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    Identification of regional pattern of climate change risk in China under different global warming targets
    WU Shaohong, CHAO Qingchen, GAO Jiangbo, LIU Lulu, FENG Aiqing, DENG Haoyu, ZUO Liyuan, LIU Wanlu
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 429-448.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2090-1
    Abstract224)   HTML68)    PDF (9189KB)(263)      

    Climate change will bring huge risks to human society and the economy. Regional climate change risk assessment is an important basic analysis for addressing climate change, which can be expressed as a regional system of comprehensive climate change risk. This study establishes regional systems of climate change risks under the proposed global warming targets. Results of this work are spatial patterns of climate change risks in China, indicated by the degree of climate change and the status of the risk receptors. Therefore, the risks show significant spatial differences. The high-risk regions are mainly distributed in East, South, and central China, while the medium-high risk regions are found in North and southwestern China. Under the 2°C warming target, more than 1/4 of China’s area would be at high and medium-high risk, which is more severe than under the 1.5°C warming target, and would extend to the western and northern regions. This work provides regional risk characteristics of climate change under different global warming targets as a foundation for dealing with climate change.

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    Latitudinal differentiation and patterns of temperate and subtropical plants in the Qinling-Daba Mountains
    LIU Junjie, ZHANG Baiping, YAO Yonghui, ZHANG Xinghang, WANG Jing, YU Fuqin, LI Jiayu
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 907-923.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2112-z
    Abstract200)   HTML50)    PDF (4446KB)(222)      

    Geographically, the Qinling-Daba Mountains serve as the main body of the north-south transitional zone of China. However, the transitional patterns of their plant species still need to be clarified. This study analyzed latitudinal variations of plant species richness, relative importance values (RIV), and plant species abundance based on plant community field survey data for 163 sample sites along three north-south transect lines in the eastern, middle, and western parts of the study areas. The difference in RIV between subtropical and temperate species (SND-RIV) was selected to reveal the latitudinal interlacing pattern of northern and southern plant species. Along the eastern (Sanmenxia-Yichang), middle (Xi’an-Dazhou), and western (Tianshui-Guangyuan) transects, the richness and RIV of subtropical plant species increased while those of temperate plant species decreased from north to south. In the eastern transect, temperate plant species richness and RIV were the highest at Shennongjia and Funiu Mountain, respectively, because of their high elevations. In the middle transect, subtropical plant species richness and RIV were the highest in the Daba Mountains. In the western transect, richness and RIV were higher for subtropical than temperate plant species from the south of Longnan. The crisscrossing areas of northern and southern plant species were ~180 km, ~100 km, and ~60 km wide for the eastern, middle, and western transects, respectively, showing a narrowing trend from east to west. For the eastern and western transects, decreases in subtropical plant species distribution from south to north could be attributed to a decrease in mean annual precipitation in the same direction. However, for the middle transect, mean annual temperature had a slightly greater influence on plant species’ latitudinal distribution than the moisture index. This study provides a more solid scientific basis for future investigations of this key geographical boundary in China.

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    Impact of cascade reservoirs on the delayed response behaviour of sedimentation in the Three Gorges Reservoir
    LI Xin, REN Jinqiu, XU Quanxi, YUAN Jing, ZHANG Wei
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 576-598.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2097-7
    Abstract150)   HTML6)    PDF (3269KB)(61)      

    Delayed response behaviour commonly occurs in conjunction with changes in riverbed scouring and sediment deposition and is a key component in understanding the intrinsic behaviour of reservoir siltation. Due to the complexity of the riverbed siltation process, the variability in the factors that influence siltation and the limitations of available research methods, the understanding of the delayed response behaviour of the sedimentation process in the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) is currently merely qualitative, and there is a lack of quantitative in-depth understanding. In addition, the effects of changes in water and sediment conditions on sedimentation in the TGR before and after cascade reservoir impoundment have not been quantified, so further studies are needed to provide a reference for better understanding the intrinsic behaviour of sedimentation in the TGR and the implications for the long-term use of the reservoir. Based on measured water and sediment data from 2003 to 2020 and topographic data from 2003 to 2018, a delayed response model for sedimentation in the TGR is constructed and combined with theoretical derivation to analyse the changes in the delayed response behaviour of the TGR before and after the impoundment of the cascade reservoirs and the associated causes. Then, the influence of changes in water and sediment conditions in previous years on sedimentation in the reservoir area is determined. The results show that (1) the improved delayed response model of sedimentation, which considers variations in external water and sediment conditions, reservoir scheduling, and riverbed adjustment rates, can effectively reflect the sedimentation process in the TGR, especially after the impoundment of the cascade reservoirs. Additionally, the typical section elevation delayed response model can simulate the section elevation adjustment process. (2) After the impoundment of the cascade reservoirs, the decreased variation in incoming water and sediment and more concentrated incoming sediment in the flood season increased the adjustment rate of the riverbed, and the delayed response time of TGR sedimentation was shortened from the previous 5 years to the previous 3 years. The impact of the previous water and sediment conditions is not negligible for the sedimentation process in the TGR, and the cumulative proportion of the previous influence reaches more than 60%. (3) The influence of incoming sediment on the sedimentation process and typical section adjustment process in the reservoir area increased after the impoundment of the cascade reservoirs, and the influence of the water level in front of the dam on sedimentation remained the largest.

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    An overall consistent increase of global aridity in 1970-2018
    LUO Dengnan, HU Zhongmin, DAI Licong, HOU Guolong, DI Kai, LIANG Minqi, CAO Ruochen, ZENG Xiang
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 449-463.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2091-0
    Abstract148)   HTML21)    PDF (4980KB)(131)      

    Climate change is expected to introduce more water demand in the face of diminishing water supplies, intensifying the degree of aridity observed in terrestrial ecosystems in the 21st century. This study investigated spatiotemporal variability within global aridity index (AI) values from 1970-2018. The results revealed an overall drying trend (0.0016 yr-1, p<0.01), with humid and semi-humid regions experiencing more significant drying than other regions, including those classified as arid or semi-arid. In addition, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has gotten wetter, largely due to the increases in precipitation (PPT) observed in that region. Global drying is driven primarily by decreasing and increasing PPT and potential evapotranspiration (PET), respectively. Decreases in PPT alone or increases in PET also drive global aridification, though to a lesser extent. PPT and increasing potential evapotranspiration (PET), with increasing PET alone or decreasing PPT alone. Slightly less than half of the world’s land area has exhibited a wetting trend, largely owing to increases in regional PPT. In some parts of the world, the combined effects of increased PPT and decreased PET drives wetting, with decreases in PET alone explaining wetting in others. These results indicate that, without consideration of other factors (e.g., CO2 fertilization), aridity may continue to intensify, especially in humid regions.

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    Regulation factors driving vegetation changes in China during the past 20 years
    ZHAO Haixia, GU Binjie, LINDLEY Sarah, ZHU Tianyuan, FAN Jinding
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 508-528.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2094-x
    Abstract144)   HTML12)    PDF (3984KB)(177)      

    Vegetation change is of significant concern because it plays a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and climate. Many studies have examined recent changes in vegetation growth and the associated drivers. These drivers include both natural and human activities, but few studies have identified the regulation factors. By employing normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, we analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of vegetation change in China and then explored the driving factors. It was found that the overall greening of China has improved significantly, especially in the Loess Plateau and southwest China. The Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim, however, have not seen as much growth. Natural conditions are conducive to vegetation growth. Although socioeconomic development will be more beneficial for vegetation restoration, the current level and speed of development have a negative effect on vegetation. The regulation factors are considered separately since they affect both directly and indirectly. Regulation factors have accelerated vegetation growth. By understanding the factors affecting the current vegetation growth, we can provide a guide for future vegetation recovery in China and other similar countries.

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    The spatiotemporal scale effect on vegetation interannual trend estimates based on satellite products over Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    MA Dujuan, WU Xiaodan, WANG Jingping, MU Cuicui
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 924-944.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2113-y
    Abstract142)   HTML19)    PDF (9315KB)(101)      

    The trend estimate of vegetation change is essential to understand the change rule of the ecosystem. Previous studies were mainly focused on quantifying trends or analyzing their spatial distribution characteristics. Nevertheless, the uncertainties of trend estimates caused by spatiotemporal scale effects have rarely been studied. In response to this challenge, this study aims to investigate spatiotemporal scale effects on trend estimates using Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) products from 2001 to 2019 in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). Moreover, the possible influencing factors on spatiotemporal scale effect, including spatial heterogeneity, topography, and vegetation types, were explored. The results indicate that the spatial scale effect depends more on the dataset with a coarser spatial resolution, and temporal scale effects depend on the time span of datasets. Unexpectedly, the trend estimates on the 8-day and yearly scale are much closer than that on the monthly scale. In addition, in areas with low spatial heterogeneity, low topography variability, and sparse vegetation, the spatiotemporal scale effect can be ignored, and vice versa. The results in this study help deepen the consciousness and understanding of spatiotemporal scale effects on trend detection.

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    OSL chronology reveals Late Pleistocene floods and their impact on landform evolution in the lower reaches of the Keriya River in the Taklimakan Desert
    ZHANG Feng, WANG Jiao, MA Li, Dilibaier TUERSUN
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 945-960.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2114-x
    Abstract142)   HTML9)    PDF (18891KB)(102)      

    The impacts of climate change on the relationship between fluvial processes and dune landform evolution have been studied. However, the chronology data used to examine this relationship are deficient. The Keriya River has a glacial origin in the Kunlun Mountains on the south margin of the Tarim Basin. The river flows into the Taklimakan Desert, the second largest shifting-dune desert in the world. The dry channels and shifting dunes in this area provide an ideal opportunity to investigate fluvial and aeolian landform evolution processes and their relationship with climate change. We investigated this area during 2008-2011 and obtained 18 fluvial sediment samples from 16 sections for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. The results show that the ages ranged from 3.4-44.1 ka. Most of the samples (13) were Holocene in age, around 11 ka, 8-9 ka, 5-6.5 ka, 4.6 ka, and 3.4-3.7 ka and were distributed along ancient river channels around sites of Yuansha and Karadun. Two samples close to the Hotan River (38-47 ka) fall within the Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3). Three samples (from one section) were located near ancient channels flowing towards the Yuansha Site and had ages of around 14.5 ka, i.e., during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The analyses of the sediment samples and OSL ages suggest that the Keriya River flooded in the Holocene, the LGM, and MIS3. Fluvial sediments provided the source material for the dunes, and fluvial processes affected the landform evolution in the lower Keriya River. Our results suggest that most of the dunes covered in fluvial sediments in the lower reaches and the area west of the Keriya River developed since the Holocene. This differs from the results of previous studies, which suggested that they developed since the Han (202BC-220AD) and Tang (618-907AD) dynasties. The OSL ages of the fluvial sediments are consistent with the reported deglaciation (after glacial advance) ages in the alpine mountains surrounding the Tarim Basin. This suggests that climate fluctuations may have affected the occurrence of floods and the formation of dunes in the Taklimakan Desert.

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    Considering time-lag effects can improve the accuracy of NPP simulation using a light use efficiency model
    LI Chuanhua, LIU Yunfan, ZHU Tongbin, ZHOU Min, DOU Tianbao, LIU Lihui, WU Xiaodong
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 961-979.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2115-9
    Abstract141)   HTML11)    PDF (15493KB)(128)      

    Most terrestrial models synchronously calculate net primary productivity (NPP) using the input climate variable, without the consideration of time-lag effects, which may increase the uncertainty of NPP simulation. Based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and climate data, we used the time lag cross-correlation method to investigate the time-lag effects of temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation in different seasons on NDVI values. Then, we selected the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford approach (CASA) model to estimate the NPP of China from 2002 to 2017. The results showed that the response of vegetation growth to climate factors had an obvious lag effect, with the longest time lag in solar radiation and the shortest time lag in temperature. The time lag of vegetation to the climate variable showed great tempo-spatial heterogeneities among vegetation types, climate types, and vegetation growth periods. Based on the validation using eddy covariance data, the results showed that the simulation accuracy of the CASA model considering the time-lag effects was effectively improved. By considering the time-lag effects, the average total amount of NPP modeled by CASA during 2001-2017 in China was 3.977 PgC a-1, which is 11.37% higher than that of the original model. This study highlights the importance of considering the time lag for the simulation of vegetation growth, and provides a useful tool for the improvement of the vegetation productivity model.

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    Assessment of the fraction of bed load concentration towards the sediment transport of a monsoon-dominated river basin of Eastern India
    KAR Rohan, SARKAR Arindam
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 1023-1054.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2118-6
    Abstract137)   HTML2)    PDF (3129KB)(47)      

    Given the challenges of re-creating complex bed load (BL) transport processes in rivers, models are preferred over gathering and examining field data. The highlight of the present research is to develop an approach to determine the ungauged bed load concentration (BLCu) utilizing the measured suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and hydraulic variables of the last four decades for the Mahanadi River Basin. This technique employs shear stress and SSC equations for turbulent open channel flow. Besides, the predicted BLCu is correlated with SSC using a power relation to estimate BLCu on the river and tributaries. Eventually, different BL functions (BLF) efficiency is assessed across stations. The model predicted BLCu is comparable with the published data for sandy rivers and falls within ± 20%. Outliers in hydraulic and sedimentological statistics significantly influence estimating the BL fraction apart from higher relative ratios and catchment geology. The constants of power functions are physically linked to sediment transport configuration, mechanism, and inflow to the stream. The stream power-based BLF best predicts the BL transport, followed by shear stress and unit discharge approaches. The disparity in the estimation of BLCu results from station-specific physical factors, sampling data dispersion, and associated uncertainties.

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    Spatiotemporal variations in remote sensing phenology of vegetation and its responses to temperature change of boreal forest in tundra- taiga transitional zone in the Eastern Siberia
    LI Cheng, ZHUANG Dafang, HE Jianfeng, WEN Kege
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 464-482.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2092-z
    Abstract134)   HTML13)    PDF (16758KB)(119)      

    Phenology is an important indicator of climate change. Studying spatiotemporal variations in remote sensing phenology of vegetation can provide a basis for further analysis of global climate change. Based on time series data of MODIS-NDVI from 2000 to 2017, we extracted and analyzed four remote sensing phenological parameters of vegetation, including the Start of Season (SOS), the End of Season (EOS), the Middle of Season (MOS) and the Length of Season (LOS), in tundra-taiga transitional zone in the East Siberia, using asymmetric Gaussian function and dynamic threshold methods. Meanwhile, we analyzed the responses of the four phenological parameters to the temperature change based on the temperature change data from Climate Research Unit (CRU). The results show that: in regions south of 64°N, with the rise of temperature in April and May, the SOS in the corresponding area was 5-15 days ahead of schedule; in the area between 64°N and 72°N, with the rise of temperature in May and June, the SOS in the corresponding area was 10-25 days ahead of schedule; in the northernmost of the study area on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, with the drop of temperature in May and June, the SOS in the corresponding area was 15-25 days behind schedule; in the northwest of the study area in August and the southwest in September, with the drop of temperature, the EOS in the corresponding areas was 15-30 days ahead of schedule; in regions south of 67°N, with the rise of temperature in September and October, the EOS in the corresponding area was 5-30 days behind schedule; the change of the EOS in autumn was more sensitive to the change of the SOS in spring, because the smaller temperature fluctuation can cause the larger change of the EOS; the growth season of vegetation in the study area was generally moving forward, and the LOS in the northwest was shortened, while the LOS in the middle and south of the study area was prolonged.

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    Changes over flood season in turbidity maximum zone in a mountainous macrotidal estuary from 1986 to 2020
    LIU Ruiqing, CHENG Heqin, TENG Lizhi, FAN Heshan
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 980-998.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2116-8
    Abstract134)   HTML6)    PDF (7567KB)(70)      

    The construction of channel regulation projects, reservoirs, and other human activities have led to significant changes in channel geometry and hydrodynamic conditions in mountainous macrotidal estuaries. However, their impact on the long-term evolution of the turbidity maximum zone (TMZ) in these estuaries is still unclear. Therefore, the Minjiang Estuary (ME) was selected as the study area and using the Gabor filter and surface suspended sediment concentration (SSSC) data retrieved from GF PMS/WFV and Landsat-TM/ETM+/ OLI images in the flood season from 1986 to 2020, the flow direction of Chuanshi Waterway, the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics of TMZ in the ME, and the influence of human activities on these were analyzed. The results indicate that during flood tides in the past 35 years, the TMZ was mainly distributed in sections from the Changmen to the Chuanshi and Meihua waterways. The construction of the Shuikou Reservoir caused the SSSC to decrease by 65 mg/L at the Chuanshi Tidal Gauge Station in the ME. The TMZ in the ME waterway channel notably migrated toward the sea due to the waterway regulation project, with the landward and seaward boundaries moving by 2.5 km and 3 km seaward, respectively. The main distribution area moved from Jinpaimen to the section from Chuanshi Waterway to the mouth of the ME. These variation characteristics were basically consistent with the annual average TMZ in the flood season. Through the interactions between nature and human interventions, the flow regime of the ME tended to converge in the flood season. Therefore, human activities have significantly impacted the long-term evolution of the TMZ in the ME.

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    Evaluating the hydrological effects of the Three Gorges Reservoir based on a large-scale coupled hydrological-hydrodynamic-dam operation model
    ZENG Sidong, LIU Xin, XIA Jun, DU Hong, CHEN Minghao, HUANG Renyong
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 999-1022.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2117-7
    Abstract131)   HTML3)    PDF (7389KB)(84)      

    Understanding the hydrological effects of the Three Gorges Dam operation in the entire reservoir area is significant to achieving optimal dam regulation. In this paper, a large-scale coupled hydrological-hydrodynamic-dam operation model is developed to comprehensively evaluate the hydrological effects of the river-type Three Gorges Reservoir. The results show that the coupled model is effective for hydrological, hydrodynamic regime and hydropower simulations in the reservoir area. Dam operation could have a notable positive effect on flood control and could reduce the maximum daily flood peak by up to 26.2%. It also contributes a large amount of hydropower, approximately 94.27 TWh/year, and a water supply increase for the downstream area of up to 22% during the dry season. In the flood season, the water level at Cuntan would increase under the condition that the water level of the dam is higher than approximately 158 m due to dam operation. In the dry season, attention should be paid to the low flow velocity near the dam in the reservoir area.

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    Dynamics of the global semiconductor trade and its dependencies
    REN Yawen, YANG Yu, WANG Yun, LIU Yi
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (6): 1141-1160.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2123-9
    Abstract126)   HTML16)    PDF (6480KB)(165)      

    The semiconductor industry typifies the international division of labor and exhibits significant structural differences in global trade in key product segments. The evolution of cross-border trade flows and dependency relationships, as well as trade organization patterns of manufactured products, equipment and materials for manufacturing, are investigated by constructing a global semiconductor trade relationship matrix and using the Gini coefficient and trade dependency index. It was found that: (1) the global semiconductor trade is highly spatially unbalanced, with materials and equipment trade in particular highly concentrated in a few countries on both the supply and demand sides; (2) China has replaced the US as the largest global semiconductor trade player and has shaped the regionalized system of manufactured goods and materials trade with East and Southeast Asian economies, but its equipment trade is highly dependent on Europe and the US; (3) the semiconductor production model has promoted the regionalization of the east and southeast Asia region in the trade of manufactured products and materials, and developed economies such as the US, the EU, Japan, and South Korea have maintained their monopolistic advantage in the trade of semiconductor equipment by building exclusive innovation networks and establishing trade barriers. The monopolistic nature of the semiconductor equipment trade and the regionalization of manufactured goods and materials have formed the characteristics of the global semiconductor trade and are likely to be further strengthened in future trade.

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    Multi-hierarchical spatial clustering for characteristic towns in China: An Orange-based framework to integrate GIS and Geodetector
    ZHANG Zuo, DOU Yuqian, LIU Xiaoge, GONG Zhe
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 618-638.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2098-6
    Abstract123)   HTML8)    PDF (14214KB)(97)      

    As China’s economy and society continue to expand, urbanization in China has reached a new stage. In this context, China’s characteristic town development plans, from the national to the local level, provide a new impetus for the expansion of towns and cities, and contribute to rural revitalization. When assessing the universality of regional dynamics, China exhibits high diversity for regional development. This highlights a complex scientific problem associated with describing the underlying linkages and influencing variables between distinct regional characteristic towns. It also complicates the application of tools that support spatial orientation and spatial decision-making. To address this problem, this study proposes a cross-platform analytical framework that unifies data, geography information systems (GIS), unsupervised analysis, visualization, and Geodetector, with Orange as the core. Based on a review of distribution patterns and multi-hierarchical spatial clustering features, this paper focuses on the rise of characteristic towns in China and investigates the primary environmental and human factors influencing spatial heterogeneity in small towns. The findings show that the development level of characteristic towns under the “city-town” system varies across China. Multi-hierarchical cluster analysis effectively reveals the intrinsic features of characteristic towns and facilitates precise spatially-oriented decision-making under different scenarios. In the framework of the “natural-humanistic” and “city-town” systems, the Geodetector effectively measures the spatial stratified heterogeneity of each indicator in the characteristic towns. This reveals an inner logic among the diverse non-linear spatial correlations. Ultimately, the study deeply investigates the individual development of characteristic towns, and the synergistic construction of “city-town” systems, arguing that characteristic towns have the potential to create “city-town” interactive spaces, and the ability to realize “Orange+GIS” cross-platform synergies.

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    Impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the normalized difference vegetation index of desertified areas in northern China
    MENG Nan, WANG Nai’ang, CHENG Hongyi, LIU Xiao, NIU Zhenmin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 483-507.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2093-y
    Abstract120)   HTML13)    PDF (18212KB)(122)      

    Vegetation plays a key role in maintaining ecosystem stability, promoting biodiversity conservation, serving as windbreaks, and facilitating sand fixation in deserts. Based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MODIS NDVI) and climate data, a Theil-Sen median trend analysis combined with the Mann-Kendall test and partial correlation and residual analyses were employed to explore spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation dynamics and key drivers in the Badain Jaran and Tengger deserts and Mu Us Sandy Land. Data were collected during the growing season between 2001 and 2020. Further analyses quantified the relative contribution of climate variation and anthropogenic activities to NDVI changes. Results revealed a predominantly increasing trend for average NDVI. The spread of average annual NDVI and growth trends of the vegetation were determined to be influenced by spatial differences. The area with improved vegetation was greater than that of the degraded region. Climate variability and human activities were driving forces controlling vegetation cover changes, and their effects on vegetation dynamics varied by region. The response of vegetation dynamics was stronger for precipitation than temperature, indicating that precipitation was the main climate variable influencing the NDVI changes. The relative role of human activities was responsible for > 70% of the changes, demonstrating that human activities were the main driving factor of the NDVI changes. The implementation of ecological engineering is a key driver of increased vegetation coverage and has improved regional environmental quality. These results enhance our knowledge regarding NDVI change affected by climate variation and human activities and can provide future theoretical guidance for ecological restoration in arid areas.

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    Time-scale effects in human-nature interactions, regionally and globally
    LI Yu, GAO Mingjun, ZHANG Zhansen, ZHANG Yuxin, PENG Simin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (8): 1569-1586.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2143-5
    Abstract119)   HTML19)    PDF (2870KB)(157)      

    Spatial-temporal scales effects are general among human-nature interactions. However, the laws and mechanisms of the interaction between humans and the environment at different spatial-temporal scales remain to be identified. The Hexi Corridor in Northwest China is located in the eastern section of the Silk Road and is one of the world’s first long-distance cultural exchange centers. Here we present a comprehensive dataset of the Hexi Corridor, including changes in environments, population, wars, famines, settlements, and ancient oases from the Neolithic to the historic period. Results show that humans adapt to climate change on the millennium scale by choosing corresponding production methods. Environmental change, civilization evolution, and dynasty replacement interrelate on the decadal and centennial scales. Social crises are closely linked to extreme weather events on the interannual scale. On the basis of these results, we find similar time scale effects in the world’s major ancient civilizations. We do so by analyzing their processes of civilization evolution.

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    Assessment on the sustainability of water resources utilization in Central Asia based on water resources carrying capacity
    LIU Wenhua, WANG Yizhuo, HUANG Jinku, ZHU Wenbin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (10): 1967-1988.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2161-3
    Abstract118)   HTML27)    PDF (4960KB)(146)      

    Situated in the hinterland of Eurasia, Central Asia is characterized by an arid climate and sparse rainfall. The uneven spatial distribution of water and land resources across the region has pressured economic and social development. An accurate understanding of Central Asia's water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) is vital for enhancing the sustainability of water resources utilization and guiding regional economic and social activities. This study aims to facilitate the sustainability of water resources utilization by evaluating the region's WRCC from the viewpoints of economic and technological conditions and social welfare. A concise yet effective model with relatively fewer parameters was established by adopting water resources data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and socioeconomic data from the World Bank. The results indicated that the WRCC of all five Central Asian countries showed an increasing trend with improved water use efficiency from 1995 to 2020. Kazakhstan's WRCC was significantly higher than the other four countries, reaching 54.03 million people in 2020. The water resources carrying index (WRCI) of the five Central Asian countries varied considerably, with the actual population sizes of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan highly overloaded. Although there has been a decrease in Central Asian countries’ WRCI between 1995 and 2020, water resources utilization problems in the region remain prominent. Based on the water resources carrying capacity evaluation system, to increase available water resources and improve production water use efficiency are key to address these issues. In light of this, this study offers practical and feasible solutions at the policy level: (1) The implementation of signed multilateral agreements on transboundary water resources allocation must proceed through joint governmental efforts. (2) Investments in advancing science and technology need to be increased to improve water use efficiency in irrigation systems. (3) The output of water-intensive crops should be reduced. (4) The industrial structure could be further optimized so that non-agricultural uses are the primary drivers of gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

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    Urban expansion and intra-urban land evolution as well as their natural environmental constraints in arid/semiarid regions of China from 2000-2018
    PAN Tao, KUANG Wenhui, SHAO Hua, ZHANG Chi, WANG Xiaoyu, WANG Xinqing
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (7): 1419-1441.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2136-4
    Abstract116)   HTML22)    PDF (14312KB)(103)      

    Rapid urbanization has occurred in arid/semiarid China, threatening the sustainability of fragile dryland ecosystems; however, our knowledge of natural environmental constraints on multiscale urban lands in this region is still lacking. To solve this issue, this study retrieved 15-m multiscale urban lands. Results indicated that urban area increased by 68% during 2000-2018, and one-third of the increase was contributed by only three large cities. The coverage of impervious surface area (ISA) and vegetated area (VA) increased by 16.6% and 1.38%, respectively. Such land-cover change may be helpful in suppressing wind erosion and sand storms. We also found that the newly urban lands had relatively lower ISA and higher VA than the old urban lands, indicating an improved human settlement environment. Strong environmental constraints on urban expansion were identified, with cities in oasis urban environments (OUEs) that had water supply expanding 150% faster than cities in desert urban environments (DUEs). Urban development was also constrained by terrain, with 73% of the ISA expansion occurring in relatively flat areas. Overall, the aggregated pattern of urbanization and the increase in ISA and VA in the newly urbanized lands have improved water-use efficiency and ecological services and benefited desert ecosystem protection in arid/semiarid China.

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    Extent and spatial distribution of terrace abandonment in China
    DONG Shijie, XIN Liangjie, LI Shengfa, XIE Hualin, ZHAO Yuluan, WANG Xue, LI Xiubin, SONG Hengfei, LU Yahan
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (7): 1361-1376.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2133-7
    Abstract115)   HTML25)    PDF (2270KB)(108)      

    Driven by urbanization and industrialization, arable land in hilly and mountainous regions of China is gradually becoming marginalized, with the extent of arable land abandonment rapidly expanding from poor-quality sloping arable land to high-quality terraces. The abandonment of large-scale terraces will lead to a series of socio-economic and ecological effects. A national sample survey was used to investigate the extent and spatial distribution of terrace abandonment in China, and a total of 560 valid village questionnaires from 329 counties were collected in the mountainous areas of China. The main findings are as follows: (1) The phenomenon of terrace abandonment was widespread throughout the country, with 54% of the total surveyed villages exhibiting terrace abandonment, and the area of abandoned terraces accounting for 9.79% of the total. (2) The degree of terrace abandonment is high in the south and low in the north. The most serious region with abandonment was the hilly and mountainous areas in the south, especially in the middle and lower Yangtze River region. (3) The main driving factors of terrace abandonment were rural labor migration, agricultural mechanization level, irrigation conditions, and transportation conditions for cultivation. Targeted measures should be taken based on the specific conditions of each area to alleviate terrace abandonment. Measures such as improving terrace mechanization are universally applicable. Specifically, low-quality terraces can be withdrawn orderly, and for high-quality terraces, multiple measures are needed to consolidate agricultural production, such as adjusting the planting structure, strengthening agricultural infrastructure construction, and encouraging the transfer of land-use rights as well as large-scale operation.

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    The innovation networks shaped by large innovative enterprises in urban China
    MA Haitao, Yehua Dennis WEI, HUANG Xiaodong, ZHANG Weiyang
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 599-617.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-022-2065-7
    Abstract114)   HTML12)    PDF (2480KB)(69)      

    Studies investigating innovation networks shaped by large innovative enterprises (LI-ENTs), which play a very important role in intercity diffusion of technology and knowledge, are rather thin on the ground. Using location information of LI-ENTs in China, we performed a headquarter-branch analysis to generate intercity innovation linkages and analyzed the patterns and dynamics of the generated network of knowledge diffusion. Although the network covers 353 cities across China, its spatial distribution is extremely uneven, with a few cities and city-dyads dominating the structure of the network. Furthermore, intercity linkages of innovation within and of urban agglomerations, as well as their central cities, stand out. With regard to network dynamics, the economic development level, innovation ability, and administrative level of cities, as well as the geographical, institutional, and technological proximity between cities are all found to have a positive impact on intercity linkages of innovations, whilst the impact of FDI on the national distribution of Chinese innovative enterprises is negative. Most importantly, the status of cities within the urban agglomeration exerts a significant positive effect in relation to the innovative enterprises’ expansions, which reflects that the top-down forces of government and the bottom-up forces of market function together.

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    Relationship between potential waterway depth improvement and evolution of the Jingjiang Reach of the Yangtze River in China
    YANG Yunping, LI Ming, LIU Wanli, CHAI Yuanfang, ZHANG Jie, YU Wenjun
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 547-575.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2096-8
    Abstract113)   HTML6)    PDF (10199KB)(95)      

    Given the importance of waterway depths in river development, the effects of the evolution of bars and troughs on waterway expansion play an important role in river management and water depth conservation. This study aims to expand the waterway dimensions of the Jingjiang Reach of the Yangtze River. To achieve this objective, determining the relationship between river evolution processes and the potential for waterway depth improvement and navigation hindrances is vital. Therefore, the sedimentation, hydrological, and terrain data of the Jingjiang Reach from 1955 to 2020 are analysed to elucidate the above-mentioned relationship. Since the commissioning of the Three Gorges Dam, the scouring of the low-flow channel has accounted for 90%-95% of all scouring in the Jingjiang Reach. Furthermore, the central bars and beaches have shrunk by 9.4% and 24.9%, respectively, and 18.3% overall. Considering the bed scouring and waterway regulation projects in the Jingjiang Reach, we investigated the continuity of a 4.5 m × 200 m × 1050 m (depth × width × bend radius) waterway along the Jingjiang Reach, and find that navigation-hindering channels account for over 5.3% of the waterway length. Furthermore, part of the Jingjiang Reach is an important nature reserve and shelters numerous water-related facilities, which inhibits the implementation of waterway deepening projects. The findings of this study demonstrate that numerous challenges are associated with increasing the waterway depths of the Jingjiang Reach.

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    Optimizing field management to promote the ecologicalization of agriculture in loess hilly-gully region, China
    HUANG Yunxin, LI Yurui, LIU Yansui
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 1055-1074.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2119-5
    Abstract112)   HTML6)    PDF (1012KB)(69)      

    Scientific field management is an important path to realize ecological production and sustainable development of agriculture. As the main content of field management, nitrogen (N) management is the key to balance the economic and ecological benefits of agricultural production. In the loess hilly-gully region, for the fragile ecological and social system, ecologicalization of agricultural production is an important direction to promote sustainable agricultural development. However, irrational fertilization has been one of the main constraint factors, hindering the ecologicalization of local agriculture. In order to solve the problem and prove the practical significance of field management to ecologicalization of agriculture, this study aimed at evaluating the effects of different N fertilization rates and timing using Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) and then optimizing the N management. Experiments were conducted from 2018 to 2019 in Yangjuangou watershed, loess hilly-gully region, to calibrate and validate the model. The root mean square error (RMSE) of soil water content, nitrate N concentration, above-ground biomass, leaf area index ranged from 10.5-13.5 mm, 2.96-3.80 mg·kg–1, 730.3-1273.9 kg·ha–1 and 0.26-0.38, respectively, with the agreement index (d) between observed and simulated values ranging between 0.88 to 0.98. Simulation results showed that N leaching in semi-arid areas was also quite high due to concentrated rainfall and loose soil, which had previously been neglected. When the fertilization rate decreased by 35% (applying the chemical fertilizer at rate of 245.7 kg N ha–1) of typical fertilization (applying the chemical fertilizer at rate of 378.0 kg N ha–1), the leaching and residual N decreased by 72.2%-75.4% and 35.6%-50.9%, respectively, while NUE increased by 41.5%-45.2% with no reduction in maize yield. Additionally, compared with applying additional N at seedling stage in one batch, applying at seedling and jointing stages in two batches further decreased N leaching and improved NUE. Thus, a 35% reduction of typical fertilization rate combined with applying additional N at seedling and jointing stages is recommended. From the perspective of N management, this study demonstrated optimizing field management can play a positive role in the ecologicalization of agriculture, and more field management measures should be explored.

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    Socio-economic roots of human settlement layout in the marginal zone of the Changtang Plateau uninhabited area:A comparative study of three typical counties
    ZHANG Haipeng, LIU Weidong, LIU Zhigao, CHENG Han, LIU Hanchu
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 655-680.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2100-3
    Abstract111)   HTML6)    PDF (5379KB)(88)      

    Human activities in the marginal zone of the Changtang Plateau (CTP) uninhabited area are important research topics in China and globally. Based on the core-periphery theory of geography, this paper selected three counties in the marginal zone of the CTP uninhabited area with significant transitional physical geography features and socio-economic conditions as case areas. We used the data set of settlement patches identified by visual interpretation in Google Earth Pro, combining them with field survey data to study the evolution of human settlements on the CTP, the characteristics of settlement layout, and their socio-economic roots. The study found that: (1) Since the democratic reform in Tibet, the production mode of herders on the CTP has transitioned from four-season nomadic herding to cold-season sedentary grazing, warm-season rotational grazing, and then to a combination of sedentary grazing and forage supplementation. In structural changes of grassroots organizations, village boundaries were clarified, grazing ranges were fixed, and settlement systems were formed. (2) On a large scale, the settlement layout on the CTP showed a certain degree of agglomeration in local areas, but the settlements’ spatial agglomeration decreased as the observation scale decreased. The settlement size structure matched the typical rank-size rule of rural settlements. (3) The settlement layout of the CTP showed significant traffic lines and dominant location orientation. These orientation characteristics revealed “core-periphery” regional differences. Changes in production conditions, such as artificial grass cultivation and part-time employment, affected the dependence on traditional grazing points. Settlements moved from resource dependence to dependence on multiple elements, such as resources and facilities. The religious, cultural heritage of the sacred mountains, lakes, and temples influenced the settlement layout, leading to clustering in local areas and to group format. This study expands our understanding of the settlement pattern in the marginal zone of uninhabited areas and provides valuable references for advancing the optimization of the CTP human settlement system in the new era.

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    Jiaoyufication as an education-driven gentrification in urban China: A case study of Nanjing
    SONG Weixuan, CAO Hui, TU Tangqi, SONG Zhengna, CHEN Peiyang, LIU Chunhui
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 1095-1112.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2121-y
    Abstract105)   HTML8)    PDF (4578KB)(128)      

    As a type of urban gentrification oriented by high-quality educational resources, jiaoyufication is a socio-spatial process that refers to the middle-class group that attaches importance to education realizes the agglomeration in famous school districts by purchasing high-price school district houses. Based on the theoretical analysis of jiaoyufication conducted by Chinese and foreign scholars, this paper takes Nanjing as a case city, applies multi-source data like POIs (points of interest), real estate market data, mobile-phone user portraits and questionnaires, and develops a composite measurement of jiaoyufication to identify jiaoyufied school district, jiaoyufied group & its spatial characteristics, and discusses the causal mechanisms and effects of jiaoyufication. With the GIS-entropy-TOPSIS model, this paper evaluates the jiaoyufication level of public primary school districts in the main urban area of Nanjing. The result show that 218 primary school districts are categorized into four types, i.e., high jiaoyufied school district, mid-high jiaoyufied school district, medium jiaoyufied school district, and low jiaoyufied school district. The high jiaoyufied school districts are closely associated with the institutional system. In the high jiaoyufied school districts, many middle-class families have abundant social, economic, and cultural capital. They purchase and move to houses with lower living quality in school districts to pursue high-quality education for their children. The strict school district system, soaring school district housing prices, and intense educational competition continuously solidify the jiaoyufication levels of famous school districts and lock the opportunities for high-quality education in specific school-district spaces and classes or groups. The phenomenon of this socio-spatial reconstruction process, which results from the unequal distribution of high-quality educational resources, tends to aggravate the rich-poor gap and social segregation in cities. It is suggested that equalization of compulsory education services should be effectively carried forward as soon as possible.

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    Spatial pattern of knowledge innovation function among Chinese cities and its influencing factors
    YU Yingjie, LYU Lachang
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (6): 1161-1184.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2124-8
    Abstract105)   HTML12)    PDF (970KB)(56)      

    Knowledge innovation is a key component of urban innovation function and an important basis for modern urban development. Combining the multidisciplinary research of knowledge innovation, this paper constructs a measurement framework of urban knowledge innovation function from the perspective of urban geography and analyzes its spatial pattern and influencing factors. The conclusions are as follows: (1) The function of urban knowledge innovation refers to the tasks and roles it undertakes in the process of knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application, which is based on the internal knowledge stock and external practice conditions to meet the needs of human survival and development in the new era. The measurement dimensions include functional scale, functional intensity, functional scale, and functional vitality. (2) The development level of knowledge innovation functions in Chinese cities is uneven, and the cities with outstanding knowledge innovation functions are mainly concentrated in the eastern coastal areas and a few developed areas in the central and western regions, forming the diamond-shaped knowledge innovation structure with the Beijing-Tianjin, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, Shaanxi-Chengdu-Chongqing as the four vertices and central Wuhan and Hefei as the center. According to the Jenks natural breakpoint method, it is divided into national-level, regional-level, local-level and knowledge-innovative development cities. (3) The spatial differentiation characteristics of urban knowledge innovation function are simultaneously affected by various natural and human factors. Among them, economic environment, opening environment, and cultural environment have the strongest interactive explanatory power with other factors, and are the dominant factors affecting the city’s knowledge innovation function. In the future, China should fully considers the status and characteristics of the city’s own knowledge economy development with corresponding policies and measures suitable for the development of the city’s knowledge economy, and strengthen the dominant position of human and social factors in the constructing the city’s knowledge innovation function.

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    Spatiotemporal evolution and influencing mechanism of ecosystem service value in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
    LIU Zhitao, WANG Shaojian, FANG Chuanglin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (6): 1226-1244.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2127-5
    Abstract105)   HTML8)    PDF (7405KB)(138)      

    Ecosystem services are the media and channels through which ecological elements, structures, functions, and products benefit human society. Regulating the utilization intensity and protection methods of society on the ecosystem according to the ecosystem service value (ESV) and its influencing mechanism is of great significance for achieving the sustainable development goals. This paper takes the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) as the research object and describes the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics of ESV in the GBA from 2000 to 2015. Panel quantile regression is also implemented to increase the understanding of the influencing mechanism of ESV. The main results are as follows: (1) From 2000 to 2015, the total ESV declined with a decreasing rate. The areas of decline were mainly distributed in the central part of the GBA and areas along the Pearl River Estuary. (2) Elasticity index, indicating response of ESV to land use change, reached its peak (1.08). The spatial distribution of elasticity index showed that land use changes brought about more intense ESV variations at the junction of cities. (3) In areas with different ESV levels, the influencing factors have different effects. Land use integrity can only promote ecosystem service capabilities in low-ESV areas. The positive effect of temperature on ecosystem service capacity increases with the increase of ESV, which reflects the self-reinforcement of the ecosystem. Moreover, the negative effect of economic density on ecosystem service capacity decreases with the increase of ESV, which reflects the self-protection of the ecosystem. The combination of such self-reinforcement and self-protection will lead to an ESV gap between the high- and low-ESV areas, and induce the “natural Matthew effect.”

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    Progress and major themes of research on urban shrinkage and its eco-environmental impacts
    CHEN Dan, FANG Chuanglin, LIU Zhitao
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (5): 1113-1138.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2122-x
    Abstract103)   HTML14)    PDF (2169KB)(45)      

    Urban shrinkage is the process of population loss, industrial and functional decline, and eco-environmental deterioration due to various natural and human factors that occur once a city’s development reaches a certain point. It is an external manifestation of positive or negative changes in an urban economy, society, culture, resource use, and sustainability. Urban shrinkage is a new feature of global urbanization as well as a frontier of international and Chinese research. It has attracted widespread attention from academics in China and overseas, becoming an emerging trend that has spread from developed countries to underdeveloped ones. Research on and responses to urban shrinkage have also become new tasks of China’s new urbanization strategy. Our review of the existing literature reveals that there are significant temporal and spatial differences in research by Chinese and overseas scholars on urban shrinkage. Urban shrinkage studies have paid scant attention to interactions with the eco-environment, with analyses of urban shrinkage mechanisms and factors largely focusing on economic and social development factors; and urban shrinkage index analyses have tended not to include eco-environmental quality and environmental pollution indicators. The key tasks for future urban shrinkage research include the following: to conduct in-depth research on the mechanisms and driving factors of urban shrinkage to reveal the essence of urban shrinkage; to discover the principles behind interactions between urban shrinkage and the eco-environment, as well as to analyze the eco-environmental effects of urban shrinkage; to construct an index system for evaluating the extent, monitoring and providing warnings of, and containing urban shrinkage; and to research urban shrinkage coping strategies under different circumstances and carry out experiments and demonstrations according to local conditions.

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    Long-term passive restoration of severely degraded drylands - divergent impacts on soil and vegetation: An Israeli case study
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 529-546.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2095-9
    Abstract102)   HTML6)    PDF (10057KB)(199)      

    Land degradation affects extensive drylands around the world. Due to long-term misuse, the Israeli Sde Zin dryland site has faced severe degradation. The study objective was to assess the feasibility of passive restoration in recovering the site. The study was conducted in four land-units along a preservation-degradation continuum: (1) an area that has not faced anthropogenic disturbances (Ecological land); (2) an area that was proclaimed as a national park in the 1970s (Rehabilitation); (3) an area that was prone, until recently, to moderate anthropogenic pressures (Triangle); and (4) a dirt road that was subjected to long-term off-road traffic (Dirtroad). Soil was sampled and analyzed for its properties. The soil physical quality followed the trend of Ecological land > Rehabilitation > Triangle > Dirtroad. Specifically, high soil salinity in the latter three land-units is attributed to long-term erosional processes that exposed the underlying salic horizons. Herbaceous and shrubby vegetation cover was also monitored. The herbaceous vegetation cover followed the trend of Ecological land (86.4%) > Rehabilitation (40.3%) > Triangle (26.2%) > Dirtroad (2.1%), while the shrubby cover was 2.8% in the Ecological land-unit, and practically zero in the other land-units. It seems that despite the effectiveness of passive restoration in recovering the soil’s physical properties, the recovery of vegetation is limited by the severe soil salinity.

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    Investigating merchandise trade structure in the RCEP region from the perspective of regional integration
    CHEN Xiaoqiang, YUAN Lihua, SONG Changqing
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (6): 1185-1204.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2125-7
    Abstract99)   HTML6)    PDF (3924KB)(82)      

    The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was formally signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. This was a significant step towards regional integration in the Asia-Pacific region. Analysing the trade structure among member states is crucial in understanding the path to regional integration and policy implications of regional cooperation within the RCEP framework. Based on subdivided commodity data, this study reviews the evolution of merchandise trade in the RCEP region in the past two decades. It investigates the current trade structure of the RCEP, emphasising the relative importance of intra-regional versus extra-regional interdependence and the trade asymmetry of the regional members. The results of the study are as follows: First, the overall extent of regional trade integration in the RCEP region increased modestly from 2001 to 2018, indicating that the RCEP region was export-oriented and there was significant room for further expansion of regional trade. Second, most of the commodities traded in the RCEP region demonstrated much higher extra-regional interdependence than intra-regional in 2018, particularly labor-, capital-, and technology-intensive products such as television and radio apparatus. Third, the trade networks of the top five traded commodities were distinguished by large economic asymmetries, with China, Japan, and South Korea being the dominant regional powers. These findings have significant implications for understanding how to promote regional integration and cooperation. Besides expanding intra-regional trade, outward-oriented factors influenced by the regional powers—including consolidating the global advantages of manufacturing, stabilizing supply chains by including large resource countries, and attracting extra-regional investments—were also the main rationales for the conclusion of the RCEP.

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    How to promote the green development of urbanization in the Tibetan Plateau?
    FANG Chuanglin
    Journal of Geographical Sciences    2023, 33 (3): 639-654.   DOI: 10.1007/s11442-023-2099-5
    Abstract98)   HTML6)    PDF (4751KB)(93)      

    Urbanization of the Tibetan Plateau is a part of the strategies to strengthen China’s national security shield as well as to enhance its national ecological safety barrier and the “water tower” of Asia. It also plays an irreplaceable role in protecting one of the last unspoiled regions in the world, ensuring that the “third pole” achieves modernization in step with the rest of China, and improving the lives of all ethnic groups that live in “roof of the world.” This study discusses in detail the distinctive drivers, development path, development goals, development dynamic, and green development model and strategy of the new type of urbanization in the Tibetan Plateau, which differs markedly from the rest of China. This author asserts that urbanization of the Tibetan Plateau should involve low-intensity development, cultural transmission, protection of land and borders, conservation of water resources, small concentrations and wide dispersion of the population, social inclusivity, and improvements to the environment that benefit the people, driven by domestic investment, tourism, services, and paired assistance. The plans for the region’s future development are as follows. In terms of the protection of land and borders, the Tibetan Plateau will safeguard China’s national security with fast and stable development and ensure sufficient populations inhabit border and rural areas. By 2035, the permanent population of the plateau will be 16 million, and the level of urbanization will reach 52.5%, with stability in the middle stage of urbanization, thereby comprehensively improving the quality of urbanization. In terms of green development, it is necessary to improve the quality of ecological products and the capacity and level of ecological services, accentuate local features and folk customs, promote culture, and encourage people to tend livestock in rural areas and live in towns, thereby creating beautiful cities and towns in the Tibetan Plateau. In terms of the small concentrations and wide dispersion of the population, the overall urban pattern will be “three clusters, four belts, and multiple nodes.” The “three clusters” are the Xining, Lhasa, and Qaidam metropolitan areas; the “four belts” are along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, the Ancient Tang (China)-Tibet Road, and border areas; and “multiple nodes” refers to major urban nodes and border towns. In terms of ensuring connectivity, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was completed ahead of schedule, national security lines are being strengthened, and new infrastructure and smart cities are being built. Additionally, the land system of border cities is being reformed, a special zone for experimental border land reform is being constructed, and border towns are being prioritized in national strategies and territorial space planning.

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