Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (6): 859-877.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1875-3

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Adaptive evolution of the rural human-environment system in farming and pastoral areas of northern China from 1952-2017

LI Wenlong1,2(), KUANG Wenhui1, LYU Jun2, ZHAO Zhonghua3, ZHANG Boyuan2,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Beijing 100101, China
    2. School of Resources and Environmental Economics, Inner Mongolia University of Finance and Economics, Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Economic Data Analysis and Mining, Hohhot 010070, China
    3. Tourism School, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
  • Received:2021-01-20 Accepted:2021-03-28 Published:2021-08-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Boyuan E-mail:nmgliwenlong@126.com;zhangby0604@163
  • About author:Li Wenlong, PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in social and ecological sustainable development in farming and pastoral areas. E-mail: nmgliwenlong@126.com
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation of China(18AZD021);National Social Science Foundation of China(17CGL024);Major Project of the Ministry of Education of China(19JZD014);Major Science and Technology Projects in Inner Mongolia(ZDZX2018058)

Abstract:

The theory on the cyclic adaptation between society and ecosystems sheds new light on the evolution and internal structure of human-environment systems. This paper introduces the risk index (RI) and adaptation capacity index (ACI) to evaluate the rural human-environment system. An evaluation index system for the adaptability of rural human-environment systems is configured in the context of climate change and policy implementation. On this basis, the stages, features, dominant control factors, and evolution mechanism were examined vis-à-vis the adaptability of the rural human-environment system in Darhan Muminggan Joint Banner from 1952 to 2017. The main results are as follows: (1) The evolution of the rural human-environment system can be divided into three stages, namely, the reorganization and rapid development stage (1952-2002) with population, cultivated land, livestock and degraded grassland increasing by 260%, 13%, 134% and 16.33%, respectively. The rapid to stable development stage (2003-2010) with population increasing by 2.8%; cultivated land, livestock and degraded grassland decreasing by 2.3%, 13.6% and 10.7%, respectively. The stable to release stage (2011-2017) with population, cultivated land, livestock and degraded grassland decreasing by 2.6%, 0.2%, 10.6% and 3.8%, respectively. (2) With the passage of time, the ACI of the rural human-environment system first increased slightly (-0.016-0.031), followed by a slight decline (0.031-0.003), and culminating in a rapid increase (0.003-0.088). In terms of spatial patterns, adaptability is high in the middle, moderate in the north, and low in the south. (3) The evolution of adaptability in the rural human-environment system was mainly controlled by the per capita effective irrigation area (22.31%) and the per capita number of livestock (23.47%) from 1990 to 2000, the desertified area (25.06%) and the land use intensity (21.27%) from 2000 to 2005, and the per capita income of farmers and herdsmen (20.08%) and the per capita number of livestock (18.52%) from 2010 to 2007. (4) Under the effects of climate change and policy interventions, the cyclic adaptation of the rural human-environment system was propelled by the interactions between two kinds of subjects: farmers and herdsmen on the one hand and rural communities on the other hand. The interaction affects the adaptive behavior of the two kinds of subjects, which in turn drives the cyclic evolution of the system. As a result, the system structure and functions developed alternatively between coordinated and uncoordinated states. Small-scale adaptive behaviors of farmers and herdsmen have a profound impact on the evolution of the rural human-environment system.

Key words: rural human-environment system, adaptability, evolution mechanism, farming and pastoral areas