Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 23-43.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1932-y

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Sustainable poverty alleviation and green development in China’s underdeveloped areas

GUO Yuanzhi1(), LIU Yansui1,2()   

  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 100190, China
  • Received:2021-07-28 Accepted:2021-10-21 Online:2022-01-25 Published:2022-03-25
  • Contact: LIU Yansui;
  • About author:Guo Yuanzhi (1990-), PhD and Assistant Professor, specialized in urban-rural transformation and regional sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41931293);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42001203);Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23070300)


In 2020, the decisive victory of building a moderately well-off society in all aspects means that absolute poverty in rural China has been completely eliminated. Consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty alleviation and establishing a long-term mechanism to solve relative poverty have become key issues in high-quality development of underdeveloped areas. In this study, human-earth system is employed to analyze the element composition, structural organization and functional state of underdeveloped areas. The results show that poverty in underdeveloped areas stems from the lack of the coupling and coordinating mechanism among human, economic, resource and environmental elements, which is not conducive to transforming the ecological advantages into the advantages of regional development. In the antipoverty stage, underdeveloped areas innovate the human-earth coupling and coordinating mechanism through a series of targeted measures, promote the organic combination of poverty alleviation, ecological conservation and sustainable development, and boost the transformation of regional development and the increase of farmers’ incomes. Focusing on the 14th Five-year Plan (2021-2025) and the long-term goal of 2035, governments in underdeveloped areas should make full use of the policy support to explore scientific methods of modern governance and sustainable development. In particular, it is necessary to practice the concept that “clear waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets” and take the road of the ecologicalization of industry and the industrialization of ecology by establishing a policy system of “green land”, “green people”, “green industry” and “green right”, thus building an endogenous growth mechanism of sustainable poverty alleviation and green development in China’s underdeveloped areas.

Key words: sustainable poverty alleviation, green development, human-earth system, underdeveloped areas, high-quality development, ecological civilization