Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 423-438.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1735-6

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Holocene hydro-environmental evolution and its impacts on human occupation in Jianghan-Dongting Basin, middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China

ZHAO Chengshuangping1, MO Duowen1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Laboratory for Earth Surface Process, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Institute of Geographical Sciences, Henan Academy of Sciences, Zhengzhou 450052, China
  • Received:2019-10-27 Accepted:2019-12-10 Online:2020-03-25 Published:2020-05-25
  • Contact: MO Duowen
  • About author:Zhao Chengshuangping (1991-), PhD Candidate, specialized in environmental evolution and geoarchae-ology. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The Major Program of the National Social Science Foundation of China(No.11&ZD183);Foundation for Distinguished Professors of Henan Province;Zhengzhou Research Council for the Origins of Chinese Civilization;National Key Project of Scientific and Technical Supporting Program of China(No.2013BAK08B02);National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41701220)


Based on the comprehensive analyses of 18 core profiles’ sedimentary sequences and lithological characteristics in Jianghan-Dongting Basin of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the spatial-temporal distribution of archeological sites in this area, we reconstructed the Holocene hydro-environmental evolution, and its relationship with human occupation. The comparison reveals: 11.5-5.5 ka BP, the water level of rivers and lakes in the middle Yangtze River appeared a rising trend, concurrently, under the development of Neolithic culture and rice agricultural activities, human occupation extended from piedmont plain to inner basin plain in the study area. The water level fell in 5.5-4.0 ka BP, meanwhile, the number of human settlements of Qujialing-Shijiahe culture rapidly increased, especially in the inner basin plain. The water level rose again around 4.0 ka BP, floods spread massively in this period, which led to the decline of Shijiahe culture. The main causes for hydro-environmental evolution in the study area are the fluctuation of sea level and the aggradation of fluvio-lacustrine sediments.

Key words: Jianghan-Dongting Basin, Holocene, hydrological environmental change, human-environment interaction