Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (4): 498-506.doi: 10.11821/xb200904012

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Evaluation of Nature Suitability for Human Settlement in Shaanxi Province Based on Grid Data

HAO Huimei, REN Zhiyuan   

  1. College of Tourism and Environmental Science, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China
  • Received:2008-10-20 Revised:2009-02-02 Online:2009-04-25 Published:2009-04-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40771019; Program of Function Zones of Population Development in Shaanxi Province

Abstract:

Scientifically evaluating natural suitability for human settlement and defining function zones of population development will promote coordinated regional development between population, resources and environment. In this paper, Geographic Information System (GIS), integrated index analysis, correlation analysis and demonstration were employed to establish the spatial situation of nature suitability for human settlement in Shaanxi Province. Results showed that: the index of nature suitability for human settlement in Shaanxi Province was between 18.55 and 88.97. In general, nature suitability for human settlement increased from northwest to southeast and from mountain and plateau to plain and valley. Considering area, the common suitable region ranked first, accounting for about 63.28% of the total area of Shaanxi Province; and rather and comparatively suitable region ranked second, about 26.11% of the total; and the most desirable region ranked last, only about 0.35%. On the other hand the population of the province was concentrated in regions with higher nature suitability. About 68.92% of Shaanxi's population was concentrated in the most desirable region and rather and comparatively suitable region. Nearly 88.16% of Shaanxi's population was distributed in grade one of common suitable region and above that level. Spatial distribution of population was profoundly affected by nature suitability for human settlement in Shaanxi Province. Regions with maximal population density always were the ones with highest nature suitability for human settlement. The influence of span of climate suitability on spatial distribution of population was partly in Shaanxi Province. Surface water shortage was the bottleneck of nature suitability for human settlement in northern Shaanxi and northern Guanzhong, while high altitudes and wavy terrains were the bottleneck of nature suitability for human settlement in the Qinling-Daba mountains and Loess Plateau. Lack of water and sparse vegetation were the main natural restriction to human suitability in wind-eroded areas of northern Shaanxi.

Key words: nature suitability for human settlement, climate, terrain, landuse/cover, water, Shaanxi Provinc