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

  • College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China

Received date: 2010-01-08

  Revised date: 2010-07-24

  Online 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.

Cite this article

ZHAO Xueyan . The Impact of Human Factors on the Environment in Gannan Pasturing Area[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2010 , 65(11) : 1411 -1420 . DOI: 10.11821/xb201011011


[1] Xu Zhongmin, Zhong Fanglei, Jiao Wenxian. Expectation of the research on human factor's function in water-ecology-economy system. Advances in Earth Science, 2008, 23(7): 723-731.

[徐中民, 钟方雷, 焦文献. 水—生态— 经济系统中人文因素作用研究进展. 地球科学进展, 2008, 23(7): 723-731.]

[2] Yao Yubi, Deng Zhenyong, Yin Dong et al. Climatic changes and eco-environmental effects in the Yellow River important water source supply area of Gannan Plateau. Geographical Research, 2007, 26(4): 844-852.

[姚玉璧, 邓振镛, 尹东等. 黄 河重要水源补给区甘南高原气候变化及其对生态环境的影响. 地理科学, 2007, 26(4): 844-852.]

[3] Xu Zhongmin, Cheng Guodong. Framework to address human factors in a human-earth system. Science & Technology Review, 2008, 26(3): 86-92.

[徐中民, 程国栋. 人地系统中人文因素作用的分析框架探讨. 科技导报, 2008, 26(3): 86-92.]

[4] Wackernagel M, Onisto L, Bell P et al. National natural capital accounting with the ecological footprint concept. Ecological Economics, 1999, 29(3): 375-390.

[5] Wackernagel M, Monfreda C, Erb K H et al. Ecological footprint time series of Austria, the Philippines, and South Korea for 1961-1999: Comparing the conventional approach to an actual land area approach. Land Use Policy, 2004, 21: 261-269.

[6] Zhang Zhiqiang, Xu Zhongmin, Cheng Guodong et al. The ecological footprints of the 12 provinces of west China in 1999. Acta Geogrphica Sinica, 2001, 56(5): 599-610.

[张志强, 徐中民, 程国栋等. 中国西部12 省(区市)的生态足迹. 地理学 报, 2001, 56(5): 599-610.]

[7] Ehrlich P R, Holdrens J P. The impact of population growth. Science, 1971, 171: 1212-1217.

[8] Waggoner P R, Ausubel J H. A framework for sustainability science a renovated IPAT identity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2002, 99: 7860-7865.

[9] York R, Rosa E A, Dietz T. STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: Analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts. Ecological Economics, 2003, 23: 351-365.

[10] Coatanza R, Jorgensen S E. Understanding and Solving Environmental Problems in the 21st Century. Amsterdam: Elesiver, 2002.

[Costanza R, Jorgensen S E. 理解和解决21 世纪的环境问题. 徐中民, 张志强, 张齐兵等译. 郑州: 黄河 水利出版社, 2004.]

[11] Xu Zhongmin, Cheng Guodong. Impacts of population and affluence on environment in China. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 2005, 27(5): 767-771.

[徐中民, 程国栋. 中国人口和富裕对环境的影响. 冰川冻土, 2005, 27(5): 767-771.]

[12] Zhao Xueyan. Human dimensions of grassland degradation: A case study in Maqu County of Gansu Province. Resources Science, 2007, 29(5): 50-56.

[赵雪雁. 黄河首区地区草地退化的人文因素. 资源科学, 2007, 29(5): 50-56.]

[13] Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, Bai Wanqi et al. Grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006, 61(1): 3-14.

[张镱锂, 刘林山, 摆万奇等. 黄河源地区草地退化空间特征. 地理学报, 2006, 61(1): 3-14.]

[14] Zhang Liping, Zhang Yili, Yan Jianzhong et al. Livelihood diversification and cropland use pattern in agro-pastoral mountainous region of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2008, 63(4): 377-385.

[张丽萍, 张镱锂, 阎 建忠等. 青藏高原东部山地农牧区生计与耕地利用模式. 地理学报, 2008, 63(4): 377-385.]

[15] Yan Jianzhong, Zhang Yili, Zhu Huiyi et al. Residents' response to environmental degradation: Case studies from three villages in the upper Dadu river watershed. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006, 61(2): 146-156.

[阎建忠, 张镱锂, 朱会义等. 大渡河上游不同地带居民对环境退化的响应. 地理学报, 2006, 61(2): 146-156.]

[16] Zhao Xueyan. Research on the herds' perception of the environment in the high and cold pasturing area. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 2009, 29(5): 2427-2436.

[赵雪雁. 牧民对高寒牧区生态环境的感知. 生态学报, 2009, 29(5): 2427-2436.]

[17] Xu Zhongmin, Cheng Guodong, Qiu Guoyu. A renovated framework of sustainability assessment. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2005, 60(2): 198-208.

[徐中民, 程国栋, 邱国玉. 可持续性评价的一个新框架. 地理学报, 2005, 60(2): 198-208.]

[18] Thompson M, Ellis R,Wildavsk A. Cultural Theory. Oxford:West-view Press, 1990.

[19] Nan Wenyuan. The heritage of Tibetan eco-culture and ecological civilization construction of Tibet. Journal of Qinghai National Institute: Social Sciences, 2000, 26(4): 1-7.

[南文渊. 藏族生态文化的继承与藏区生态文明建设. 青海民族学 院学报: 社会科学版, 2000, 26(4): 1-7.]

[20] Gao Xincai, Jiang Anyin, Li Jingming. An institution explanation of "over-grazing" and institution design of a control system. Journal of Lanzhou University: Social Sciences, 2004, 32(7): 115-120.

[高新才, 姜安印, 李景铭.“过牧”的制度 解释及治理的制度设计. 兰州大学学报: 社会科学版, 2004, 32(7): 115-120.]

[21] Zhao Chengzhang, Long Ruijun. The impact of the institution of grassland property right on overgrazing. Acta Prataculture Sinica, 2005, 14(1): 1-5.

[赵成章, 龙瑞军. 草地产权制度对过度放牧的影响. 草业学报, 2005, 14(1): 1-5.]

[22] Long Aihua, Xu Zhongmin,Wang Xinhua et al. Impacts of population, affluence and technology on water footprint in China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 2006, 26(10): 3358-3367.

[龙爱华, 徐中民, 王新华等. 人口、富裕及技术对2000 年中国 水足迹的影响. 生态学报, 2006, 26(10): 3358 -3367.]

[23] Yuan Jianli, Jiang Xiaolei, Huang Wenbing et al. Effects of grazing intensity and grazing season on plant species diversity in alpine meadow. Acta Prataculturae Sinica, 2004, 13(3): 16-21.

[袁建立, 江小蕾, 黄文冰等. 放牧季节及放牧强度对高 寒草地植物多样性的影响. 草业学报, 2004, 13(3): 16-21.]

[24] Wang Jing. Effect of excessive grazing on grassland eco-system services valuation. Journal of Natural Resources, 2006, 21 (1): 109-117.

[王静. 过牧对草地生态系统服务价值的影响. 自然资源学报, 2006, 21 (1): 109-117.]

[25] Pretty J, Frank B R. Participation and social capital formation in natural resource management: Achievements and lessons// Plenary Paper for International Landcare 2000 Conference. Melbourne, Australia, 2000.

[26] Ann Dale, Jenny Onyx. A Dynamic Balance: Social Capital and Sustainable Community Development. British Columbia: UBC Press, 2005.

[27] Bebbington. Capital and capabilities: A framework for analyzing peasant viability, rural livelihoods and poverty. World Development, 1999, 22: 2021-2044.

[28] Bradstock A. Land reform and livelihoods in South Africa's Northern Cape Province. Land Use Policy, 2006, 23(3): 247-259.

[29] Ellis Frank. Household strategies and rural livelihood diversification. Journal of Development Studies, 1998, 35(1): 1-38.

[30] York R, Rosa E A, Dietz T. Bridging environmental science with environmental policy: Plasticity of population, affluence and technology. Social Science Quarterly, 2002, 83(1): 18-34.

[31] Ohlsson L.Water Conflicts and social resource scarcity. Physical Chemistry Earth (B), 2000, 25(3): 213-220.

[32] Ming Wenyi, Cai Rangjia, Dai Zheng. Urbanization: Essential way of the sustainable developments of western minorities pastoral areas. N.W. Journal of Ethnology, 2004, (3): 188-195.

[闵文义, 才让加, 戴正. 城镇化: 西部民族地区草原牧区 可持续发展的必由之路. 西北民族研究, 2004, (3): 188-195.]