Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2010, Vol. 65 ›› Issue (11): 1411-1420.doi: 10.11821/xb201011011

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The Impact of Human Factors on the Environment in Gannan Pasturing Area

ZHAO Xueyan   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2010-01-08 Revised:2010-07-24 Online:2010-11-20 Published:2010-11-20
  • Supported by:

    National Social Science Foundation, No.10CYJ014; Science & Technology Foundation of Ministry of Education, No.210231


Gannan pasturing area, located in the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, is a typical ecological sensitive area. We discern the impact of various human factors on the environment in order to find the measures to solve the complex environment problems. In this paper, the ecological footprint is taken as the index of the environmental impact. First of all, we calculate the ecological footprint from 1980 to 2007, distinguish the key human factors and analyze their characteristics. Then, we use the STIRPAT model to simulate the impact of the different human factors on the environment, such as population, affluence level, grassland utilization intensity, livelihood strategy and urbanization level. The results are obtained as follows: (1) The ecological footprint and per capita ecological footprint show an upward tendency from 1980 to 2007 in this area, which is consistent with the ecological footprint of biological resource, and its correlation coefficient reaches 0.996; (2) The intensity of ecological footprint shows a downward tendency, which coincides with the intensity of the ecological footprint of biological resource, and its correlation coefficient is 0.978; (3) Population and the intensity of grassland utilization are the two main drivers influencing the environment and the changing rate of the environment caused by them goes farther ahead of the changes of these two factors. The affluence level also exerts impact on the environment, but the changing rate of the environment is lower than that of the affluence level. Meanwhile, improving the livelihood strategy and enhancing the urbanization level will lower the impact on the environment; (4) The analytical result supports the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis within the range of data. Finally, this paper points out the problems which should be focused in the research of the impact of human factors on the environment.

Key words: human factors, environmental impact, ecological footprint, STIRPAT model, Gannan pasturing area