Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2012, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (4): 297-307.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2012.04.002

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Typical Ecotones in China

GAO Jixi1, LV Shihai2, ZHENG Zhirong2, LIU Junhui2   

  1. 1 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, Nanjing 210042, China;
    2 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-process and Function Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES), Beijing100012, China
  • Received:2012-05-24 Revised:2012-11-21 Online:2012-12-30 Published:2012-12-29
  • Supported by:

    Specific Research on Public Service of Environmental Protection in China (No. 201109025, No. 200909021), and the National Special Commonweal Study on Environmental Protection of China (No. 201209027).

Abstract: An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes or two different ecosystems and are often fragile, sensitive and variable. Since the 1970s, the study of the ecotone has increasingly gained notoriety as an important facet of ecological research. China, with a vast complex geology, climate and vegetation, is home to a variety of ecotones. This variety is witnessed in breeds, scales and sizes. This vast array has not only laid a solid foundation for scientific research but also enhanced China’s economic development, social development and cultural diversity conservation. According to the geographical distribution and ecological features of China’s large scale ecotone, “The trinity index system” has been established including land use types, natural climate characteristics and agricultural economic development to classify and define the spatial distribution of typical ecotones in China. Based on this classification, the natural environmental characteristics, environmental fragility and the existing problems of five kinds of typical ecotones have been studied. This study will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary patterns of ecotones.

Key words: ecotones, classification, characteristics, existing problems and countermeasures