Ecological Environment

A method to determine the spatial allocation standard of social ecological compensation

  • 1. Institute of Remote Sensing and Earth Sciences, College of Science, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 311121, China;
    2. Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Urban Wetlands and Regional Change, Hangzhou 311121, China;
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    4. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Zhang Wei (1982-), Ph.D, specialized in the study of land use and ecological appraisal. E-mail:

Received date: 2011-01-25

  Revised date: 2011-02-28

  Online published: 2012-04-15

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40701046; National Basic Research Program of China, No.2009CB421307; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41101039


Ecological compensation is a hot subject in academic studies, and the determination of the spatial allocation of compensation payments is a key point in the research of ecological compensation. There are two kinds of thoughts in the determination of regional spatial allocation at present: “evaluation of ecological construction cost” and “evaluation of ecosystem services value”. This paper analyzes the relationships between social ecological compensation and regional socio-economic development, and establishes two econometric models with the data of 2007 from various provinces in China. Through these models, the impacts of geographical endowments on the regional socio-economic development in various provinces are analyzed from the social justice viewpoint and the concept of “equivalent value of geographical endowments” (EGE for short) is proposed. This paper analyzes the application prospect of EGE in the policy making of regional ecological compensation. The results showed that: (1) the implementation of social ecological compensation is not only an effective guarantee for each region to obtain the equal rights of survival, development and decent environment, but also an essential assurance to the coordinated, balanced and sustainable development among various regions; (2) the regional difference in geographical endowments is an important factor affecting the regional spatial variation of socio-economic development. Therefore, geographical endowments are important bases for the determination of the spatial allocation of compensation payments in social ecological compensation; (3) based on the EGE, the government can determine the spatial allocation of social ecological compensation scientifically, and avoid the “sweeping approach” phenomenon in the policy making process of ecological compensation.

Cite this article

ZHANG Wei, ZHANG Hongye, ZHANG Yifeng . A method to determine the spatial allocation standard of social ecological compensation[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2012 , 22(2) : 283 -300 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0927-0


Bureaux of Soil Census in China, 1997. Soil Data Census in China. Beijing: China Agriculture Press. (in Chinese)
Duan J, Yan Y, Wang D Y et al., 2010. Principle analysis and method improvement on cost calculation in watershed ecological compensation. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 30(1): 221-227. (in Chinese)
Guo X D, Niu S W, Wu W H et al., 2009. The character of spatial-temporal evolvement of rural economy level of China in recent 30 years. Economic Geography, 29(3): 466-471. (in Chinese)
Johst K, Drechsler M, Watzold F, 2002. An ecological-economic modeling procedure to design compensation payments for the efficient spatio-temporal allocation of species protection measures. Ecological Economics, 41: 37-49.
Kosoy N, Martinez-Tuna M, Muradian R et al., 2007. Payments for environmental services in watersheds: Insights from a comparative study of two cases in Central America. Ecological Economics, 61(2): 446-455.
Krugman P, 1993. First nature, second nature and metropolitan location. Journal of Regional Science, 33: 129-144.
Lai L, Huang X J, Liu W L, 2008. Advances in theory and methodology of ecological compensation. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 28(6): 2870-2877. (in Chinese)
Li W H, Li F, Li S D, et al., 2006. The status and prospect of forest ecological benefit compensation. Journal of Natural Resources, 21(5): 677-688. (in Chinese)
Li X J, Qiao J J, 2004. Impact of landform on input-output of man-land system in farmland of mountainous region: A micro-study of a small village in Wugou of Henan Province. Geographical Research, 23 (6): 717-726. (in Chinese)
Li X J, Zhou X F, Zheng C H, 2008. Geography and economic development in rural China: A township level study in Henan Province, China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 63(2): 147-155. (in Chinese)
Li Y R, Bian X M, 2008. The regional pattern changes of grain production in Jiangsu Province. Areal Research and Development, 27(2): 113-117. (in Chinese)
Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Ina Porras, Sven Wunder, 2005. How can market mechanisms for forest environmental services help the poor? Preliminary lessons from Latin America. World Development, 33(9): 1511-1527.
Mi H, Zhang W Z, 2000. Practical Modern Statistical Analysis Method and SPSS Application. Beijing: Contemporary China Press, 121-131. (in Chinese)
Qian S M, Wang H Z, 2005. On the building of basin-ecological-compensation: From a just viewpoint. Journal of China University of Geosciences (Social Sciences Edition), 5(5): 80-84. (in Chinese)
Qiao J J, Xu L M, 2005. Elevation factors of input-output on cultivated land in mountainous area: A case in Wugou Village, Henan. China. Resources Science, 27 (6): 53-57. (in Chinese)
Qin Y H, Kang M Y, 2007. A review of ecological compensation and its improvement measures. Journal of Natural Resources, 22(4): 557-567. (in Chinese)
Ricardo D, 1817. The Principle of Political Economy and Taxation. London: Gaernsey Press.
Scott Farrow, 1998. Environmental equity and sustainability: Rejecting the Kaldor-Hicks criteria. Ecological Economics, 27: 183-188.
Smith Adam, 1776. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. University of Chicago Press.
Stefanie Engel, Sven Wunder, Stefano Pagiola, 2008. Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues. Ecological Economics, 65(4): 663-674.
Stefano Pagiola, Agustin Arcenas, Gunars Platais, 2005. Can payments for environmental services help reduce poverty? An exploration of the issues and the evidence to date from Latin America. World Development, 33(2): 237-253.
W?ktzold F, Drechsler M, 2005. Spatially uniform versus spatially heterogeneous compensation payments for biodiversity-enhancing land-use measures. Environmental and Resource Economics, 31:73-93.
Whitby M, Saunders C, 1996. Estimating the supply of conservation goods in Britain: A comparison of the financial efficiency of the policy instruments. Land Economics, 72(3): 313-325.
Wu X Q, Hong S Q, Duan C Q et al., 2003. Inter-regional ecological compensation system and regional coordinative development. Resources and Environment in the Yangtze Basin, 12(1): 13-16. (in Chinese)
Wunder S, 2005. Payments for environmental services: Some nuts and bolts CIFOR. Occasional Paper, 24(42): 1-14.
Xiang W, 2006. Cost of ecological restoration in the farming-pastoral zone of northern China. Journal of Natural Resources, 21(1): 92-99. (in Chinese)
Xie G D, Zhen L, Lu C X et al., 2008. Expert knowledge based valuation method of ecosystem services in China. Journal of Natural Resources, 23(5): 911-919. (in Chinese)
Xiong Y, Wang K L, Lan W L et al., 2004. Evaluation of the lake recovery area eco-compensation in Dongting Lake wetland. Acta Geographica Sinica, 59(5): 771-780. (in Chinese)
Yang G M, Min Q W, Li W H et al., 2007. Scientific issues of ecological compensation research in China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 27(10): 4289-4300. (in Chinese)
Yu H, Ren Y, 2007. Key issues of watershed eco-compensation mechanism: A case study in water source areas of South-to-North Water Transfer. Resources Science, 29(2): 28-33. (in Chinese)
Zheng H X, Zhang L B, 2006. Research on the standardization of compensation for the service of eco system in river valley. Environmental Protection, 1A: 42-45. (in Chinese)