Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (6): 1063-1078.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201906001

• Man-land Relationship •     Next Articles

Comprehensive evaluation on China's man-land relationship: Theoretical model and empirical study

YANG Yu1,2,LI Xiaoyun1,2,DONG Wen3,HONG Hui4,HE Ze1,2,JIN Fengjun1,2,LIU Yi1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
    4. China International Engineering Consulting Corporation, Beijing 100048, China
  • Received:2018-05-10 Revised:2019-03-08 Online:2019-06-25 Published:2019-06-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41430636);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571159);Key Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(KFZD-SW-314)


Relationship is a classic concern of geographical research, which is also a research field where China's human and economic geography has made notable contributions to international geographical research. The connotation of man-land relationship changes constantly during its dynamic evolution process. Therefore, a scientific evaluation on the status of modern man-land relationship in China is the basis for an accurate understanding of it with which paths of coordinating conflicts between man and land can be sought. Based on the territorial system theory of man-land relationship and a review of the new characteristics of modern man-land relationship in China, this study constructs a theoretical framework to make a comprehensive evaluation on man-land relations using the following four indicators: intensity of human activities, carrying capacity of core resources, ecological and environmental constraints, and openness of man-land system. Counties are taken as the basic spatial units in the evaluation. The following results are found: there are apparent differences between eastern and western China in terms of intensity of human activities and the distribution pattern of it follows the layout of core urban agglomerations; the carrying capacities of core resources take on a relatively dispersed spatial distribution; there is a high level of spatial mismatch between land, water, core energy resources, and the intensity of human activities, which intensifies the tension of regional man-land relationship; areas with strong ecological and environmental constrains are concentrated on both sides of the Heihe-Tengchong Line (also known as the Hu Huanyong Line) and in the southwestern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; overall, the level of openness of China's man-land system is not high, with relatively open areas mainly concentrated in economically developed regions. The evaluation results show that about 86% of the regions in China are faced an unstrained man-land relationship, but noticeable man-land conflicts are found in some areas, particularly in southeastern coastal areas. In the western region of China, man-land relationship is relatively unstrained though the level of man-land system evolution is low.

Key words: man-land relationship, comprehensive evaluation, theoretical model, intensity of human activities, carrying capacity of resources, ecological constraints, system openness, China