Research Articles

Spatial analysis of China’s eco-environmental quality:1990-2010

  • 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    3. Urban-rural Planning Management Center, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Beijing 100835, China
Sun Dongqi (1985-), Ph.D, specialized in urban and regional planning. E-mail:

Received date: 2013-01-28

  Revised date: 2013-02-25

  Online published: 2013-08-15

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171134;National Social Science Funds Special Commission Project of China, No.2007@ZH005;Key Project of National Soft Science of China, No.2700ZXQ4D166


Over the past two decades in China, stress on the environment has increased continuously. This paper will assess the change in environmental quality over time, and its spatial variation using data from the statistical yearbooks of 31 provincial administrative regions in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. These books provide a general assessment of the environment at the provincial level, and the three major economic regions from western to eastern China. By using the geographic information system (GIS) and SPSS, we analyzed the changing trend of China's eco-environment and calculated the changing trajectory in the gravity center of the eco-environmental quality. We conclude the following. (1) From 1990 to 2010, the rate of deterioration of the environment went down. We argue that the cause of this trend was neither the result as "the deterioration trend was under control" noticed by the government departments concerned, nor "the deterioration rate of the environment was increasingly intensified" suggested by many researchers. (2) Since 1990, the general environment has been worsening in China, but it was improved in some regions; however, the ecological deficit is still expanding and will last for a long time. (3) From western to eastern China, the deterioration rate of environmental quality was slowed down. The reasons include a good natural environment, a developed regional economy, and technology and finance in eastern China. (4) After extensive economic development in China, there are imbalances of population, economy, society, and the environment in the 31 provincial regions. The governments at all levels should play an important role in research and protecting the environment. In addition, it is imperative to implement positive measures such as controlling population, improving the environment, and promoting smart development to balance the socio-ecological system.

Cite this article

SUN Dongqi, ZHANG Jingxiang, HU Yi, JIANG Jinliang, ZHOU Liang . Spatial analysis of China’s eco-environmental quality:1990-2010[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(4) : 695 -709 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1038-2


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