Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (8): 1060-1068.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201408003

Special Issue: 人地系统

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Frontier approach of the sustainable process and pattern of human-environment system

Jie FAN()   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2014-06-18 Revised:2014-08-02 Online:2014-08-20 Published:2014-08-20


In combination with the author's review of frontier issues in human geography in recent years, this paper clarifies that uncovering the spatiotemporal difference rules of human-environment system interaction in the geographic pattern is the highest-level scientific puzzle in modern geography, and is the understanding of key issues which could decide the prospect of future geography. Four practical methods including "process induction, regional comparison, qualitative analysis, logical judgment" until now for integrated human-environment system researches are proposed. Aiming at four frontier fields including regional equilibrium, resources and environment carrying capacity, territorial function, and spatial structure, academic ideas including the driving forces of regional development pattern changes, the impact carrier of natural sphere on human activity sphere, the rules and methods for integrated geographic zoning, and the changing laws of "living-production-ecology" spatial structure, are discussed. Finally, this paper discusses the significance and key issues of regional sustainable development in the framework of "Future Earth", and presents that the integrated method system and basic theoretical system of comprehensive research in complexity science based on "integration of both natural and social sciences" and "interpenetration of both basic researches and decision-making application", will profoundly influence research progress of the process and framework of human-environment system.

Key words: human-environment system, human geography, sustainability, regional equilibrium, territorial function, carrying capacity, spatial structure, Future Earth