The famous ‘Hu Line’, proposed by Hu Huanyong in 1935, divided China into two regions (southeast and northwest) of comparable area size but drastically different in population. However, the classic Hu Line was derived manually in absence of reliable census data and computational technologies of modern days. It has been subject to criticism of lack of scientific rigor and accuracy. This research uses a GIS-automated regionalization method, termed REDCAP (Regionalization with Dynamically Constrained Agglomerative Clustering and Partitioning), to reconstruct the demarcation line based on the 2010 county-level census data in China. The results show that the logarithmic transformation of population density is a better measure of attributive homogeneity in derived regions than density itself, and produces two regions of nearly identical area size and greater contrast in population. Specifically, the revised Hu Line by Hu Huanyong in 1990 had the southeast region with 94.4% of total population and 42.9% of total land, and our delineation line yields a southeast region with 97.4% population and 50.8% land. Therefore, the population density ratio of the two regions is 27.1 by our line, much higher than the ratio of 22.4 by the Hu Line, and thus outperforms the Hu Line in deriving regions of maximum density contrast with comparable area size. Furthermore, more regions are delineated to further advance our understanding of population distribution disparity in China.
Coastal depth is an important research focus of coastal waters and is also a key factor in coastal environment. Dongluo Island in South China Sea was taken as a typical study area. The band ratio model was established by using measured points and three multispectral images of Landsat-8, SPOT-6 (Systeme Probatoire d'Observation de la Terre, No.6) and WorldView-2. The band ratio model with the highest accuracy is selected for the depth inversion respectively. The results show that the accuracy of SPOT-6 image is the highest in the inversion of coastal depth. Meanwhile, analyzing the error of inversion from different depth ranges, the accuracy of the inversion is lower in the range of 0-5 m because of the influence of human activities. The inversion accuracy of 5-10 m is the highest, and the inversion error increases with the increase of water depth in the range of 5-20 m for the three kinds of satellite images. There is no linear relationship between the accuracy of remote sensing water depth inversion and spatial resolution of remote sensing data, and it is affected by performance and parameters of sensor. It is necessary to strengthen the research of remote sensor in order to further improve the accuracy of inversion.
Vegetation is the main component of the terrestrial ecosystem and plays a key role in global climate change. Remotely sensed vegetation indices are widely used to detect vegetation trends at large scales. To understand the trends of vegetation cover, this research examined the spatial-temporal trends of global vegetation by employing the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) time series (1982-2015). Ten samples were selected to test the temporal trend of NDVI, and the results show that in arid and semi-arid regions, NDVI showed a deceasing trend, while it showed a growing trend in other regions. Mann-Kendal (MK) trend test results indicate that 83.37% of NDVI pixels exhibited positive trends and that only 16.63% showed negative trends (P < 0.05) during the period from 1982 to 2015. The increasing NDVI trends primarily occurred in tree-covered regions because of forest growth and re-growth and also because of vegetation succession after a forest disturbance. The increasing trend of the NDVI in cropland regions was primarily because of the increasing cropland area and the improvement in planting techniques. This research describes the spatial vegetation trends at a global scale over the past 30+ years, especially for different land cover types.
Since the industrial revolution, human activities have both expanded and intensified across the globe resulting in accelerated land use change. Land use change driven by China's development has put pressure on the limited arable land resources, which has affected grain production. Competing land use interests are a potential threat to food security in China. Therefore, studying arable land use changes is critical for ensuring future food security and maintaining the sustainable development of arable land. Based on data from several major sources, we analyzed the spatio-temporal differences of arable land among different agricultural regions in China from 2000 to 2010 and identified the drivers of arable land expansion and loss. The results revealed that arable land decreased by 5.92 million ha or 3.31%. Arable land increased in the north and decreased in the south of China. Urbanization and ecological restoration programs were the main drivers of arable land loss, while the reclamation of other land cover types (e.g., forest, grassland, and wetland) was the primary source of the increased arable land. The majority of arable land expansion occurred in the Northwest, but the centroid for grain production moved to northeast, which indicated that new arable land was of poor quality and did not significantly contribute to the grain production capacity. When combined with the current ‘Red Line of Arable Land Policy’ (RAL) and ‘Ecological Redline Policy’ (EPR), this study can provide effective information for arable land policymaking and help guide the sustainable development of arable land.
Urban areas and its evolution are important anthropogenic indicators and human ecological footprints, and play decisive roles in environmental change analysis, global geo-conditional monitoring, and sustainable development. China has the highest rate of urban expansion and has emerged as an urban expansion hotspot worldwide. In this paper, the progress of studies on Chinese urban expansion based on remote sensing technology are summarized and analyzed from the aspects of urban area definition, remotely sensed imagery applied in urban expansion, monitoring methods of urban expansion, and urban expansion applications. Existing issues and future direc-tions of Chinese urban expansion are discussed and proposed. Results indicate that:1) The fusion of multi-source remotely sensed imagery is imperative to meet the needs of urban expansion with various monitoring terms and frequencies on different scales and dimensions. 2) To guarantee the classification accuracy and efficiency and describe urban expansion and its influences on local land use simultaneously, the combination of visual interpretation and automatic classification is the tendency of future monitoring methods of urban areas. 3) Urban expansion data have become the prerequisite for recognizing the urban development process, excavating its driving forces, simulating and predicting the future development directions, and also is conducive to revealing and explaining urban ecological and environmental issues. 4) In the past decades, Chinese scholars have promoted the application of remote sensing technology in the urban expansion field, with data construction, methods and models developing from the quotation stage to improvement and innovation stage; however, an independent and consistent urban expansion data on the national scale with long-term and high-frequency (such as annual monitoring) monitoring is still lacking.
This study aimed to accurately study the intra-annual spatiotemporal variation in the surface urban heat island intensities (SUHIIs) in 1449 cities in China. First, China was divided into five environmental regions. Then, the SUHIIs were accurately calculated based on the modified definitions of the city extents and their corresponding nearby rural areas. Finally, we explored the spatiotemporal variation of the mean, maximum, and minimum values, and ranges of SUHIIs from several aspects. The results showed that larger annual mean daytime SUHIIs occurred in hot-humid South China and cold-humid northeastern China, and the smallest occurred in arid and semiarid west China. The seasonal order of the SUHIIs was summer > spring > autumn > winter in all the temperate regions except west China. The SUHIIs were obviously larger during the rainy season than the dry season in the tropical region. Nevertheless, significant differences were not observed between the two seasons within the rainy or dry periods. During the daytime, the maximum SUHIIs mostly occurred in summer in each region, while the minimum occurred in winter. A few cold island phenomena existed during the nighttime. The maximum SUHIIs were generally significantly positively correlated with the minimum SUHIIs during the daytime, nighttime and all-day in all environmental regions throughout the year and the four seasons. Moreover, significant correlation scarcely existed between the daytime and nighttime ranges of the SUHIIs. In addition, the daytime SUHIIs were also insignificantly correlated with the nighttime SUHIIs in half of the cases.
Characteristics of air pollution in Northeast China (NEC) received less research attention in the past comparing to other heavily polluted regions in China. Spatiotemporal variations of six criteria air pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NO2, O3 and CO) in Central Liaoning Urban Agglomeration (CLUA) and Harbin-Changchun Urban Agglomeration (HCUA) in NEC Plain were analyzed in this study based on three-year hourly observations of air pollutants and meteorological variables from 2015 to 2017. The results indicated that the annual mean concentrations of air pollutants are generally higher in the middle and southern regions in NEC Plain and lower in the northern region. Megacities such as Shenyang, Harbin and Changchun experience severe air pollution, with a three-year averaged air quality index (AQI) larger than 80, far exceeding the daily AQI standard at the first-level of 50 in China. The annual mean PM and SO2 concentrations decrease most significantly in NEC urban agglomerations from 2015 to 2017, followed by CO and NO2, while O3 shows a slight increasing trend. All the six pollutants exhibit obvious seasonal and diurnal variations, and these variations are dictated by local emission and meteorological conditions. PM2.5 and O3 concentrations in NEC urban agglomerations strongly depend on wind conditions. High O3 concentrations at different cities usually occur in presence of strong winds but are independent on wind direction (WD), while high PM2.5 is usually accompanied by weak winds and poor dispersion condition, and sometimes also occur when the northerly or southerly winds are strong. Regional transport of air pollutants between NEC urban agglomerations is common. A severe haze event on November 1-4, 2017 is examined to demonstrate the role of regional transport on pollution.
Forest can be taken as a natural therapy to alleviate perceived anxiety of visitors. Given the geographical difference between urban and rural forest environments, little is known about the urban forest therapy effect of anxiety alleviation with reference to the rural forest. In this study, forty-three university students (aged from 19 to 23) were recruited as participants to visit the forest parks at urban and rural areas of Guiyang City on 21 and 23 December 2016. The forest experience was separated by four sceneries. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires by self-evaluating specific anxiety change from 12 questions with scores from 1 to 10 at both entrance and exit of the parks. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test and paired t-test were used to compare the change of anti-anxiety scores during forest bathing and between urban and rural forests, respectively. Results revealed that forest bathing in the urban park can alleviate the anxiety from financial state (P=0.0028), exam-pass pressure (P=0.0040) and love-affair relationship (P=0.0286). Although rural forest bathing can also alleviate the anxiety from financial state (P=0.0222), meanwhile, it maintained the anxiety about campus life (P < 0.0001). Forest tree richness tended to be higher in the rural forest park than in the urban one, which in contrast decreased the anxiety alleviation from inter-communication in the rural forest park (P=0.0487). Principle component analysis indicated that participants tended to perceive more decline of anxiety from social contact in the urban forest. In conclusion, university students were recommended to pay a short visit to the urban forest with partners if they felt anxious about personal affairs and felt necessary to talk with others. For general people's visiting, urban forest trees can be controlled in diversity to some extent to look orderly and alleviate perceived anxiety.
The relationship between China's urbanization and economic development (RCUED) is an important concern nationwide. As important actors in regional strategy and policy, county-level regions have played an increasingly significant role in the development of China's social economy. However, the existing research on the RCUED lacks the fine depiction of the county-level administrative units. Using 2000 and 2010 census data and the statistical analysis method, we uncovered the evolution characteristics of China's urbanization and economic development and conducted a quantitative identification for the RCUED with improved methods using the quadrant map approach. In addition, we investigated the spatial correlation effect of the RCUED using the spatial autocorrelation analysis method. The results were as follows:1) In general, a high degree of matching exists between China's urbanization and economic development at the county level at the significance level of 0.01. The correlation coefficients between China's urbanization and economic development in 2000 and 2010 were 0.608 and 0.603, respectively. 2) A significant regional difference exists in the RCUED at the county level. Based on a comparative analysis of 2276 county units in China in the two years, we found that county units can be categorized as under-urbanized, basic coordination and over-urbanized in various areas. No situation was observed where urbanization seriously lagged behind the economic development level, so the levels of urbanization and economic development appear to be basically coordinated, and the coordination state may be gradually optimized over time. 3) Over time, the spatial dependency of the RCUED has weakened and the spatial heterogeneity has increased. Northeast China has always been an area characterized by over-urbanization. The number of county units classified as under-urbanized has begun to decline in eastern coastal urban agglomeration areas, while counties rich in resources have transformed from having point-shaped over-urbanization to plane-shaped under-urbanization along the northern border, and the number of over-urbanized county units has increased in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. 4) ‘Lag-lag’ type and ‘advance-advance’ type accounted for 68% of all counties in China, and these counties were shown to have obvious spatial differentiation characteristics.
The location pattern of different commercial stores in Shichahai, a historic conservation area in Beijing, was investigated from a street centrality perspective. Many previous studies have investigated the relationship between street centrality and land use patterns or commercial activities at interurban or intraurban scales. We considered Shichahai in this study to determine if street centrality applied at the street scale and if the street network was the only factor influencing the selection of store location. First, the nearest neighbor index, nearest neighbor hierarchical spatial cluster (NNHSC), and kernel density estimation (KDE) methods were used to provide baseline spatial distributions of commercial stores. Second, urban network analysis (UNA) tools were used to measure the street centrality indices under two conditions, with and without the weighting of cultural relics calculated by a principal component analysis (PCA). Finally, both store locations and centrality values at nodes were transformed to one unit (raster pixel) for a correlation analysis. The results showed that three of the four store types were clustered and had their own hotspots that were mostly located in the eastern and central parts of city blocks. The most momentous findings were determined from the street centrality indices. Among the three store types with correlation coefficients above 0.5, all centrality indices with landmark weighting, except straightness, had higher correlations, with closeness with landmark weighting having the highest correlation, followed by betweenness with landmark weighting. Therefore, we statistically concluded that street centrality could apply at the street scale and that the street network was not the only factor that influenced store location pattern, with landmarks also playing a significant role. The results provide guidance in determining the selection strategy for stores in a historic conservation area.
Physical geography is the cornerstone of geography. In this article, the starting points of disciplines in physical geography in recent years in China are discussed. With the coupling of systems set as the research object, and sustainable development as the ultimate goal, the upgrade of physical geography can be deconstructed into three steps:deepen physical geography from the perspective of pattern-process coupling, improve the focus of physical geography from ecosystem processes to ecosystem services, and increase the understanding of the physical geography ‘pattern, process, service, sustainability’ research cascade. The incorporation of human activities into physical geographic processes is essential to conduct integrated analysis on physical and human factors at different scales. The development of ecosystem service models that couple supply-demand and sustainable development are of great importance to bridge the role of ecosystem services between the natural environment and human well-being. Moreover, human-land systems and sustainable development have become the core areas and frontiers of integrated physical geography and even geography in general. China faces the great strategic demand of constructing an ecological civilization in a new era, and the development of the disciplines of physical geography should give full access to the advantages of intersecting and comprehensive disciplines, focus on the human-land system patterns, processes, and services in key research areas, and provide disciplinary support for regional, national, and global sustainable development.
Coastal regions are threatened by natural processes, such as erosion driven by storm surges and the effect of jetties, as well as by human behavior. The coastline of the Yellow River Delta (YRD) was monitored using the general high-tide line method, which combines Remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) technology, using multi-spectral scanner (MSS), thematic mapper (TM), and enhanced thematic mapper plus (ETM+) images of the YRD from 1976 to 2014 as a data source. The results demonstrated that the shape and length of the YRD coastline has changed dramatically since 1976. The course of the Diaokouhe channel has resulted in mainly inland erosion in the north, and is primarily marine erosion; therefore, it was termed an erosion-type estuary. However, the coastline of the Qingshuigou course has moved seaward, demonstrating an accretion stage, and was therefore termed an accretion-type estuary. The coastline advanced forward before 1997 and shrank after 2003 in the southern part of the river mouth, which was due to the shift in the river mouth in 1996. It has continually extended outward in the northern part of the river mouth from 2003 onward. The coastline in the southern part of the river mouth has moved randomly, with the occurrence of both erosion and sedimentation caused by land reclamation and sea wave intrusion. In most cases, the coastline has extended offshore, especially in the northern part of the river mouth. The YRD coastline has changed frequently and rapidly from 1992 to 2014. The river mouth channel, river water and sediments, and precipitation were the major factors affecting the YRD. The YRD coastline was mainly in an accretion stage during flow periods. The erosion rate decreased and tended to be stable during a dry period. The coastline was basically stable when dry periods occurred over a long period. The location of Yellow River ports and sea erosion were the main factors driving coastline changes. The coastline was mainly influenced by the flow path of the Yellow River, with recent human activity also becoming a factor.
Dam removal has been increasingly reported globally and is becoming an important approach for river management, restoration and environmental conservation in damming rivers. However, current limited knowledge of global trends in dam removal and related research may be potentially biased in terms of the geographic distribution and organisms studied. Such bias could mislead dam removal planning and management in different areas and ecological conservation for different taxa. In this study, we quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed datasets of dam removal and publications of dam removal research using bibliometric methods. A total of 1449 dam removal documents were published from 1953 to 2016. Trends, current hotspots and future directions of dam removal research were identified. The results from this study reveal that dam removal largely occurred in the North America and Europe, and most of the removed dams were small and old dams. With respect to the topic analysis, more dam removal studies should focus on the responses of a wide range of organisms, not only fish, as well as the interspecies relationships, food webs and ecosystem structures and functions. Based on our findings, we also provide some suggestions for future dam removal planning and analysis.
Understanding the temporal variations of extreme floods that occur in response to climate change is essential to anticipate the trends in flood magnitude and frequency in the context of global warming. However, long-term records of paleofloods in arid regions are scarce, thus preventing a thorough understanding of such events. In this study, a reconstruction of paleofloods over the past 300 years was conducted through an analysis of grain sizes from the sediments of Kanas Lake in the Altay Mountains of northwestern China. Results showed that grain parameters and frequency distributions can be used to infer possible abrupt environmental events within the lake sedimentary sequence, and two extreme flood events corresponding to ca. 1736-1765 AD and ca. 1890 AD were further identified based on canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) and coarse percentile versus median grain size (C-M) pattern analysis, both of which occurred during warmer and wetter climate conditions by referring to tree-ring records. These two flood events are also evidenced by lake sedimentary records in the Altay and Tianshan mountains. Furthermore, through a comparison with other records, the flood event from ca. 1736-1765 AD in the study region seems to have occurred in both the arid central Asia and the Alps in Europe, and thus may have been associated with changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index.