Table of Content

    25 January 2021, Volume 31 Issue 1 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Review Article
    Progress and prospects of applied research on physical geography and the living environment in China over the past 70 years (1949-2019)
    CHEN Fahu, WU Shaohong, CUI Peng, CAI Yunlong, ZHANG Yili, YIN Yunhe, LIU Guobin, OUYANG Zhu, MA Wei, YANG Linsheng, WU Duo, LEI Jiaqiang, ZHANG Guoyou, ZOU Xueyong, CHEN Xiaoqing, TAN Minghong, WANG Xunming, BAO Anming, CHENG Weixin, DANG Xiaohu, WEI Binggan, WANG Guoliang, WANG Wuyi, ZHANG Xingquan, LIU Xiaochen, LI Shengyu
    2021, 31 (1):  3-45.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1831-2
    Abstract ( )   HTML ( )   PDF (6049KB) ( )   Save

    Physical geography is a basic research subject of natural sciences. Its research object is the natural environment which is closely related to human living and development, and China’s natural environment is complex and diverse. According to national needs and regional development, physical geographers have achieved remarkable achievements in applied basis and applied research, which also has substantially contributed to the planning of national economic growth and social development, the protection of macro ecosystems and resources, and sustainable regional development. This study summarized the practice and application of physical geography in China over the past 70 years in the following fields: regional differences in natural environments and physical regionalization; land use and land cover changes; natural hazards and risk reduction; process and prevention of desertification; upgrading of medium- and low-yield fields in the Huang-Huai-Hai region; engineering construction in permafrost areas; geochemical element anomalies and the prevention and control of endemic diseases; positioning and observation of physical geographical elements; and identification of geospatial differentiation and geographical detectors. Furthermore, we have proposed the future direction of applied research in the field of physical geography.

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    Research Articles
    Spatiotemporal changes of land desertification sensitivity in northwest China from 2000 to 2017
    WEI Wei, GUO Zecheng, SHI Peiji, ZHOU Liang, WANG Xufeng, LI Zhenya, PANG Sufei, XIE Binbin
    2021, 31 (1):  46-68.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1832-1
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    Sensitivity assessment is useful for monitoring land desertification. Research into how to prevent and control desertification is also important. In the arid region of northwest China, desertification is becoming worse and is a serious problem that affects local sustainable development. Based on remote-sensing and geographic information system technology, this study establishes a “soil-terrain-hydrology-climate-vegetation” desertification sensitivity comprehensive evaluation system to reflect the spatiotemporal changes of land desertification, and proposes a spatial distance model to calculate a desertification sensitivity index. The spatiotemporal change characteristics of land desertification sensitivity in northwest China are quantitatively assessed from 2000 to 2017. Moreover, the main driving factors are analyzed using the geographical detector method. The results show the following. (1) Terrain, soil, climate, vegetation and hydrology affect and restrict each other, and constitute the background conditions of the distributions and changes of sensitivity to desertification in northwest China. (2) Desertification sensitivity generally displays a low distribution characteristic on the periphery of the area and a high one in the interior. The low-sensitivity regions are mainly in the five major mountain ranges (Altai Mountains, Tianshan Mountains, Kunlun Mountains, Altun Mountains and Qilian Mountains), while the high-sensitivity regions are mainly in regions such as the Junggar Basin, the Tarim Basin and the Inner Mongolia Plateau, as well as the Taklimakan Desert, Badain Jaran Desert and Tengger Desert. The spatial distribution of desertification sensitivity is obviously regional, and the high- and low-sensitivity regions have clear boundaries and a concentrated distribution. (3) With regard to spatiotemporal evolution, changes in desertification sensitivity since 2000 have been predominantly stable, and the overall sensitivity has displayed a slowly decreasing trend, indicating that potential desertification regions are decreasing annually and that some achievements have been made in the control of regional desertification. (4) Soil and climate play a direct role in the driving factors of desertification in northwest China, and these have been found to be the most important influential factors. Vegetation is the most active and basic factor in changing the sensitivity. In addition, topography and hydrology play a role in restricting desertification changes. Socio-economic factors are the most rapid factors affecting regional desertification sensitivity, and their impacts tend to be gradually increasing. In general, desertification has been effectively controlled in northwest China, and positive results have been achieved in such control. However, against the backdrop of intensified global climate change, increasingly prominent human activities and new normals of socio-economic development, the monitoring, assessment and control of desertification in China still have a long way to go.

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    Heterogeneity of water-retention capacity of forest and its influencing factors based on meta-analysis in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
    SHI Xiaoli, DU Chenliang, GUO Xudong, SHI Wenjiao
    2021, 31 (1):  69-90.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1833-0
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    Water retention is important in forest ecosystem services. The heterogeneity analysis of water-retention capacity and its influencing factors is of great significance for the construction of water-retention functional areas, restoration of vegetation, and the protection of forest ecosystems in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. A total of 1366 records concerning water-retention capacity in the canopy layer, litter layer, and soil layer of forest ecosystem in this region were obtained from 193 literature published from 1980 to 2017. The influencing factors of water-retention capacity in each layer were analyzed, and path analysis was used to investigate the contribution of the factors to the water-retention capacity of the three layers. The results showed that mixed forests had the highest water-retention capacity, followed by broad-leaved forests, coniferous forests, and shrub forests. In addition, no matter the forest type, the ranking of the water-retention capacity was soil layer, canopy layer, and litter layer from high to low. The main influencing factors of water-retention capacity in forest canopy were leaf area index and maximum daily precipitation (R 2=0.49), and the influencing coefficients were 0.34 and 0.30, respectively. The main influencing factors of water-retention capacity in the litter layer were semi-decomposed litter (R 2=0.51), and the influencing coefficient was 0.51. The main influencing factors of water-retention capacity in the soil layer were non-capillary porosity and soil depth (R 2=0.61), the influencing coefficients were 0.60 and 0.38, respectively. This study verifies the simulation of the water balance model or inversion of remote sensing of the water-retention capacity at the site scale, and provides scientific basis for further study of the impact of global change on water retention.

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    Driving factors and spatiotemporal effects of environmental stress in urban agglomeration: Evidence from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region of China
    ZHOU Kan, YIN Yue, LI Hui, SHEN Yuming
    2021, 31 (1):  91-110.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1834-z
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    Environmental stress is used as an indicator of the overall pressure on regional environmental systems caused by the output of various pollutants as a result of human activities. Based on the pollutant emissions and socioeconomic databases of the counties in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, this paper comprehensively calculates the environmental stress index (ESI) for the urban agglomeration using the entropy weight method (EWM) at the county scale and analyzes the spatiotemporal patterns and the differences among the four types of major functional zones (MFZ) for the period 2012-2016. In addition, the socioeconomic driving forces of environmental stress are quantitatively estimated using the geographically weighted regression (GWR) method based on the STIRPAT model framework. The results show that: (1) The level of environmental stress in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region was significantly alleviated during that time period, with a decrease in ESI of 54.68% by 2016. This decrease was most significant in Beijing, Tangshan, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, and other central urban areas, as well as the Binhai New Area. The level of environmental stress in counties decreased gradually from the central urban areas to the suburban areas, and the high-level stress counties were eliminated by 2016. (2) The spatial spillover effect of environmental stress increased further at the county scale from 2012 to 2016, and spatial locking and path dependence emerged in the cities of Tangshan and Tianjin. (3) Urbanized zones (development-optimized and development-prioritized zones) were the major areas bearing environmental pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in that time period. The ESI accounted for 65.98% of the whole region, where there was a need to focus on the prevention and control of environmental pollution. (4) The driving factors of environmental stress at the county scale included population size and the level of economic development. In addition, the technical capacity of environmental waste disposal, the intensity of agricultural production input, the intensity of territorial development, and the level of urbanization also had a certain degree of influence. (5) There was spatial heterogeneity in the effects of the various driving factors on the level of environmental stress. Thus, it was necessary to adopt differentiated environmental governance and reduction countermeasures in respect of emission sources, according to the intensity and spatiotemporal differences in the driving forces in order to improve the accuracy and adaptability of environmental collaborative control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

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    Revealing ecosystem services relationships and their driving factors for five basins of Beijing
    GAO Jiangbo, ZUO Liyuan
    2021, 31 (1):  111-129.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1835-y
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    A clear understanding of the relationships among multiple ecosystem services (ESs) is the foundation for sustainable urban ecosystem management. Quantitatively identifying the factors that influence ES trade-offs and synergies can contribute to deepening ES research, from knowledge building to decision making. This study simulated soil conservation, water yield and carbon sequestration in Beijing, China, from 2015-2018. The spatial trade-offs and synergies of these three ESs within the five major river basins in Beijing were explored using geographically weighted regression. Furthermore, geographical detector was applied to quantitatively identify the driving mechanism of the environmental factors for the ES trade-offs and synergies. The results show the following: (1) the spatial relationships between soil conservation and water yield, as well as between water yield and carbon sequestration, were mainly trade-offs. There was a spatial synergy between soil conservation and carbon sequestration. (2) Regarding the spatial trade-off/synergy between soil conservation and water yield in Beijing, the dominant influencing factor was temperature/elevation, and the dominant interactions of the spatial trade-off and synergy between these two ESs in Beijing and the Chaobai River Basin are all manifested in the superposition of precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, temperature, and elevation. (3) Topographic factors were the dominant factors influencing the spatial relationship between soil conservation and carbon sequestration in Beijing and its five major river basins. As a result of the distribution of water systems and hydrological characteristics of the basins, differences were observed in the effects of different combinations of interaction factors on the spatial relationship between these two ESs in different basins. (4) Temperature had the strongest explanatory power in terms of the spatial trade-offs and synergies between water yield and carbon sequestration. The interactions between precipitation and temperature and between precipitation and elevation were the dominant interactions affecting the spatial relationship between water yield and carbon sequestration in Beijing. Overall, the explanatory power of influencing factors on the trade-offs and synergies and the degree of interaction between factors coexist in different basins with consistency and differences. Therefore, understanding the quantitative characteristics of basin-scale spatial trade-offs and synergies between ESs is important for ecosystem management and the promotion of synergy in different basins.

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    Multidimensional measurement of poverty and its spatio-temporal dynamics in China from the perspective of development geography
    DONG Yin, JIN Gui, DENG Xiangzheng, WU Feng
    2021, 31 (1):  130-148.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1836-x
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    Exploring the spatio-temporal dynamics of poverty is important for research on sustainable poverty reduction in China. Based on the perspective of development geography, this paper proposes a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) model that combines the human development approach with the global indicator framework for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to identify the poverty-causing and the poverty-reducing factors in China. The aim is to measure the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) of China’s provinces from 2007 to 2017, and use the exploratory spatio-temporal data analysis (ESTDA) method to reveal the characteristics of the spatio-temporal dynamics of multidimensional poverty. The results show the following: (1) The poverty-causing factors in China include the high social gross dependency ratio and crop-to-disaster ratio, and the poverty-reducing factors include the high per capita GDP, per capita social security expenditure, per capita public health expenditure, number of hospitals per 10,000 people, rate of participation in the new rural cooperative medical scheme, vegetation coverage, per capita education expenditure, number of universities, per capita research and development (R&D) expenditure, and funding per capita for cultural undertakings. (2) From 2007 to 2017, provincial income poverty (IP), health poverty (HP), cultural poverty (CP), and multidimensional poverty have been significantly reduced in China, and the overall national poverty has dropped by 5.67% annually. there is a differentiation in poverty along different dimensions in certain provinces. (3) During the study period, the local spatial pattern of multidimensional poverty between provinces showed strong spatial dynamics, and a trend of increase from the eastern to the central and western regions was noted. The MPI among provinces exhibited a strong spatial dependence over time to form a pattern of decrease from northwestern and northeastern China to the surrounding areas. (4) The spatio-temporal networks of multidimensional poverty in adjacent provinces were mainly negatively correlated, with only Shaanxi and Henan, Shaanxi and Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu, Hubei and Anhui, Sichuan and Guizhou, and Hainan and Guangdong forming spatially strong cooperative poverty reduction relationships. These results have important reference value for the implementation of China’s poverty alleviation strategy.

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    Spatial pattern of location advantages of ports along the Maritime Silk Road
    MOU Naixia, WANG Chunying, CHEN Jinhai, YANG Tengfei, ZHANG Lingxian, LIAO Mengdi
    2021, 31 (1):  149-176.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1837-9
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    Location advantages of ports refer to the current developments of ports based on their conditions, such as geographic location, traffic accessibility and hinterland economy, etc., and the spatial pattern of ports’ location advantages reflects the spatial distributions, the regularities and the correlations among their conditions for development. A good understanding of the spatial patterns of ports’ location advantages can help to better identify the relative advantages of ports, position ports’ functions and make strategic plans for development. This paper selected 1259 ports from 63 countries along the Maritime Silk Road as research objects and builds an accessing model to analyze their location advantages on the bases of six factors: the influence of strategic shipping pivot, the competitiveness of port location potential, port network status, the influence of city, the influence of traffic trunk, and road network density in hinterland. The study has the following three findings. Firstly, the location advantages of ports show a “high-low-high” distribution pattern from the west to the east, displaying an obvious “core-periphery” regionalized distribution. Secondly, most ports have high location advantages, mainly located in Strait of Malacca, the United Arab Emirates, northern Mediterranean coastal region and China-Japan region, the top 10 ports are mainly located in Singapore, China, Malaysia and Japan, indicating that the shipping industry in Asia-Pacific region has stepped to the far front of the global competition; slow economic growths, wars, far away from the Belt and Road countries or bad climate have low location advantages, mainly located in African coastal areas, Oceania, Northeast Europe and Russia. Thirdly, compared with the landward location advantages, the seaward location advantages have a higher influence, and different indicators of location advantages have different influences on the evaluation results, the competitiveness of port location potential being the core indicator.

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