Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (12): 1666-1674.doi: 10.11821/xb201212008

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The Evolving Models of Rural Settlements and Population Distribution in Karst Mountains

LI Yangbing1,2, LUO Guangjie3, SHAO Jing'an2, CHENG Anyun4, WANG Cheng5, BAI Xiaoyong4   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 550001, China;
    2. School of Geography and Tourism, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 400047, China;
    3. School of Geography and Tourism, Guizhou Normal College, Guiyang 550018, China;
    4. National Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Geochemistry Institute, CAS, Guiyang 550002, China;
    5. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2012-01-20 Revised:2012-05-28 Online:2012-12-20 Published:2012-12-20
  • Supported by:

    Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University, No.NCET-05-0819;MOE Layout Foundation of Humanities and Social Sciences, No.11YJC- ZH120;Social Development Scientific Research Programs of Guizhou, No.2011-3076

Abstract: The typical fengcong depression (peak-cluster depression landscape) and its surrounding areas in the central part of Guizhou Plateau, Southwest China, which lies in the centre of the Southeast Asian karst region, was selected as the study area. A quantitative analysis of the settlement spatial pattern changes was made in village landscape scale coupled with variation process between settlements and population, based on high-precision images in 1963, 1978, 2005 and 2010, and rural household surveys. This paper aims to clarify the evolving model and mechanism of settlements and population in the karst mountains. During the period 1963-2010, the evolution process of rural settlements and population are shown as follows. (1) Some center villages and towns had formed, which developed faster compared with other settlement patches, although the number of settlement patches increased at the same time. (2) The settlements with better natural conditions, roads and bigger initial scales were given a priority to development. (3) The small settlements distributed in the fengcong depression with worse accessibility disappeared or tended to be hollowed villages, due to the emigration of local households to other regions. (4) In the spontaneous changing course of the rural settlements and population, some areas with degraded rocky desertification have been rehabilitated by the reduction of artificial disturbance, but some high quality arable land was occupied by the construction of settlements. It can be concluded that the attraction of accessibility and center villages increase, while the influence of cropland weakens the evolving of rural settlement obviously in the central part of karst mountains of Guizhou.

Key words: karst mountains, rural settlements, population, evolving model