Table of Content

    20 May 2017, Volume 8 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Overview on China’s Rare Earth Industry Restructuring and Regulation Reforms
    SHEN Lei, WU Na, ZHONG Shuai, GAO Li
    2017, 8 (3):  213-222.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.001
    Abstract ( )   HTML ( )   PDF (474KB) ( )   Save
    Rare earth elements (REEs) that are key to new technologies and green innovations are critical to life in modern societies. China continues to dominate the global REEs market despite several international trade disputes and market fluctuations. Pressured by an increasingly difficult situation, the Chinese government has been carrying out industry restructuring and has introduced regulatory reforms in recent years to promote the healthy development of the rare earth industry. This paper reviews the literature on the development of the rare earth industry and analyzes the reform policies, combining this with an analysis of relevant macroeconomic data. It discusses the current status of China's rare earth industry, the progress of industrial restructuring and the main problems the rare earth industry faces. The paper discusses the evolution of rare earth policies from that of "open production and open supply" to that of "limiting low quality development but encouraging export of high quality rare earths" and then to "integrating rare earth resources trade". Six key policies, including those for export quotas, export duties, environmental laws, resource utilization technology, industry consolidation and stockpiling, are discussed in detail. Policy suggestions based on this discussion are put forward concerning the treatment of small rare earth mines in China: firstly, robust efforts to prevent illegal mining must always be maintained; secondly, it is certain that the formation of large-scale conglomerates should be accelerated in the near future; thirdly, the management of key sections should be reinforced; fourthly, support for technological innovation and the development of the applications industry should continue; fifthly, specific rare earths laws and regulations should be greatly improved. The paper also puts forward some suggestions on revisions to improve mineral resources law: firstly, China must increase the market access threshold and suppress low-end excess production capacity; secondly, the new environmental protection verification must be developed for all rare earth enterprises; thirdly, minimum required indicators for the development and utilization of rare earths resources must be implemented in China. These recommendations can serve as a reference for efforts to promote the sustainable development of China's rare earth industry.
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    A Review and Implication of Land Fallow System Research
    WU Qing, XIE Hualin
    2017, 8 (3):  223-231.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.002
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    Land fallow is of great significance for undertaking land reclamation, safeguarding national food security, promoting environmental improvements and ensuring the sustainable use of land resources. This paper reviews the important achievements in three areas of research on the land fallow system. It reviews and compares the land fallow system in different countries and regions of the world; it examines the response of farmers to the land fallow system and ecological environment; and it looks at the economic effects of the land fallow system. Based on China's rotation system for cultivated land, some relevant policy implications are put forward. Based on the different degrees of land damage, the evaluation system and the subsidy accounting standard for fallow land are formulated, and the compulsory fallow and voluntary participation of the niche fallow are targeting. The land fallow system should improve both the regulatory and the restraint mechanisms, improve the environmental awareness and environmental protection skills of farmers, change the production behaviors of farmers, and encourage farmers to change to high coverage crops to protect the land. In view of the negative effects produced by implementation of the fallow system should take corresponding management and compensation measures.
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    A Comparative Assessment of Land Use Functions Based on Perceptions of Policy Makers and Local Farmers in Guyuan, Western China
    WANG Chao, ZHEN Lin
    2017, 8 (3):  232-241.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.003
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    The land use function (LUF) concept is a useful tool in assessing sustainable development. With the goal of exploring the conceptive difference of policy makers and local farmer on LUFs and understanding the capacity of different land use types to provide LUFs, we used a participatory method to assess LUFs in Guyuan, which included four phases: literature review and field surveys; specification of the LUF context; ranking of priorities and weighting of LUFs; and visualization and discussion of the results. It was found that policy makers perceived regional problems and critical LUFs well, whereas farmers had a clearer perception of local issues that affect their livelihood. For policy makers, environmental functions had a higher priority than economic and social functions; in contrast, farmers prioritized economic and social functions. However, based on the perception of both groups, the result was the same whereby environmental functions had the highest LUF value and economic functions had the lowest. Participatory assessment methods enhanced our understanding of causal linkages between land use and LUFs, and may help stakeholders improve future land use decisions and management for regional sustainable development.
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    The Evaluation of Rural Territorial Functions: A Case Study of Henan, China
    FU Chao
    2017, 8 (3):  242-250.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.004
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    China’s new urbanization process requires coordinated development between cities and rural areas. Territorial functions of rural areas are defined as advantageous effects on nature and human society that, in particular, rural systems perform via their property and interactions with other systems at certain social development stages. This paper establishes an index system for evaluating rural territorial functions including agricultural function, social function, economic function and ecological function. By establishing a model based on a General Regression Neural Network (GRNN) with the county-level as the basic unit, we comprehensively evaluate the rural territorial functions of 109 counties and/or cities in Henan province, China in 2000, 2005 and 2010. Results show that compared with that in 2000, each function in 2010 improved, with the spatial heterogeneity of economic function the most evident, social service function comparatively balanced and spatial distribution of agricultural production function changing little. Cluster analysis was adopted to study the major functions of rural regions. Henan was divided into six major function zones to enhance administrative management and developmental policy. The six major function zones are Type I (core economic development zone), Type II (agricultural production safeguarding zone), Type III (function improving zone for rural areas), Type IV (model zone of livelihood and social services), Type V (economic restructuring and development zone), and Type VI (nature conservation areas). Different development goals and development strategies should be considered according to different major function areas to achieve the coordinated development of urban and rural areas in China.
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    A New Approach for the Health Assessment of River Systems Based on Interconnected Water System Networks
    ZHAO Junkai, LI Lixian, ZHANG Aishe, LI Jiufa, GUO Qiuxia
    2017, 8 (3):  251-257.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.005
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    Interconnected river system networks is a national water conservancy strategy in China and focus of research. Here we discuss the classification system, material and energy exchange between rivers and lakes, various dynamic flows and ecological functions of river-lake interconnected relationships. We then propose a novel method for the health assessment of river systems based on interconnected water system networks. In a healthy river system there is “material and energy exchange” and it is the first and foremost relationship of material and energy exchange between rivers and lakes. There are unobstructed various “flows” between rivers and lakes including material flows (water, dissolved substances, sediments, organisms and contaminants), energy flows (water levels, flow and flow velocity), information flows (information generated with water flows, organisms and human activities) and value flows (shipping, power generation, drinking and irrigation). Under the influences of nature and human activity, various flows are connected by river-lake interconnection to carry material and energy exchange between rivers and lakes to achieve river-lake interactions. The material and energy exchange between rivers and lakes become one of the approaches and the direct driving forces of changes in river-lake interconnected relationships. The benignant changes in river-lake interconnected relationship tend to be in relatively steady state and in ideal dynamic balance.
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    Enzyme Activities and Microbial Communities in Subtropical Forest Soil Aggregates to Ammonium and Nitrate-Nitrogen Additions
    WEI Yan, WANG Zhongqiang, ZHANG Xinyu, YANG Hao, LIU Xiyu, LIU Wenjing
    2017, 8 (3):  258-267.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.006
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    A laboratory incubation experiment was established to examine the impacts of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen additions on soil microbial attributes of a subtropical Pinus elliottii forest ecosystem in southern China. Soils were subjected to three different treatments: the control with no nitrogen addition (CK), the ammonium nitrogen addition (NH4+-N), and the nitrate nitrogen addition (NO3--N). Samples from bulk and two different size fractions (macroaggregate (>250 μm) and microaggregate (53-250 μm)) were analyzed for soil properties, enzyme activities and microbial communities on day 7 and 15 of the incubation. Our study demonstrated that NH4+-N had a greater influence on soil microbial activities than NO3--N. NH4+-N additions resulted in significant increases in β-1,4-glucosidase (βG) and β-1,4-N-acetyl glucosaminidase (NAG) enzyme activities in bulk, macroaggregate and microaggregate soils after 7 and 15 days incubation. NO3--N additions only significantly increased in βG and NAG enzyme activities in bulk, macroaggregate soils after 7 and 15 days incubation, but not in microaggregate. All NH4+-N and NO3--N additions resulted in significant increases in gram-positive bacterial PLFAs in microaggregates. Only a significant correlation between soil nutrient contents and enzyme activities in macroaggregates was founded, which suggests that the soil aggregation structure played an important role in the determining enzyme activities.
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    The Spatio-temporal Pattern of Regional Land Use Change and Eco-environmental Responses in Jiangsu, China
    LV Ligang, LI Yongle, SUN Yan
    2017, 8 (3):  268-276.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.007
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    Land use change and its eco-environmental responses are foci in geographical research. As a region with uneven economic development, land use change and eco-environmental responses across Jiangsu Province are relevant to China’s overall development pattern. The external function of regional land use changes during different stages of economic development. In this study, we proposed a novel classification system based on the dominant function of land use according to “production-ecology-life”, and then analyzed land use change and regional eco-environmental responses from a functional perspective of regional development. The results showed that from 1985 to 2008, land use change features in Jiangsu were that productive land area decreased and ecological and living land areas increased. Land use changes in southern Jiangsu were the most dramatic. In southern and central parts of Jiangsu the agricultural production function weakened and urban life service function strengthened; in northern Jiangsu, the mining production function’s comparative advantage highlighted that the rural life service function was weakening. Ecological environmental quality decreased slightly in Jiangsu and its three regions. The maximum contribution rate to ecological environmental change occurred in southern Jiangsu and the minimum rate was located in the north. Eco-environmental quality deteriorated in southern and central Jiangsu, related to expanding construction land in urban and rural areas. Ecological environmental quality deterioration in northern Jiangsu is probably due to land development and consolidation. The main reason for improvements in regional ecological environments is that agricultural production land was converted to water ecological land across Jiangsu.
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    Urban Expansion and Spatiotemporal Relationships with Driving Factors Revealed by Geographically Weighted Logistic Regression
    DONG Guanglong, XU Erqi, ZHANG Hongqi
    2017, 8 (3):  277-286.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.008
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    Urbanization improves our lives but also threatens human health and sustainable development. Revealing the spatiotemporal pattern of urban expansion and spatiotemporal relationships with driving forces, especially in terms of the ubiquitous and fast growing small city, is a crucial prerequisite to solving these problems and realizing sustainable development. Kunshan, China was used as a case study here. Eleven variables from four aspects covering physical, socioeconomic, accessibility and neighborhood were selected, and logistic regression and geographically weighted logistic regression modeling were employed to explore spatiotemporal relationships from 1991-2014. Results reveal that urban expansion in Kunshan shows an accelerating tendency with annual expansion from 2000-2014 four times higher than for 1991-2000. More importantly, the annual expansion rate of Kunshan of 28.42% in 2000-2014 is higher than that of a large city. Urban expansion and related factors have spatiotemporal varying relationships. From a global perspective, the closer to a city, town, main road and the higher the GDP, the more likely a region will undergo urbanization. Interestingly, the effect of population on urban expansion is decreasing, especially in developed areas, and the effect of distance to lake is enhanced. From a local perspective, the magnitude and even the sign of the coefficients vary across the study area. However, the range of the coefficient of GWLR is around that of the corresponding variable in LR, and the sign of most variables in GWLR is consistent with that of corresponding variables in LR. GWLR surpasses LR with the same explanatory variables in revealing regional differences and improving model reliability. Based on these findings, more attention should be given to small cities in China. Promoting the connotation of city culture and public services to realize New-type Urbanization and regional diversity policy in order to manage urban expansion scientifically are also recommended.
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    Factors Influencing Indigenous Rice Protection in the Yuanyang Terraced Rice Fields of China
    WANG Hongsong, WANG Yunyue
    2017, 8 (3):  287-295.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.009
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    Indigenous rice has maintained the survival of local people for more than a thousand years in the Yuanyang terraced rice fields of southern Yunnan, China. It is the foundation for long-term stable development of local agriculture and food security and its unique and irreplaceable characteristics give the terraces value. The status of indigenous rice resources is threatened by serious loss, so a better understanding of rice diversity and the factors that influence rice variety protection is conducive to policy. Here, we investigate the planting and conservation situation of indigenous rice, analyze factors impacting the protection and loss of traditional rice varieties, and construct an indigenous rice protection influence index system. Controllable factors which have special meaning to the maintenance and management of local rice are identified and corresponding strategies for the protection and maintenance of indigenous rice are discussed.
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    The Status of Ammonia (NH3) Emissions and Achievements of Emissions Reduction Technology in Farmland Ecosystems
    YANG Wenzhu, JIAO Yan, JIA Yongqin
    2017, 8 (3):  296-303.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.010
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    NH3 is one of the leading causes of grey haze, and one of the main causes of serious ecological imbalances that result in environmental problems such as acid rain and air quality deterioration. At present, excessive fertilizer application greatly intensifies NH3 emissions intensity on farmland. In order to understand status and achievements of research on farmland NH3 emissions, the literature of farmland NH3 emission-related studies was retrieved from SCI journals and the Chinese science citation database. These are summarized with respect to the research progress on NH3 emission factors and emission reduction technologies. The future research direction of field NH3 emission and emission reduction technology need to strengthen the field observation on different soil environment and crop types, and understand the effect of NH3 emission on fertilizer application period and the proportion, temperature and organic fertilizer management in farmland mainly. The research results can provide more information about the factors that influence NH3 emissions. This study offers theoretical guidance and support directed at mitigating farmland NH3 emissions in the future.
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    Medicinal Plants Harvesting in Wolong National Nature Reserve
    TAN Hong, CHENG Yuehong, QIAO Maiju, YANG Panyan, HE Mingwu
    2017, 8 (3):  304-312.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2017.03.011
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    A combination of sample surveys and questionnaires were used to investigate the harvesting of wild medicinal plants (WMP) in Wolong National Nature Reserve (WNNR) from August 2014 to July 2015. These surveys showed that up to 20 families and 45 species of WMP were harvested in WNNR. Gastrodia elata, Paris polyphylla, Fritillaria thun-bergli, Rheum officinale, Rhodiola rosea, Saussurea medusa, Notopterygium root, Radix Ginseng, Buddha’s palm were harvested intensely. The harvesting, which occurred mainly in autumn and winter (from June to October) in the test area, buffer area and core area, was located mostly in the residential and crop production areas of Wolong Town and Gengda Town, and in the timberline, alpine meadows and scree areas of Dengshenggou Ravine and Balangshan Mountain (specifically in Dengshenggou, Tangfang, Tizigou Ravine, Weijiagou Ravine and Reshuihe River areas). Among all the harvesters, 58% came from inside the WNNR, and 42% came from outside the WNNR; 87% were male, and 13% were female; 6% were under the age of 18, 69% were 19-45 years old, 19% were 46-65 years old, 6% were over 66 years old. The main purpose of harvesting was commercial sale to increase household income. Based on the analysis and discussion of the results, comprehensive management measures were introduced to strengthen the awareness and efficacy of laws and regulations, integrate the enforcement of these laws, establish and strengthen inspections. Skills training and the domestication of the wild medicinal materials were used to encourage the surplus labor force to avoid excessive harvesting and move into other agricultural endeavors.
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