Table of Content

    20 April 2017, Volume 27 Issue 4 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Research Articles
    Status of land use intensity in China and its impacts on land carrying capacity
    Huimin YAN, Fang LIU, Jiyuan LIU, Xiangming XIAO, Yuanwei QIN
    2017, 27 (4):  387-402.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1383-7
    Abstract ( )   HTML ( )   PDF (1984KB) ( )   Save

    Land use intensity quantifies the impacts of human activities on natural ecosystems, which have become the major driver of global environmental change, and thus it serves as an essential measurement for assessing land use sustainability. To date, land-change studies have mainly focused on changes in land cover and their effects on ecological processes, whereas land use intensity has not yet received the attention it deserves and for which spatially-explicit representation studies have only just begun. In this paper, according to the degree and reversibility of surface disturbance by human activities, there are four main classes of land use intensity: artificial land, semi-artificial land, semi-natural land, and natural land. These were further divided into 22 subclasses based on key indicators, such as human population density and the cropping intensity. Land use intensity map of China at a 1-km spatial resolution was obtained based on satellite images and statistical data. The area proportions of artificial land, semi-artificial land, semi-natural land, and natural land were 0.71%, 19.36%, 58.93%, and 21%, respectively. Human and economic carrying capacity increased with the increase of land use intensity. Artificial land supports 24.58% and 35.62% of the total population and GDP, using only 0.71% of the total land, while semi-artificial land supported 58.24% and 49.61% of human population and GDP with 19.36% of China’s total land area.

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    Vertical distribution of snow cover and its relation
    to temperature over the Manasi River Basin of Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China
    Wenlong ZHENG, Jinkang DU, Xiaobing ZHOU, Mingming SONG, Guodong BIAN, Shunping XIE, Xuezhi FENG
    2017, 27 (4):  403-419.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1384-6
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    How snow cover changes in response to climate change at different elevations within a mountainous basin is a less investigated question. In this study we focused on the vertical distribution of snow cover and its relation to elevation and temperature within different elevation zones of distinct climatology, taking the mountainous Manasi River Basin of Xinjiang, Northwest China as a case study. Data sources include MODIS 8-day snow product, MODIS land surface temperature (LST) data from 2001 to 2014, and in situ temperature data observed at three hydrological stations from 2001 to 2012. The results show that: (1) the vertical distribution of snow areal extent (SAE) is sensitive to elevation in low (<2100 m) and high altitude (>3200 m) regions and shows four different seasonal patterns, each pattern is well correspondent to the variation of temperature. (2) The correlation between vertical changes of the SAE and temperature is significant in all seasons except for winter. (3) The correlation between annual changes of the SAE and temperature decreases with increasing elevation, the negative correlation is significant in area below 4000 m. (4) The snow cover days (SCDs) and its long-term change show visible differences in different altitude range. (5) The long-term increasing trend of SCDs and decreasing trend of winter temperature have a strong vertical relation with elevation below 3600 m. The decreasing trend of SCDs is attributed to the increasing trend of summer temperature in the area above 3600 m.

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    Assessing the progress of desertification of the southern edge of Chihuahuan Desert:A case study of San Luis Potosi Plateau
    Cristina NOYOLA-MEDRANO, Valeria Abigaíl MARTÍNEZ-SÍAS
    2017, 27 (4):  420-438.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1385-5
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    The aim of this study is to establish if the San Luis Potosi Plateau (SLPP), which is part of the southern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, is generating desertification processes, indicating a progression of the desert toward the central part of Mexico. Therefore, we analyzed the temporal evolution of four environmental indicators of desertification: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Iron Oxides Index (IO) and Surface Temperature (ST). Landsat TM images are used to cover a period from 1990 to 2011. A new equation of total balance is proposed to generate an image of the overall evolution of each factor which is applied to get a probability map of desertification. The evolution of NDVI, NDWI and IO shows a behavior almost stable over the time. In contrast, the ST shows a slight increase. The outcomes of this study confirm periods of vegetation re-greening and 8.80% of the SLPP has the highest probability to develop desertification. The most affected area is the portion west of the region, and the east and south are the least affected areas. The results suggest a slight advance of the desert, although most of the area doesn’t have the necessary conditions to develop desertification.

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    Comparative evaluation of geological disaster susceptibility using multi-regression methods and spatial accuracy validation
    Weiguo JIANG, Pingzeng RAO, Ran CAO, Zhenghong TANG, Kun CHEN
    2017, 27 (4):  439-462.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1386-4
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    Geological disasters not only cause economic losses and ecological destruction, but also seriously threaten human survival. Selecting an appropriate method to evaluate susceptibility to geological disasters is an important part of geological disaster research. The aims of this study are to explore the accuracy and reliability of multi-regression methods for geological disaster susceptibility evaluation, including Logistic Regression (LR), Spatial Autoregression (SAR), Geographical Weighted Regression (GWR), and Support Vector Regression (SVR), all of which have been widely discussed in the literature. In this study, we selected Yunnan Province of China as the research site and collected data on typical geological disaster events and the associated hazards that occurred within the study area to construct a corresponding index system for geological disaster assessment. Four methods were used to model and evaluate geological disaster susceptibility. The predictive capabilities of the methods were verified using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and the success rate curve. Lastly, spatial accuracy validation was introduced to improve the results of the evaluation, which was demonstrated by the spatial receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve and the spatial success rate (SSR) curve. The results suggest that: 1) these methods are all valid with respect to the SROC and SSR curves, and the spatial accuracy validation method improved their modelling results and accuracy, such that the area under the curve (AUC) values of the ROC curves increased by about 3%-13% and the AUC of the success rate curve values increased by 15%-20%; 2) the evaluation accuracies of LR, SAR, GWR, and SVR were 0.8325, 0.8393, 0.8370 and 0.8539, which proved the four statistical regression methods all have good evaluation capability for geological disaster susceptibility evaluation and the evaluation results of SVR are more reasonable than others; 3) according to the evaluation results of SVR, the central-southern Yunnan Province are the highest susceptibility areas and the lowest susceptibility is mainly located in the central and northern parts of the study area.

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    Mechanisms of suspended sediment restoration and bed level compensation in downstream reaches of the Three Gorges Projects (TGP)
    Wei ZHANG, Yunping YANG, Mingjin ZHANG, Yitian LI, Lingling ZHU, Xingying YOU, Dong WANG, Junfeng XU
    2017, 27 (4):  463-480.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1387-3
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    River basin reservoir construction affects water and sediment transport processes in downstream reaches. The downstream impact of the Three Gorges Projects (TGP) has started to become apparent: (1) reduction in flood duration and discharge, and significant reduction in sediment load. Although there was some restoration in downstream sediment load, the total amount did not exceed the pre-impoundment annual average; (2) in 2003-2014, the d > 0.125 mm (coarse sand) load was restored to some degree, and to a maximum at Jianli Station, which was mainly at the pre-impoundment average. After restoration, erosion and deposition characteristics of the sediment was identical to that before impoundment. The degree of restoration during 2008-2014 was less than during 2003-2007; (3) after TGP impoundment, there was some restoration in d < 0.125 mm (fine sand) sediment load, however, it was lower than the pre-impoundment average; (4) due to riverbed compensation, the d > 0.125 mm sediment load recovered to a certain degree after impoundment, however, the total did not exceed 4400×104 t/y. This was mainly limited by flood duration and the average flow rate, and was less affected by upstream main stream, tributaries, or lakes. Restoration of d < 0.125 mm suspended sediment was largely controlled by upstream main stream, tributaries, and lakes, as well as by riverbed compensation. Due to bed armoring, riverbed fine suspended sediment compensation capability was weakened; (5) during 2003-2007 and 2008-2014, Yichang to Zhicheng and upper Jingjiang experienced coarse and fine erosion, lower Jingjiang experienced coarse deposition and fine erosion, Hankou to Datong had coarse deposition and fine erosion, and Chenglingji and Hankou was characterized by coarse deposition and fine sand erosion in 2003-2007, and coarse and fine erosion in 2008-2014. This difference was controlled by flood duration and number at Luoshan Station.

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    Influence of climate variability and human activities on stream flow variation in the past 50 years in Taoer River, Northeast China
    Kai ZHANG, Lijuan LI, Peng BAI, Jiuyi LI, Yumei LIU
    2017, 27 (4):  481-496.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1388-2
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    Taoer River Basin, which is located in the west of Northeast China, is an agro- pastoral ecotone. In recent years, the hydrological cycle and water resources have changed significantly with the deterioration of the environment. Many water problems such as river blanking, wetland shrinking and salinization have occurred in this region. All of these phenomena were directly caused by changes in stream flow under climate variability and human activities. In light of the situation, the impact of climate variability and human activities on stream flow should be identified immediately to identify the primary driving factors of basin hydrological processes. To achieve this, statistical tests were applied to identify trends in variation and catastrophe points in mean annual stream flow from 1961 to 2011. A runoff sensitive coefficients method and a SIMHYD model were applied to assess the impacts of stream flow variation. The following conclusions were found: 1) The years 1985 and 2000 were confirmed to be catastrophe points in the stream flow series. Thus, the study period could be divided into three periods, from 1961 to 1985 (Period I), 1986 to 2000 (Period II) and 2001 to 2011 (Period III). 2) Mean annual observed stream flow was 31.54 mm in Period I, then increased to 65.60 mm in Period II and decreased to 2.92 mm in Period III. 3) Using runoff sensitive coefficients, the contribution of climate variability was 41.93% and 43.14% of the increase in stream flow during Periods II and III, suggesting that the contribution of human activities to the increase was 58.07% and 56.86%, respectively. 4) Climate variability accounted for 42.57% and 44.30% of the decrease in stream flow, while human activities accounted for 57.43% and 55.70% of the decrease, according to the SIMHYD model. 5) In comparison of these two methods, the primary driving factors of stream flow variation could be considered to be human activities, which contributed about 15% more than climate variability. It is hoped that these conclusions will benefit future regional planning and sustainable development.

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    Review Article
    Progress in international geopolitical research from 1996 to 2015
    Tao SONG, Dadao LU, Yi LIANG, Qian WANG, Jing LIN
    2017, 27 (4):  497-512.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1389-1
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    Focusing on international relations from the perspective of geography, geopolitics exerts powerful influences on the course of economic and political development in the world. In the tide of globalization and information technology, geopolitics has become an important subject for global pattern interpretation and policy making. It is essentially important to have a scientific and systematic review on international geopolitics to promote its development. Based on the bibliometric statistics, the paper reviews the research development of geopolitics on the Web of Science from 1996 to 2015. The history, journals, papers and key research areas of geopolitics have been revealed in the paper. By the analysis of bibliometric statistics, the number of papers recently published in the journals of political geography and related geography journals continues to increase. The key areas of geopolitical papers which are globally highly cited include geopolitical interpretation of the countries and borders, critical geopolitics, emotional geopolitics, feminist geopolitics and other topics. Before the year of 2000, the state and borders were hot topics of the geopolitical research. Yet since 2000, it has been the trend that the geopolitics is increasingly set in the context of geographical implications. At the same time, critical geopolitics appears to be the main area of geopolitical research, especially transitioning from traditional geopolitics towards the humanism-embeddedness (such as emotional geopolitics, feminist geopolitics). The paper then systematically reviews the branch trends of geopolitical research, including the borders and the territory, global geo-culture and geo-economics, Chinese models of geopolitics, resource conflicts and ecological politics, as well as emotional geopolitics. Finally, it puts forward the implication that Chinese geopolitical studies should reinforce the importance of geographical space and scale, use the process of description and multiple methods, as well as integrate humanistic thoughts, in order to further enrich the theories and practices of geopolitical research.

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