Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2006, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (2): 115-126.doi: 10.11821/xb200602001

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The Future of Human-Environment Interaction Research in Geography:Lessons from the 6th Open Meeting of IHDP

SHI Peijun1,2, WANG Jing'ai3,4, CHEN Jing2, YE Tao2, ZHOU Hongjian3,4   

  1. 1. Institute of Disaster and Public Security, College of Resources Science and Technology;
    2. Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education;
    3. College of Geography and Remote Sensing Science;
    4. Key Laboratory of Regional Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2005-11-25 Revised:2005-12-05 Online:2006-02-25 Published:2010-09-06
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, Outstanding Youth Fund, No.40425008


Based on a general introduction to the content of the 6th open meeting of IHDP, and an overview of the major projects and science plans of ESSP and IHDP, this paper discussed the future science issues and development priorities for human-environment research in Geography. Besides regional heterogeneity and holistic view, which have already been highly emphasized in Geography, the human-environment system also has vulnerability, risk, resilience and adaptability, which are newly discovered inherent features. These four features can modify, change or transform each other in certain spatial and temporal context. Because of these features, Geography, which takes the mechanism and process of the human-environment system as its congenital task, must redesign its research strategy to contribute to the global human-environment research community. The necessary strategic transformations for geographic research include: from element and pattern oriented to process oriented integrated research; from integrated research which combines physical geography and human geography to systematic research on resources and environment issues; from environment reconstruction to integrated disaster risk management research; from dynamics of pattern and process to systematic simulation of resources guarantee and regional security; from regional human-environment interaction mechanism research to global human-environment interaction mechanism research. This is a big challenge for Geography, and also a precious opportunity we could not bear to lose. We should learn from the strategies in the science plans for global environmental change of IHDP and IGBP, strengthen the understanding of dynamic and non-dynamic behaviors of the human-environment system, then solve the complex globalization, urbanization, resources, environment, ecology, disaster, risk and sustainable development problems we are facing through systematic and integrated research, which is a big advantage of Geography, and gradually approach a resource conserving and environment friendly society. Only in this way, could geographers contribute to the construction of a well off and harmonious society in China, the decision making of global sustainable development, and the bi-health of human and Earth.

Key words: human-environment system, vulnerability, risk, resilience, adaptability, modern geography, dynamics, transformation