Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2009, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (4): 437-446.

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Natural environment suitability for human settlements in China based on GIS

BIAN Zhi-Meng, YANG Yan-Zhao, ZHANG Dan, TANG Yan   

  • Online:2009-09-20 Published:2009-10-20
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China,No.40771204;No.40801223;; National Key Technology R&D Program,No.2006BAC18B01


With the degeneration of environment and acceleration of urbanization,human environment has attracted great attention worldwide.This paper sets up the Human Settlements Environment Index(HEI) model and evaluates the natural environment suitability for Human Settlements in China based on GIS technology.The results show that the HEI of China decreases from southeast to northwest in general,HEI is significantly correlated with population density at grid size and the correlation coefficient(r) between them reaches 0.93,which indicates that natural environment suitability for Human Settlements has a significant influence on population distribution.Most people in China mainly concentrate in areas with high natural environment suitability.The total suitable area is 430.47×104 km2,which accounts for nearly 45% of the total land area in China,while the proportion of people living in the area reaches 96.56%.With a population density of 18 people per square kilometer,the critical area is the transitional region for people to live in China.The critical area covers 225.11×104 km2 with a population of 41.12 million.The non-suitable area covers 304.42×104 km2 with a population of only 2.49 million.

Key words: GIS, China, Human Settlements, Human Settlements Environment Index, natural environment suitability