›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (6): 1123-1135.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1067-x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Natural capital accounting in Xi’an City of western China during 1995-2011

MA Caihong1,3, REN Zhiyuan1,2, LI Xiaoyan1,3   

  1. 1. College of Tourism and Environment Science, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    2. Northwest Land and Resource Research Center, Xi'an 710062, China;
    3. College of History and Tourism, Shaanxi University of Technology, Hanzhong 723001, Shaanxi, China
  • Received:2013-07-02 Revised:2013-08-12 Online:2013-12-15 Published:2013-11-14
  • Contact: Ren Zhiyuan, Professor, E-mail: renzhy@snnu.edu.cn E-mail:renzhy@snnu.edu.cn
  • About author:Ma Caihong (1974-), Ph.D and Associate Professor, specialized in evaluation of resource & environment and application of GIS/RS. E-mail: mchyanni.yahoo.com.cn
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071057; No.41001388


As one of the most important metropolitan areas in China, Xi'an City plays a leading role in the development of the western regions. To impede the decision and policy preferences for environmental and ecological factors, this paper took account of the natural capital depletion of Xi'an City during 1995-2011, considered in terms of constant 1990 price levels. The results are as follows. (1) Natural capital depletion in Xi'an City consistently increased from1995 to 2011, increasing from 14.31×108 yuan to 42.28×108 yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 12.22%. The primary component of natural capital depletion in Xi'an City was the cost associated with fossil fuel resource depletion, while the cost associated with ecological services contributed the least to the total cost. (2) During 1995-2011, the proportion of natural capital depletion to Xi'an City in Yanta and Lianhu districts dropped, whereas in counties such as Gaoling County, Chang'an District and Lintong District, it increased. In 2011, the proportion of natural capital depletion varied between the different counties: Yanta District (15.75%), Weiyang District and Lianhu District (10%-15%), Huxian County, Xincheng District, Beiling District, Chang'an District, Baqiao District, and Gaoling County (5%-10%), and in Lintong District, Lantian County, Zhouzhi County and Yanliang District, it was <5%. (3) The spatial pattern of natural capital depletion varied with different perspectives, for example, from a total value perspective, a nuclear pattern around the administrative center of Xi'an City was evident, whereas from a density per capita of natural capital depletion perspective, a bi-nuclear spatial distribution visible in 1995 had become a poly-nuclear distribution by 2011. Conversely, from a density per hectare perspective, a "core-edge" pattern characterized by three circles was observed. (4) The natural capital depletion relative to GDP curve was in accordance with the environmental Kuznets curve, while the proportion of natural capital depletion to GDP was the highest in circle III and the lowest in circle I.

Key words: natural capital accounting, sustainable development, temporal and spatial variation, Xi’an City