Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 298-324.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1838-8

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Interaction between urbanization and eco-environment in the Tibetan Plateau

FENG Yuxue1,2(), LI Guangdong1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-09-01 Accepted:2020-11-10 Online:2021-02-25 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: LI Guangdong;
  • About author:Feng Yuxue (1996-), Master, specialized in coupling relationship between urbanization and eco-environment.
  • Supported by:
    The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP)(2019QZKK1005);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971207)


A scientific evaluation of the broad reciprocal influences between urbanization and the eco-environment in the Tibetan Plateau region is of great significance for increasing the speed and quality of urbanization as well as restoring and improving the eco-environment. Based on a thorough look at the progress made by research on interactions between urbanization and the eco-environment in the Tibetan Plateau region, this article attempts to construct a complete analytical model of the reciprocal influences that can achieve the whole process of analyzing evaluation indexes, quantifying coupling coordination, identifying coupling types, exploring decoupling paths, and predicting future trends. Using multi-scale analysis of the Tibetan Plateau and its provinces and prefecture-level units as a means of comparison, we attempt to clarify differences at different scales, identify problem areas and propose targeted improvement measures. The result shows that the urbanization evaluation indexes for the Tibetan Plateau at different scales rise in stages and that the urbanization index for Qinghai is higher than for Tibet; the changes in the eco-environment index of the two regions are also different, with a downward trend in Qinghai and a trend toward stability in Tibet, and with stratification in the eco-environment indexes of prefecture-level units; the degree of coupling coordination between urbanization and the eco-environment at different scales in the Tibetan Plateau region is increasing overall, with the type of coordination changing from uncoordinated deterioration to borderline uncoordinated deterioration, and ultimately changing into scarcely coordinated development, which basically puts the region into the logging urbanization category; and the urbanization and eco-environment indexes display a dynamic trend of alternating between strong decoupling and weak decoupling, indicating that there is a negative reciprocal influence between urbanization and eco-environment at different scales and that the phenomenon of passive urbanization is prominent. We predict that in the next 10 years, the system coupling coordination of prefecture-level units in the Tibetan Plateau region will steadily increase, but there will be significant discrepancies in the growth rates of different regions.

Key words: urbanization, eco-environment, coupling coordination degree, decoupling, prediction, Tibetan Plateau