems, standards, and technical specifications.
With the degradation of natural resources and environment caused by industrial development in some developing countries, the requirement of implementing a “social ecological” approach to development is imminent. Resource and environment carrying capacity provides a means of assessing regional development potential by measuring regional sustainable development in terms of economy, population and resources & environment. This study develops a conceptual framework for resource and environment carrying capacity estimation to support the co-development planning of industries, population and resources & environment. First, the framework constructs an index system for evaluating importance of industry or influence based on the role of industry played in the local socio-economic system. Then, the framework computes the quantitative relations through the importance of local industry, population size and resource utilization and environment effects, and subsequently estimates the resource and environment carrying capacity of the study area. With a particular attention to its land resources, water resources and environment, the Tibet case study shows that: the non-ferrous metal mining, tourism, liquor and refined tea industries play a pillar role in the Tibet’s socio-economic system; under each industrial structure, land resource carrying capacity is the weakest, and water resources carrying capacity is the strongest; to focus on tourism will improve local resource and environment carrying capacity. The research results provide a solid guide for Tibet government’s co-actions in industrial restructuring, ecological protection, and the pursuit of economic development. This study will contribute to bridge the gap between theoretical research and practical applications of resource and environment carrying capacity, and help local governments plan the regional “socio-ecological” sustainable development.
Geomorphological regionalization (geomor-region) and geomorphological type (geomor-type) classification are two core components in the geomorphologic research. Although remarkable achievements have been made in the study of geomor-region, many deficiencies still exist, such as the inconsistency of landform indicators, the small quantity of division orders, disparities of geomorphological characteristics, differences of mapping results, and the small scale of zoning maps. Requirements for improved national geomor-regions are therefore needed for the purpose of an enhanced national geo-information system. Based on theories of geomor-region in China including plate tectonics, crustal features, endogenic and exogenic forced geomorphological features, and regional differentiations of geomor-type, a three-order (major-region, sub-region, and small-region) research program on China’s geomor-regions is proposed on the basis of previous 2013 geomor-region system. The major contents of the new geomor-region scheme are: (1) principles of the national multi-order geomor-regions; (2) hierarchical indicator systems of geomor-regions including characteristics of the terrain ladder under the control of tectonic setting, combinations of regional macro-form types, combinations of endogenic and exogenic forces and basic types of morphology, combinations of regional morphological types, and combinations of regional micro-morphological types; (3) naming rules and coding methods of geomor-regions; and (4) precise positioning techniques and methods of multi-order geomor-region divisions based on multi-source data. Using the new geomor-region theory and division methodology, the partition of national three-order geomor-regions of China was successfully constructed. The geomor-region system divided China into six first-order major-regions, 36 second-order sub-regions, and 136 third-order small-regions. In addition, a database and management information system of the national geomor-regions were established. This research has an important guiding significance for promoting the development of China’s regional geomorphology and for practical applications based on geomor-regions.
Phenological modeling is not only important for the projection of future changes of certain phenophases but also crucial for systematically studying the spatiotemporal patterns of plant phenology. Based on ground phenological observations, we used two existing temperature-based models and 12 modified models with consideration of precipitation or soil moisture to simulate the bud-burst date (BBD) of four common herbaceous plants—Xanthium sibiricum, Plantago asiatica, Iris lactea and Taraxacum mongolicum—in temperate grasslands in Inner Mongolia. The results showed that (1) increase in temperature promoted the BBD of all species. However, effects of precipitation and soil moisture on BBD varied among species. (2) The modified models predicted the BBD of herbaceous plants with R 2 ranging from 0.17 to 0.41 and RMSE ranging from 9.03 to 11.97 days, better than classical thermal models. (3) The spatiotemporal pattern of BBD during 1980-2015 showed that species with later BBD, e.g. X. sibiricum (mean: day of year 135.30) exhibited an evidently larger spatial difference in BBD (standard deviation: 13.88 days) than the other species. Our findings suggest that influences of temperature and water conditions need to be considered simultaneously in predicting the phenological response of herbaceous plants to climate change.
The Beautiful China Initiative (BCI) is a plan for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation as well as for China to fulfill the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Chinese government’s “five-in-one” approach provides strategic arrangements for developing the BCI, and President Xi Jinping proposed a timetable and “road map” for the BCI at the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection. Nevertheless, the theoretical basis, evaluation index system, evaluation criteria and effectiveness of the BCI are currently unclear. This paper begins by exploring the basic content of the BCI from narrow and broad perspectives. It regards the theory of human-nature harmonious coexistence and the five-in-one beauty theory as the core theoretical bases of the BCI and constructs a five-element BCI evaluation index system (ecological environment, green development, social harmony, system perfection and cultural heritage) and utilizes the assessment method of the United Nations’ Human Development Index to assess scientifically the effectiveness of the BCI in 341 prefecture-level cities. The results show the average BCI index (the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beauty Index) score to be 0.28, which is quite low, while the average scores for the individual element indexes of the ecological environment index, green development index, social harmony index, system perfection index and cultural heritage index are 0.6, 0.22, 0.29, 0.22 and 0.07, respectively. All of these are relatively low values, with relatively large discrepancies in regional development, indicating that progress in the BCI is generally slow and unbalanced. To realize the BCI’s timetable and roadmap to a high quality and high standard, it is suggested that a common system for evaluating the progress of the BCI is developed and promulgated so that dynamic monitoring and phased evaluations can take place; BCI technical assessment standards are compiled and published; BCI comprehensive zoning is undertaken; pilot projects adapted to local conditions are launched in BCI sample areas; and BCI results are incorporated into performance indicators at all levels of government.
The compilation of 1:250,000 vegetation type map in the North-South transitional zone and 1:50,000 vegetation type maps in typical mountainous areas is one of the main tasks of Integrated Scientific Investigation of the North-South Transitional Zone of China. In the past, vegetation type maps were compiled by a large number of ground field surveys. Although the field survey method is accurate, it is not only time-consuming, but also only covers a small area due to the limitations of physical environment conditions. Remote sensing data can make up for the limitation of field survey because of its full coverage. However, there are still some difficulties and bottlenecks in the extraction of remote sensing information of vegetation types, especially in the automatic extraction. As an example of the compilation of 1:50,000 vegetation type map, this paper explores and studies the remote sensing extraction and mapping methods of vegetation type with medium and large scales based on mountain altitudinal belts of Taibai Mountain, using multi-temporal high resolution remote sensing data, ground survey data, previous vegetation type map and forest survey data. The results show that: 1) mountain altitudinal belts can effectively support remote sensing classification and mapping of 1:50,000 vegetation type map in mountain areas. Terrain constraint factors with mountain altitudinal belt information can be generated by mountain altitudinal belts and 1:10,000 Digital Surface Model (DSM) data of Taibai Mountain. Combining the terrain constraint factors with multi-temporal and high-resolution remote sensing data, ground survey data and previous small-scale vegetation type map data, the vegetation types at all levels can be extracted effectively. 2) The basic remote sensing interpretation and mapping process for typical mountains is interpretation of vegetation type-groups→interpretation of vegetation formation groups, formations and subformations→interpretation and classification of vegetation types & subtypes, which is a combination method of top-down method and bottom-up method, not the top-down or the bottom-up classification according to the level of mapping units. The results of this study provide a demonstration and scientific basis for the compilation of large and medium scale vegetation type maps.
It is possible to obtain vast amounts of spatiotemporal data related to human activities to support the study of human behavior and social evolution. In this context, geography, with the human-nature relationship as its core, is undergoing a transition from strictly earth observations to the observation of human activities. Geocomputation for social science is one manifestation thereof. Geocomputation for social science is an interdisciplinary approach combining remote sensing techniques, social science, and big data computation. Driven by the availability of spatially and temporally expansive big data, geocomputation for social science uses spatiotemporal statistical analyses to detect and analyze the interactions between human behavior, the natural environment, and social activities; Remote sensing (RS) observations are used as primary data. Geocomputation for social science can be used to investigate major social issues and to assess the impact of major natural and societal events, and will surely be an area of focused development in geography in the near future. We briefly review the background of geocomputation in the social sciences, discuss its definition and disciplinary characteristics, and highlight the main research foci. Several key technologies and applications are also illustrated with relevant case studies of the Syrian Civil War, typhoon transits, and traffic patterns.
Extraction and analysis of the shoreline and land reclamation patterns are important for studies on topics such as the dynamics of coastal wetland ecological environments, transportation and exchange of material energy in coastal regions, and recruitment of fishery resources. Spatial-temporal variations in the shoreline and land reclamation in the Bohai Sea were analyzed based on 49 Landsat images of 7 periods from 1985 to 2015. The following conclusions were drawn. (1) The extracted shoreline data based on visual interpretation had high precision, and the shoreline extraction errors could be controlled within the theoretical range. (2) Over the past 30 years, the shoreline of the Bohai Sea has exhibited an average rate of change of 188.47 m/a and an average accretion distance of 3.55×10 3 m toward the sea. The fastest rate of shoreline change occurred in Laizhou Bay (134.78 m/a), followed by Bohai Bay (128.20 m/a) and Liaodong Bay (61.69 m/a). (3) The average rate of reclamation was 3.25×10 4 ha/a in the Bohai Sea, where the total area of aquaculture land, unused land, and salt land exceeded 60% of the total reclamation area. (4) The geometric shape of the bay became increasingly complicated from year to year, and the geometric center of gravity of the bay moved rapidly toward the sea. In addition, the area of the bay showed a significant decreasing trend. Therefore, to protect the function and structure of the ecosystem in coastal regions, we must control the scale and rate of land reclamation in the future.
As information technology has been applied more broadly and transportation infrastructure has improved, persistent debate has existed as to the question of whether geographic distance influences enterprise financing costs (EFCs). Through mining big data regarding industrial enterprises and commercial bank branches (CBBs) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, this paper conducts quantitative analysis of correlation between the EFCs and their distance to CBBs as well as the number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius, and investigates how geographic factors affect EFCs. The results indicate the following: (1) In overall terms, the shorter the distance to CBBs and the greater the number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius, the lower the EFCs. (2) Distance to CBBs and number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius significantly influence state-owned and non-state-owned enterprises, with the effect on non-state-owned enterprises being more pronounced. (3) The EFCs in Beijing and Tianjin are not correlated with distance to CBBs, and negatively correlated to the number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius; the EFCs in Hebei Province are positively correlated with distance to CBBs, and negatively correlated with the number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius. (4) Distance to CBBs has a more significant impact on enterprises engaged in heavy industry and labor-intensive industries, while there is not much difference between different industries in terms of how the number of CBBs within a 1-5 km radius affects them.
The Three Gorges Reservoir Area (TGRA) is typical of an ecologically vulnerable area, comprised of rural and mountainous areas, and with high immigration. Because of its economic and ecologic importance, studying the traditional agroecosystem changes in the TGRA is key to rural development and revitalization. In this study, we apply a framework of theoretical analysis, empirical study, and trend prediction to the Caotangxi River watershed within the TGRA. Using QuickBird high-resolution remote sensing images from 2012 to 2017 to evaluate natural resources and farmers’ behavior, we analyze the transition and trends in the traditional agroecosystem in mountainous areas of the TGRA at spatial scale of the man-land relationship. We find that the agroecosystem in the TGRA can be divided into four modes using 100 m interval buffer rings: high-low-low, high-low-high, low-high-low and low-low-high mode where the different modes represent the agricultural development stages in the TGRA. Furthermore, the traditional agroecosystem in TGRA, represented by system elements such as farmers and sloping farmland, is transforming to accommodate the diversification of farmer livelihoods. For example, sloping farmland, which was dominated by a production function, now has equal emphasis on ecological and economic functions. Spatially, the range of the agroecosystem transition has migrated beyond high mountain areas to flat valley areas. Generally, this study provides an overview of land use in rural areas, controls on soil and water loss in mountainous areas, and better rural living environments in the TGRA.
Knowledge of moisture sources is of great significance for understanding climatic change and landscape evolution in desert environments. In this paper, we aim to clarify moisture origins for the Alashan (Alxa) Sand Seas (ALSS) in western Inner Mongolia and their transport pathways during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the mid-Holocene using modern analogues and paleoclimatic simulations. Precipitation data for the period 1959-2015 from meteorological stations in the study area and wind and specific humidity data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) daily reanalysis were adopted to determine the moisture sources of summer precipitation in the ALSS. In addition paleoclimate simulations under PMIP3/CMIP5 protocols were used to detect the atmospheric circulation and precipitation at 21 ka BP and 6 ka BP over the ALSS. We also reviewed paleoclimate records from the ALSS to acquire a semi-quantitative reconstruction of the moisture history during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Our results suggest that the summer monsoon transported water vapor from the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea to the ALSS during July and August, causing increased precipitation. The dominant moisture source was from the southwest monsoon, while the East Asian summer monsoon also partly contributed to precipitation in the ALSS. The increased humidity during the period 8.2-4.2 ka BP in the ALSS, as derived from both climate simulation outputs and sedimentary records, was caused by monsoons according to the outputs of simulations. At 21 ka BP, the moisture sources of the ALSS were greatly associated with the prevailing westerlies.
Urbanization and eco-environment coupling is a research hotspot. Dynamic simulation of urbanization and eco-environment coupling needs to be improved because the processes of coupling are complex and statistical methods are limited. Systems science and cross-scale coupling allow us to define the coupled urbanization and eco-environment system as an open complex giant system with multiple feedback loops. We review the current state of dynamic simulation of urbanization and eco-environment coupling and find that: (1) The use of dynamic simulation is an increasing trend, the relevant theory is being developed, and modeling processes are being improved; (2) Dynamic simulation technology has become diversified, refined, intelligent and integrated; (3) Simulation is mainly performed for three aspects of the coupling, multiple regions and multiple elements, local coupling and telecoupling, and regional synergy. However, we also found some shortcomings: (1) Basic theories are inadequately developed and insufficiently integrated; (2) The methods of unifying systems and sharing data are behind the times; (3) Coupling relations and the dynamic characteristics of the main driving elements are not fully understood or completely identified. Additionally, simulation of telecoupling does not quantify parameters and is not systemically unified, and therefore cannot be used to represent spatial synergy. In the future, we must promote communication between research networks, technology integration and data sharing to identify the processes governing change in coupled relations and in the main driving elements in urban agglomerations. Finally, we must build decision support systems to plan and ensure regional sustainable urbanization.
With rapid development of air transportation, the airspace structure of the future will need to be flexible and dynamic to accommodate the increase in traffic demand. The corridors-in-the-sky has become a new technology to support the full exploitation and utilization of airspace resources. This paper proposes a method of designing corridor, identifying congestion state, and analyzing the influence of air routes’ traffic flow. From this, we have reached a number of conclusions. (1) The congestion periods present the multi-peak “wavy” scattered distributions and the peaks back-end agglomeration characteristics in the whole day. (2) The congestion segments present the structural characteristics of unbalanced coverage and concentrated distribution to the crossing points. The corridors with high congestion level present as an italic “N-shaped” frame, which presents incomplete penetration of short segments. (3) For the temporal and spatial interaction, there are two types of congestion segments, and there are some common congestion periods in different congestion segments of multiple corridors. The high-density air route plays a relatively decisive role in corridor congestion, and the influence of two directions is unbalanced. This research can provide a basis for the dynamic evaluation of China’s airspace resources and corridors construction in the future.