Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (1): 3-15.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201901001

• Theoretical Frontiers •     Next Articles

Geographical synergetics: From understanding human-environmentrelationship to designing human-environment synergy

SHI Peijun1,2,3,4(),SONG Changqing1,2,3,CHENG Changxiu1,3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs&Ministry of Education, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    4. School of Geographical Science, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810016, China
  • Received:2018-07-17 Online:2019-01-18 Published:2019-01-18
  • Supported by:
    Creative Research Groups of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41621061;National Key Research Program of China, No.2016YFA0602404


From the perspective of achieving sustainable development in the world and building a community with a shared future for humankind in the "Anthropocene", and considering the complexity of the Earth's surface system, various disasters facing humanity, and future challenges of resource shortages and environmental risks, we proposed the development of "geographical synergy"—the mechanism, process and dynamics of the Earth's surface system and regional sustainability—in order to realize the transformation of geographical research from the explanation of human-environment relationship to the design of human-environment synergy. We discussed the scientific and technological questions of modern geography from the perspectives of integrating natural and social units, natural resources and natural disasters, achievements and faults of humans, and coupling of dynamic and non-dynamic processes and systems. We proposed the metrics of "consilience degree" as a measure of the complexity of integrated disaster reduction system based on the understanding of disaster system and the mechanism, process and dynamics of hazard and disaster formation. Using the principles of synergetic tolerance, synergetic constraint, synergetic amplification and synergetic diversification, we proposed to build an integrated disaster risk governance consilience model under the leadership of governments and with enterprises as the main body and the full participation of communities, with multiple optimization objectives of social consent maximization, cost minimization, welfare maximization, and risk minimization. Finally, we elaborated on the synergy of human and nature through "changing nature appropriately", with a case study on the Dujiangyan irrigation system, which enabled the win-win pattern of disaster reduction and benefit making.

Key words: Anthropocene, resources shortage, environmental risk, classical geographical theory, geographical synergetics, win-win pattern of disaster reduction and benefit making, region sustainability