Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (9): 1613-1628.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201609012

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The coupling interaction mechanism of regional water-land-energy-carbon system

Rongqin ZHAO1(), Zhiping LI1, Yuping HAN2, KANDLIKAR Milind3, Zhanping ZHANG1, Minglei DING1   

  1. 1. School of Resources and Environment, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou 450045, China
    2. The Yellow River Institute of Science, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou 450045, China
    3. Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • Received:2016-02-04 Revised:2016-05-05 Online:2016-11-25 Published:2016-11-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Fundation of China, No.41301633, No.51679089


Water, land, energy and carbon are key elements of earth's surface system. Researches on regional water-land-energy-carbon system (WLEC system) will not only help to reveal the impact mechanism of resource coupling exploitation on carbon emissions, but also has great significance to explore low-carbon development mode based on water, land and energy saving. Based on the literature review, this paper analyzed the element relationship of regional WLEC system, discussed the coupling interaction mechanism, research perspectives and impact factors of regional WLEC system, and put forward the future research points in this field. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) Regional WLEC system reflects the interactions among different spheres of earth's surface system. Through water cycle, land use, energy flow and carbon cycle, WLEC system becomes the core of regional natural-economic-social system. It not only reflects the matching relationship and exploitation efficiency of regional resources, but also embodies the impact extent of human activities on environment. (2) Regional WLEC system can be divided into three subsystems: water system, land system and energy system. They interacted with each other and together formed the resource base for the regional socio-economic development. Regional carbon emission intensity is mainly determined by the need relationship among three subsystems, industrial activities and energy structure. (3) Regional WLEC system can be studied from different perspectives such as microscopic view, industrial activities and land use. (4) Regional WLEC system is influenced by natural, economic, social and pressure factors, in which economic factor, especially economic development level, production efficiency and technology, is the determinant factor of the function and efficiency of regional WLEC system. (5) In the future, modeling of regional WLEC system, relationship between WLEC system and climate change and food security, carbon emission efficiency of resource coupling exploitation and the integrated evaluation and regulation of WLEC system should be strengthened.

Key words: region, water-land-energy-carbon system, coupling, mechanism