Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (2): 329-345.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0930-5

• Ecological Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of ecological sensitivity in Karamay, Xinjiang, China

PAN Feng1,2,3, TIAN Changyan1, SHAO Feng4, ZHOU Wei3, CHEN Fei3   

  1. 1. Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Xinjiang Consultation Center of Environmental Protection Technology, Urumqi 830011, China;
    4. Xinjiang Department of Environmental Protection, Urumqi 830063, China
  • Received:2011-11-02 Revised:2011-11-25 Online:2012-04-15 Published:2012-04-15
  • Contact: Tian Changyan, Professor, E-mail:
  • About author:Pan Feng (1975-), Ph.D Candidate and Senior Engineer, specialized in eco-environmental evaluation. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    The special fund for Public Welfare Industrial Research of China, No.200903001; Special funds for central government support, No.2110203


Karamay City is a typical mining city, relying on oilfield exploration and development. After 60 years of construction and development, Karamay has become the first large oilfield and an important base of the national petroleum and petrochemical industry in China. Based on spatial analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) grid computing and overlay techniques, whilst considering the effect of oilfield development and aimed at the ecological problems of Karamay City in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, we conducted research on the spatial characteristics of the comprehensive ecological sensitivity of Karamay. The ecological problems of natural environment evolution include soil erosion, land desertification, soil salinization, and biodiversity reduction. The most significant disturbance factor from the activities of humans in this area is oilfield exploitation. This study carries out an analysis of single factor ecological problem sensitivity and integrated ecological sensitivity. The results of the research are as follows: (1) Soil erosion is relatively sensitive, especially in Karamay district, Dushanzi district, north of Urho district and west of Baijiantan district, which is mainly a result of the vertical dropping slopes, serious rainfall erosion and the distribution of scattered woodland. (2) The main types of land desertification are represented by high and moderate grade sensitivities, and high and extremely high sensitive areas are distributed in the intersection of Karamay and Baijiantan districts. This is due to evaporation exceeding rainfall in these areas, and the soil mainly consists of sand and is seldom covered by vegetation. (3) The soil salinizatiion sensitivity grades are mainly moderate, high and extremely high. The highly sensitive areas are mainly distributed in southeast of Baijiantan district, north and east of Karamay district and east of Urho district. The primary causes are evaporation exceeding rainfall and extreme human activities. (4) The main types of biodiversity sensitivity are light and moderate grade. Highly sensitive areas are located in the east and south of Karamay district, north of the Baiyang River basin and parts of the wetland areas. (5) Oil fields development areas are highly ecologically sensitive, which are located in the northern oilfields of Urho district, western oilfields of Baijiantan district, northwestern oilfields of Karamay district and central oilfields of Dushanzi district. (6) The main types of integrated ecological sensitivity are high and moderate. The high and extremely highly sensitive areas are located in the central and northern parts of Karamay district, and southwest of Baijiantan district. The evaluation results will provide guidance for the future planning and development, the protection of the ecological environment and the realization of harmonious social, economic, and ecological development in Karamay City.

Key words: Geographic Information System (GIS), ecological sensitivity, oilfield development, Karamay City, Xinjiang