Mega-urban agglomerations are strategic core areas for national economic development and the main regions of new urbanization. They also have important roles in shifting the global economic center of gravity to China. However, the development of mega-urban agglomerations has triggered the interactive coercion between resources and the eco-environment. The interactive coupled effects between urbanization and the eco-environment in mega-urban agglomerations represent frontier and high-priority research topics in the field of Earth system science over the next decade. In this paper, we carried out systematic theoretical analysis of the interactive coupling mechanisms and coercing effects between urbanization and the eco-environment in mega-urban agglomerations. In detail, we analyzed the nonlinear-coupled relationships and the coupling characteristics between natural and human elements in mega-urban agglomerations. We also investigated the interactive coercion intensities between internal and external elements, and the mechanisms and patterns of local couplings and telecouplings in mega-urban agglomeration systems, which are affected by key internal and external control elements. In addition, we proposed the interactive coupling theory on urbanization and the eco-environment in mega-urban agglomerations. Furthermore, we established a spatiotemporal dynamic coupling model with multi-element, multi-scale, multi-scenario, multi-module and multi-agent integrations, which can be used to develop an intelligent decision support system for sustainable development of mega-urban agglomerations. In general, our research may provide theoretical guidance and method support to solve problems related to mega-urban agglomerations and maintain their sustainable development.
Due to the limitation of total amount of water resources, it is necessary to enhance water consumption efficiency to meet the increasing water demand of urbanizing China. Based on the panel data of 31 provinces in China in 1997-2013, we analyze the influencing factors of water consumption efficiency by spatial econometric models. Results show that, 1) Due to the notable spatial autocorrelation characteristics of water consumption efficiency among different provinces in China, general panel data regression model which previous studies often used may be improper to reveal its influencing factors. However, spatial Durbin model may best estimate their relationship. 2) Water consumption efficiency of a certain province may be influenced not only by its socio-economic and eco-environmental indicators, but also by water consumption efficiency in its neighboring provinces. Moreover, it may be influenced by the neighboring provinces’ socio-economic and eco-environmental indicators. 3) For the macro average case of the 31 provinces in China, if water consumption efficiency in neighboring provinces increased 1%, water consumption efficiency of the local province would increase 0.34%. 4) Among the ten specific indicators we selected, per capita GDP and urbanization level of itself and its neighboring provinces have the most prominent positive effects on water consumption efficiency, and the indirect effects of neighboring provinces are much larger. Therefore, the spatial spillover effects of the economic development level and urbanization level are the primary influencing factors for improving China’s water consumption efficiency. 5) Policy implications indicate that, to improve water consumption efficiency, each province should properly consider potential influences caused by its neighboring provinces, especially needs to enhance the economic cooperation and urbanization interaction with neighboring provinces.
Border areas are both important territorial security barriers and portals to the outside world. Considering the complicated geopolitical environment of China’s inland borders, analysis of the current status and mechanisms of influence of geo-economy in border areas is of great significance. Namely, this analysis is important towards leveraging traditional advantages to accelerate China’s development in border and minority areas. Based on a comprehensive analysis, our study constructed a framework to analyze the geo-economy in border areas, and also introduced three indexes: local economy, export-oriented economy and local development. In addition, our study systematically described geo-economic evolution in the border areas of China. We also analyzed the mechanism of geo-economic spatial differentiation in these border areas by using geographical detectors. Our results indicated that the level of geo-economic influence in border areas has grown steadily with significant spatial differentiation. The absolute geo-economic dominance of Northeast China gradually declines over time. Areas with geo-economic advantages are highly dispersed, showing a spatial polarization pattern with several polar nuclei including Mudanjiang city (Northeast China), Baotou city (Inner Mongolia), Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture (Xinjiang), Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture and the city of Chongzuo (Yunnan-Guangxi area). Geo-economics in border area is mainly influenced by national policies, the development level of neighboring countries, as well as the desire of these countries to cooperate with China in bilateral trade. Favorable policies, traffic, cultural proximity and other factors also impact the geo-economics of border areas significantly. The Inner Mongolia and Tibet areas are mainly influenced by neighboring countries, while Northeast China and Xinjiang are mainly affected by Chinese policies; the Yunnan-Guangxi area is influenced by a combination of these factors. At the end of the study, we provide our recommendations for developing policies that further geo-economic advantages in complex geopolitical environments and in areas with varied development.
Frequent extreme weather events like drought, etc. in the context of climate change present huge challenges to agricultural production. To find out if farmers have taken measures against them and identify governments’ impact on their response measures are the foundation of and key to further improving relevant policies and farmers’ responsiveness. Taking the North China Plain as an example, the study analyzes farmers’ responses to frequent climate change-induced drought, and assesses the impacts of governments’ early- warning, policy support and other factors on farmers’ responses based on questionnaire survey data and an econometric approach. The results show that: (1) Farmers are responsive to drought, and they are more likely to take measures as the degree of drought deepening. (2) Governments’ regulation affects farmers’ responses, although only part of its regulation measures has remarkable effects. Governments’ early-warning messages can increase the possibility of farmers’ responding to drought, however, only when they get the early-warning in all the processes including before, during, and after disasters can the effects be significant. Currently, as the primary channel through which early-warning information is released, television cannot change farmers’ behaviors significantly. Early-warning is most effective when spread via two or more types of channels. In addition, governments’ (especially town and village level institutions’) policy support has certain impacts on farmers’ responses to drought, yet with less prominent effects in disaster years than in normal years; to provide subsidies, as a regulation measure, can encourage farmers’ initiative a lot in adopting response measures, but most of the farmers haven’t got support from any institutions. Both the structure and strength of government regulation need to be improved. (3) Farmers with different conditions respond differently. Farmer households in irrigation areas, those whose farmland is lower fragmented, and those with numerous agricultural family members tend to take response measures. The study can provide scientific reference to the making of relevant regulation policies under the background of acidifications.
The excessive expansion of urbanized areas has resulted in haphazard land utilization, immoderate consumption of superior agricultural land and water resources, significant fragmentation of agricultural landscape, and gradual deterioration of the agro-ecological environment. Combined, these factors cause poor land use efficiency. Under these circumstances, comprehensively assessing land use efficiency for urban agriculture is a key issue in land use research. Currently, evaluation methods for agricultural land use efficiency narrowly concentrate on aspects of economic input and output. However, urban agro-ecosystems can provide diverse economic, social, and ecological services and functions. In particular, the social and ecological services and functions originating from agricultural land, which have a higher value than economic services, play a significant role in ensuring regional social, ecological, and environmental security. However, recent research has rarely taken these benefits into consideration. Therefore, land use value has been greatly underestimated, which has resulted in mishandled and poor land use policies. In this study, we apply Landsat imagery and social and economic statistical data for the Xi’an metropolitan zone (XMZ) to investigate agricultural multi-functionality. We develop an evaluation framework for urban agricultural land use efficiency and identify agro-ecosystem services and functions as important outputs from agricultural land. The land use efficiency of urban agriculture is then evaluated using ecosystem services models, providing a mechanism for assessing spatial-temporal changes in land use efficiency in the XMZ from 1999 to 2015. Four important conclusions are reached from this analysis. First, the rapid urbanization and agricultural transformation from traditional cereal cultivation to modern urban agriculture has resulted in steadily increasing costs, outputs, and land use efficiency of urban agriculture. The total output value increased 41% and land use efficiency per hectare increased by 33.13% on average. Second, the spatial patterns of comprehensive output and land use efficiency were dominated by economic outputs from agricultural land. Areas near cities, which are dominated by orchard and arable land, provide more economic functions. These areas support and regulate services due to the transformation from extensive cereal production to intensive modern urban agriculture; therefore, they have higher output value and land use efficiency. In contrast, areas distant from cities, towns, and high traffic roads, namely, remote rural areas, provide more support and regulating services, but have relatively lower economic function due to inaccessibility to urban markets and slow agricultural transformation. Therefore, these areas have lower output value and land use efficiency. The spatial change in agricultural output and land use efficiency in urban areas is strongly dependent on the degree of urbanization and agricultural transformation. Third, the total output value and land use efficiency of urban agriculture measured with our approach are much higher than evaluations using traditional methods. However, the spatial patterns measured using the two approaches are in agreement. The evaluation framework integrates ecological services and economic and social functions into a comprehensive output from agricultural land. This approach is more methodical and accurate for evaluating the comprehensive efficiency of land use based on quantities and spatial scale because they are at the pixel scale. Finally, the evaluation results have important implications for enhancing current agricultural subsidies and even implementing ecological payment policies in China. Most importantly, they can be directly applied to agricultural transformation regulations, decision-making, and guidance for rational land utilization.
Ancient Chinese cartography dates back to the Western Jin Dynasty in the third century. Cartography was initiated during this period by Pei Xiu, a minister and cartographic expert, who suggested six principles of cartography. Pei Xiu, who is known as the father of Chinese cartography, oversaw the completion of the “Yu Gong Regional Maps”, along with 18 articles and the “Terrain Fangzhang Map” (AD 224-271). This led to a number of subsequent cartographic initiatives including the “Wooden Fangzhang Map” (an administrative map) which was completed by Xie Zhuang, a minister during the Southern Dynasties (AD 502-557), “Haineihuayi Tu” (Map of China and its neighbouring countries) (AD 730-805), drawn by Jia Dan, a cartographer of the Tang Dynasty, and “Shouling Tu” (an administrative map, AD 1031-1095), drawn by Shen Kuo, a scientist during the Northern Song Dynasty. Throughout the 16th century, ancient Chinese cartography developed continuously and cumulatively, and formed the specific characteristics of China ancient cartography. Although Western latitude-based and longitude-based mapping techniques introduced to China in AD 1460, the theories and methods of Chinese and Western mapping systems co-existed for over 400 years. The cultural heritage of Chinese cartography can be seen in many famous ancient Chinese maps, including astronomical figures and atlases (world, Chinese, regional, military, water conservancy, historical, and educational maps), charts, and maps of scenic spots. These have hitherto been kept in well-known archives and institutions across the world. They form an important part of the global cultural heritage of ancient maps and cartography. Given their high cultural value, these maps remain an important point of study. This paper provides a preliminary discussion on the rarity, application, and the historical, scientific, and artistic value of ancient Chinese maps.
Contemporary science philosophy suggests that discussing ontological problems is of fundamental significance broadly within certain specific disciplines. Natural and social science research are inseparable from philosophical guidance; for instance, the philosophy of geography is the ideological basis for geography. The traditional philosophy of geography is methodology- oriented, which primarily emphasizes the “logical structure of geography explanations,” and ignores the discussion of its ontology. This study, in the context of the philosophy of science, explores the relationships between methodology, ontology, and the philosophy of geography, defines the connotations of geographical ontology, analyzes the links and differences between philosophical ontology and scientific ontology of geography, clarifies the nature of geographical ontology, and summaries its theoretical values. The ontology of geography incorporates the philosophically ontological beliefs of geographers and geographical schools and the ontological commitment of the theory of geography. As different geographers hold different philosophical viewpoints, their ontological beliefs are different; one geographical theory asserts an ontological commitment of “what is there,” which determines the nature and types of objectives the theory references. The ontological beliefs of geographers determine their epistemology, methodology, and axiology, and the ontological commitment of a geographical theory is the premise and basis of that theory.
The “High-Level Forum of the Development of China’s Human Geography Under the Background of Change” was held in Beijing on January 22-23, 2016. More than 30 professors attended this forum. At this conference, they discussed the major progress made towards developing China’s human geography, as well as the existing problems, limiting factors, opportunities, international collaborations, emerging directions, and prospects in the development of this discipline. In recent years human geography has boomed, generating many important opportunities for its development. Establishing an academic community for joint research on major research issues and collaborative innovation is a promising and important route to take. We should embrace both domestic and international characteristics, to promote China’s human geography onto the world stage. Meanwhile, the cultivation of various scholarly talents is also of great value to enrich and advance the discipline.
Ecohydrology, aiming to study the interactions between terrestrial ecological systems and hydrological cycles as well as their impacts on water management, has been an emerging interdisciplinary research field since the 20th century. It hosts both natural and human regulated processes that are potentially coupled in complex ways. Understanding the ecological-hydrological processes, the fundamental mechanisms and the connections between them is critical since these processes are not isolated but integrated to impact basin-scale hydrological and biogeochemical functioning of a larger river system, especially in arid environment where water resources are considered to be the source of life. Thus, research on ecological-hydrological processes in arid environment is not only a scientific focus area but also important to sustainable development. Research projects and initiatives involved in observation, measurement, modeling and data assimilation have been well-developed for those purposes over the past 20 years. This review summarizes the historical development of ecohydrology science in China and the state-of-the-art tools available in the research framework. Five grand scientific challenges are listed as prospects and exciting opportunities for the scientific community. To advance the current ecological-hydrological processes research, scientists from multidisciplinary backgrounds (such as geography, geology, geomorphology, hydrology, geochemistry and ecology), need to unite to tackle the many open problems in new dimensions.