Table of Content

    30 May 2023, Volume 14 Issue 3 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Carbon Emissions
    The Spatial-temporal Characteristics of PM2.5 Concentrations in Chinese Cities and the Influencing Factors
    LIU Qingqing, YU Hu, ZHANG Pengfei, LUO Qing
    2023, 14 (3):  433-444.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.001
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    Based on the scientific identification of urban built-up areas, the spatial and temporal characteristics of PM2.5 concentrations in Chinese cities during 2000-2015, and the factors influencing them, were analyzed by exploratory spatial analysis and spatial econometric models. The results showed that the concentration of PM2.5 in Chinese cities increased in an inverted “L” pattern during 2000-2015. However, the cities with high PM2.5 concentrations are characterized by large-scale agglomeration, and urban agglomeration is an urban agglomeration area with a high PM2.5 concentration. Specifically, the areas with high PM2.5 concentrations are affected by natural factors, social and economic factors and urban form factors which all work together. From 2000 to 2005, the annual average concentration of PM2.5 across all Chinese cities increased from 31.19 μg m-³ to 46.00 μg m-³, and small-scale high concentrations were densely concentrated at the intersection of Hebei, Shandong and Henan. From 2005 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2015, the annual average growth rate of the PM2.5 concentration in urban areas slowed down, with average levels of 47.67 μg m-³ in 2010 and 48.72 μg m-³ in 2015, representing increases of only 3.63% and 2.20%, respectively. In 2010, the high-concentration agglomeration areas expanded to include the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Central Yangtze River, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Chengdu Plain; while in 2015 they further expanded to the entire North China Plain, the Central Yangtze River, and the Harbin-Changchun region.

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    Industrial Upgrading, Total Factor Energy Efficiency and Regional Carbon Emission Reduction in China
    ZHU Meifeng, HAN Zeyu
    2023, 14 (3):  445-453.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.002
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    Based on the panel data of 30 provinces in China from 2000 to 2018, the mutual relationships and mechanisms of influence between industrial upgrading, total factor energy efficiency and regional carbon emission were investigated. The results show that the sophistication of industrial structure has a significant inhibitory effect on carbon emissions in all regions. The intensity of inhibition in different regions shows a sequence of “western > central > eastern”. The inhibitory effect of the rationalization of industrial structure on carbon emissions varies greatly among the different regions, with a significant restraining influence in the central and western regions, but much less influence in the eastern region. The inhibition of carbon emissions through the improvement of total factor energy efficiency is significant in all regions, and the inhibition intensity shows the sequence of “western > eastern > central”. Furthermore, the mediating effect test shows that the total factor energy efficiency in different regions has either a partial or complete mediating effect on the influence of industrial upgrading on carbon emission, so it can promote and strengthen the inhibitory effect of industrial upgrading on carbon emissions. Therefore, upgrading the industrial structure and improving the total factor energy efficiency are effective means to promote carbon emission reduction. Reducing carbon emissions by relying solely on industrial upgrading is not ideal, and it needs to be combined with improvements in the total factor energy efficiency to effectively promote carbon emission reduction.

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    Research on the Evolution Trend of Carbon Emissions under Exogenous Shocks: Evidences from Russia
    WAN Yongkun, ZHAO Xiaoliang, HAI Ruxin
    2023, 14 (3):  454-467.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.003
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    At present, carbon intensity in the economy has become a realistic problem faced by many countries. Decarbonization and green development have gradually become one of the main trends in the world, and major countries around the world have put forward carbon neutrality targets. Russia is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Therefore, under the current international situation of The Russia-Ukraine war and the exogenous impact on Russia’s economy and finance, it is of great significance to study Russia’s carbon emissions for Russia’s economic development, environmental protection and global green development. In recent years, Russia’s carbon intensity has remained high, which may be caused by several factors, such as the decline in actual investment level, single industrial structure, excessive dependence on oil and gas industry, external shocks to the Russian economy in 2014 and other macroeconomic factors. The purpose of this study is to identify trends in carbon intensity during the period of exogenous shocks to the Russian economy and financial sector from 2014 to 2018, and to explain the causes. First, the synthetic control method is used to examine the changes in Russia’s carbon intensity since 2014, and the results show that since 2014, Russia’s carbon intensity has increased significantly; Secondly, using the mediation effect analysis model to test the impact mechanism, it is found that since 2014, the Russian industrial structure has not been actively improved, but instead increased its dependence on the resource industry, thereby increasing carbon emissions. Combined with the tail effect analysis, Russia has faced significant economic pressure, and its carbon intensity is unlikely to return to the state before 2014 in the short term.

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    Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Development
    Ecosystem Services Valuation and Payment for Livelihood Sustainability in the Indian Central Himalayan Region
    Vishwambhar Prasad SATI
    2023, 14 (3):  468-478.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.004
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    This article examines the valuation and payment of ecosystem services for livelihood sustainability in the Indian Central Himalayan Region (ICHR). Data were gathered from both primary and secondary sources on biodiversity resources-tangible (goods) and intangible (services) as the Himalaya is a repository of these resources, also called ecosystem services. The ecosystem services are interlinked with the highlands (providers) and the lowlands (beneficiaries) and providing livelihoods to the large populations. Forests cover about 63% of the total geographical area with rich biodiversity. Water resources are abundant as about 42% of the national water need is met by the Ganga River and its tributaries that originate and flow through the region. The hydroelectricity generating capacity is about 30000 MW. The environmental sustainability index is high due to the clean and pollution-free environment. Agro-biodiversity is substantially high and therefore, several crop races/cultivars grow here, although, arable land is only 18%. However, the people of the highlands are unable to use these biodiversity resources optimally because of the rugged terrain, remoteness, and adverse situation. As a result, the people of the highlands are poor, facing acute malnutrition and food scarcity problems. Valuation of both tangible and intangible ecosystem services can be done and payment can be made. Taxes can be levied on the intangible resources mainly used by the downstream people and green bonuses can be paid to the upstream people.

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    Changes in the “Production-Living-Ecological Space” Pattern in the Interlocking Mountain and River Zones of the Yellow River Basin—Taking Xinxiang City as an Example
    ZOU Zeduo, YOU Mou, ZHAO Wei, FU Canfang, ZHANG Wenwen, HE Zhixiao
    2023, 14 (3):  479-492.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.005
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    Based on the land use data of Xinxiang City from 2010 to 2020, this study integrates the methods of dynamic degreetransfer matrix, landscape pattern index and geographical detector to explore the quantitative structural changes, mutual transformations and landscape pattern characteristics of the “production-living- ecological space” (PLES) in Xinxiang City, and also analyzes the driving factors that affect the characteristic changes to reveal the laws governing the changes in the PLES and the current land use process. The results of this study reveal four important aspects of this system. (1) The changes in the PLES in Xinxiang City have accelerated significantly, and the overall performance shows that the production space continues to decrease, the living space keeps increasing, and the ecological space changes are more stable. (2) Regarding the spatial transfer characteristics, the ecological space has mainly transformed to production space, and the production space has mainly transformed to living space. (3) The landscape pattern characteristics show that the landscape types in Xinxiang City are diversified in terms of their components. (4) The spatial differentiation of the PLES is influenced by the combined effect of socio-economic and natural factors. Based on the empirical research results, we can not only propose corresponding optimization strategies for the better utilization of the PLES in Xinxiang City, but also provide important scientific references for the high-quality development of the prefecture-level cities in the Yellow River Basin.

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    Variation of Water Conservation Function and Its Influencing Factors of Alpine Grasslands in Northern Tibet from 2000 to 2020
    SONG Qian, HE Yongtao, HUANG Fengrong, LI Meng
    2023, 14 (3):  493-501.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.006
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    With an average elevation of more than 4500 m, northern Tibet, known as the “roof of the world roof”, serves as the main body of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau’s ecological security barrier. However, the alpine grassland ecosystem in northern Tibet has suffered considerable alterations as a result of both climate change and overgrazing, and there is a degradation trend in some regions. In 2009, one ecological engineering, the Protection and Construction Project of Ecological Security Barrier in Tibet (hereafter referred to as the “Project”) was implemented to preserve the alpine ecosystem and restore service functions in the plateau. Water conservation is one of the most important service functions in alpine grassland ecosystem in northern Tibet, where is one part of the Asian Water Tower. To clarify the specific ecological benefits of the Project, this paper utilized the InVEST model to evaluate the variation trend of the water conservation function of alpine grasslands in northern Tibet before and after the implementation of the Project from 2000 to 2020, and contribution rate of climate change and the Project was also quantified. Results showed that: (1) Although the water conservation capacity of different grassland types in northern Tibet were varied, their water conservation function all altered dramatically after implementation of the Project. Specifically, the water yield has increased by 10.07%, and the water source supply service has increased by 8.86%. Among these grasslands, the alpine meadow had the highest increasing rate, water conservation capacity increased from -1.84 mm yr-1 to 2.24 mm yr-1 Followed by the alpine desert steppe and the alpine steppe, the rate of water conservation function were decreased significantly due to the Project. (2) Although climate is still the primary factor affecting the water conservation function of alpine grasslands in northern Tibet, the Project has effectively promoted the local water conservation function, with contribution rates of 13.99%, 8.75%, and 3.71% in the alpine meadow, alpine steppe and alpine desert steppe regions respectively.

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    Market-incentive Environmental Regulation and Urban Resilience: Heterogeneity and Influence Mechanisms
    LIU Yaqin, LI Min
    2023, 14 (3):  502-516.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.007
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    The market-incentive emission trading system is an important element for improving urban governance. The main objective of this study was to examine the hypothesis that market-incentive environmental regulations have an impact on urban resilience. The entropy method was used to construct six dimension-specific objectives to comprehensively portray the level of urban resilience, and then the double difference method and the moderation model were used to investigate the impact of market-incentive environmental regulation on urban resilience and its mechanisms. The results show that up to two-thirds of cities are at a low resilience level. Second, the emission trading system significantly enhances the resilience of cities over time. Moreover, the effects of energy saving and emission reduction, marketization level and innovation vitality are important mechanisms for improving the resilience of cities. Furthermore, the lower the degree of green development of the city itself, the more significant the effect of the emission trading system on improving the resilience of the city. For different types of resource-based cities, the enhancement effects on urban resilience are growth cities, regeneration cities, mature cities and declining cities in descending order. To improve the level of urban resilience, it is necessary to release the policy dividend of regional coordination and to deepen development according to regional endowment differences. Finally, the findings of this analysis can provide some theoretical support and experience reference for deepening the market-incentive reform of environmental governance and promoting the high-quality development of resilient cities.

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    Resource Economy
    Spatial and Temporal Differentiation Trends and Attributions of High-quality Development in the Huaihe Eco-economic Belt
    CHENG Yongsheng, ZHANG Deyuan
    2023, 14 (3):  517-532.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.008
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    The Huaihe River Basin is one of the typical large river basin economies, promoting its ecological protection and high-quality development is a strategic choice to improve the quality of China’s economic development and narrow the regional development gap, which has far-reaching strategic value for the region and the country in the new era. Based on the theoretical connotation of watershed ecological protection and high-quality economic development, starting from the special characteristics and practical features of the Huaihe River Eco-economic Belt, the panel data of 28 prefecture-level cities in the Huaihe River Eco-economic Belt from 2003-2018 are used as the research samples, the improved entropy method, Dagum Gini coefficient method and panel Tobit model investigate and analyze the time and space of ecological protection and high-quality development in the Huaihe Eco-economic Belt Evolution characteristics and promotion drivers. The results show that the overall ecological protection and high-quality development level of the Huaihe River Eco-economic Belt is 1.4824, showing an overall upward trend, with obvious periodic fluctuations; the high-value areas are mainly located in the lower and middle reaches of the basin, with the spatial agglomeration characteristic of “double core leading”, while the upper reaches are always in the stage of “low level and stable growth trap”; the hypervariable density is the main cause of the regional disparity; per capita output, opening to the outside world, human capital and government intervention drive the improvement of ecological protection and high-quality development. There are significant differences in the driving factors of ecological protection and high-quality development in the upper, middle and lower reaches of the city. The study of the development status of the Huaihe River Eco-economic Belt and its evolution law are of great theoretical significance, practical value for analyzing the synergistic enhancement path of urban ecological protection and high-quality development, promoting the ecological protection and high-quality economic development of the entire Huaihe River Basin.

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    Biological Characteristics and Resource Utilization of Tagetes minuta L.
    WANG Jingsheng, CAO Kaili, LIU Jie, ZHAO Yanzhe
    2023, 14 (3):  533-541.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.009
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    Tagetes minuta L. is native to the temperate grasslands and relatively high-altitude areas of South America. In 1990, it was first discovered in the Beijing Botanical Garden in China. In 1994, Pema Dawa introduced the species as a Tibetan medicine from the mountains of northern India to his courtyard in Gangjiang Village, Wolong Town, Milin County. Around 2010, scholars discovered that Tagetes minuta L. was widely invasive, which aroused extensive social concern. Featuring small weight, large number, and awns, Tagetes minuta L., is easy to spread and has a high seed germination rate, with 20% of the reproductive investment. The plant is tolerant of barrenness and drought and adapts to climates with large diurnal temperature differences and strong light conditions. Rich in aromatic substances and essential oils, the leaves and flowers serve medicinal, food, flavoring, health care and cosmetic purposes. Thiophene in the roots and bioactive components in the essential oil have anti-inflammatory, sterilizing, insect-repellent, and fly control effects, with significant allelopathy on native species. The biological and ecological characteristics of Tagetes minuta L. lay the material basis for its population spread. According to Tibetan folklore, we suggest using physical methods or biological control techniques for ecological control and strengthening the research of development and application to guide its economic benefits in Tibetan Buddhist supplies.

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    Land Resource and Land Use
    Evaluation of the Land Use Benefit of Rapidly Expanding Cities based on Coupling Coordination and a Transfer Matrix
    NIU Wentao, SHEN Qinghui, XU Zhenzhen, SHANG Wenwen
    2023, 14 (3):  542-555.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.010
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    The efficient use of urban land is one of the key factors for high-quality urban development, especially in large cities that lack land resources. By constructing an analysis framework of the land use benefit system and the transfer matrix of land use type, this study identified the evolutionary law governing the land use benefit system and its dynamic coupling coordination relationship with the rapidly expanding city by taking Zhengzhou, a national central city in China, as a case study. The results show that the urban land use (ULU) benefit system of Zhengzhou gradually shifted from the eco-environmental benefit type (1998-2005) to the socio-economic benefit type (2006-2019), with the coupling degree presenting a typical inverted U-shaped evolutionary process. In the same period, the urban area of Zhengzhou expanded by about 461 square kilometers. A further transfer matrix analysis shows that the main source of expansion has been the conversion of arable land, grassland, woodland and water areas to construction land. Therefore, the local government should implement a differentiated land use strategy according to the characteristics of the land use benefit system and the evolution of the coupling and coordination relationship, exploit the opportunity of urban boundary delimitation, and promote urban transformation and upgrading as well as eco-city construction.

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    Why Do Farmers Abandon Their Farmland in the Loess Hilly and Gully Region? A Case Study in Guyuan, Western China
    XUE Zhichao, ZHEN Lin, YAN Huimin, HU Yunfeng
    2023, 14 (3):  556-566.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.011
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    Exploring the driving mechanism and factors influencing farmers’ decisions regarding farmland abandonment is fundamental for the targeted control of land abandonment and the adjustment of land management policies, especially for ecologically fragile areas. This study used Guyuan, a typical hilly and gully region, as a study area and employed the framework of a participatory assessment workshop, key informant interviews, and questionnaires to obtain data from stakeholders at multiple levels. The descriptive statistical analyses were carried out from social, economic, and natural aspects to explore the factors affecting farmers’ decisions to abandon farmland in the hilly and gully regions. By combining multiple levels of stakeholders and multiple sources of data, the multi-spatial-temporal analysis effectively allowed us to conduct a comprehensive and thorough exploration of the potential factors affecting farmers' land abandonment decisions using this framework. The results revealed important aspects of the main social, economic and environmental factors. (1) Among the social factors, the influence of neighbours is the most influential, owing to the herd mentality of farmers and the negative impact of abandoned farmland on surrounding farmland. Additional factors are declining employment opportunities and grain subsidies. (2) The main economic factors affecting farmers’ abandonment of farming are land productivity, farming costs, and grain price. (3) The main environmental factors include road accessibility, slope and terrain relief, and farmers living in hilly and mountainous areas are more sensitive. This research provides comprehensive knowledge about the trade-offs associated with land abandonment and local stakeholders in the Loess hilly and gully region of China, a reference for finding possible pathways to halt the negative impacts, and a solid foundation for the statistical and spatial model building to simulate the abandonment scale, spatial-temporal evolutionary process, and the risk of abandonment for political reference.

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    Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Rapid Urban Growth on the Loess Plateau from 1995 to 2050
    LIANG Youjia, LIU Lijun
    2023, 14 (3):  567-580.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.012
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    With the implementation of the national policy of “High-quality development of the Yellow River Basin”, urban growth on the Loess Plateau is expected in the future. However, studies involving spatiotemporal simulations of urban growth at the regional scale are limited. We proposed an integrated modeling method, using the SLEUTH model and indicator-based spatial mapping, to quantify and map urban growth based on a dataset of urban cover from 1995 to 2050 with 1 km resolution. The results showed that the rates and spatial patterns of urban growth varied across multi-level cities, and were affected by urban development policies, the physical environment and administrative functions. The overall urban area in 2050 will be approximately 8.12 times that in 1995 among the 15 prefectural and capital cities, and the overall urban growth rates are 5.97% and 3.2% for the periods of 1995-2015 and 2015-2050, respectively. Leapfrogging was the major urban growth pattern during the period of 1995?2015, while edge-growth will become the dominant urbanization pattern by 2030s, and the infilling growth pattern shows a minimal contribution to the urban growth in most of the cities during the study period, except for the plain-limited cities (e.g., Lanzhou and Xining). The spatiotemporal changes in the multi-level urban growth based on high resolution maps can provide essential information for promoting regional urban planning and sustainable city management on the Loess Plateau.

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    Impact of Cultivated Land-use Change on the Cultivated Land Pressure in Jilin Province of China from 1980 to 2015
    SUN Lina
    2023, 14 (3):  581-590.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.013
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    The protection of cultivated land resources is critically important for maintaining food production capacity, economic development, and social stability in China. This study analyzed the spatiotemporal characteristics of cultivated land variation in Jilin Province from 1980 to 2015 by taking Jilin Province as the study area, employing the remote sensing images captured in 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 and the statistical data from 1980 to 2015 as the basic data, and using a transfer matrix and the cultivated land pressure index model. The results revealed that on the temporal scale from 1980 to 2015, the area of cultivated land increased from 701.88×104 ha to 762.82×104 ha, the area of cultivated land per capita increased from 0.1524 ha to 0.1707 ha, and the cultivated land pressure index rose from 0.7922 to 0.7953. On the spatial scale, the cultivated land pressure in Jilin Province was mainly concentrated in the southern section in both 1980 and 1990, the southern and eastern sections in 1995, the southwestern and eastern sections in 2000, the southern and southeastern sections in 2005, and the southern, southeastern, and central sections in both 2010 and 2015. The change in the direction of the cultivated land pressure force in Jilin Province during the study period was mainly from northwest to southeast.

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    Plant and Animal Ecology
    Vegetation Coverage Inversion based on Combined Active and Passive Remote Sensing: A Case Study of the Baiyangdian-Daqinghe Basin
    YANG Jin, SHI Mingchang, YANG Jianying, CHENG Fu, YU Hongfeng
    2023, 14 (3):  591-603.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.014
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    Due to poor penetrability, optical remote sensing can not identify understory vegetation beneath the canopy. Thus, the vegetation coverage extracted by optical remote sensing alone could not sufficiently capture understory vegetation information to formulate the vegetation coverage factor for soil erosion evaluation. To address this issue, the authors took the Baiyangdian-Daqing River Basin as the research object and considered the photon counting ICESat-2/ATLAS vegetation coverage sampling under different photon point classifications. Based on the measured data, satellite-ground collaborative vegetation coverage sampling was achieved in the study area. The results showed that compared with the inversion results extracted by the traditional NDVI pixel dichotomy, the vegetation coverage estimated by the random forest regression model constructed in this study was more accurate. To a certain extent, the proposed model can monitor the understory vegetation of dense forests and complement the lack of understory vegetation signal in optical remote sensing. In the three error tolerance 0.05, 0.1, and 0.15 ranges, the inversion accuracy of vegetation coverage was increased by -4.1%, 5.3%, and 9.4%, reaching the accuracy of 55.6%, 71.1%, and 94.3%, respectively.

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    Attitude of People towards Relief Fund as Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Strategy: A Case Study of Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park, Nepal
    RAI Pratap, JOSHI Rajeev, NEUPANE Bijaya, POUDEL Bishow, KHANAL Sujan
    2023, 14 (3):  604-615.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.015
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    The present study aimed to assess if the people are satisfied with the relief fund scheme in the three different user committees belonging to 10 Buffer Zone User Group (BZUG) of Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park (SNNP) in the situation with the higher incidents of conflict on those areas. Differences in local people’s attitudes and the effect of socio-economic factors like age, education, economic status, the quantity of crop damage, and their influence on the satisfaction level of people towards the prevailing relief scheme were mainly captured using a semi-structured questionnaire survey of the households. A total of 162 households (HHs), comprising 40.5% of the total 377 households, were surveyed using a purposive sampling method. People’s attitude towards relief schemes was measured at three levels (positive, negative, or neutral) while the Chi-square test at 5% level of significance was used to determine whether people’s attitudes and relief schemes were dependent or not. Similarly, Chi-square test was used to determine the dependency of different socioeconomic factors and people’s attitudes towards the relief scheme. The results showed that the majority of respondents i.e. 56% were not satisfied (negative attitude) with the relief scheme, 26% were neutral and only 18% of respondents were positive towards the relief fund (satisfied). A mere 41.93 USD was provided as relief against the crop loss of 101 USD at an average in the study area. Similarly, 73 USD was the relief amount for livestock loss (goat) of 124 USD per case. Owing to inadequate and delayed payment, the relief fund scheme was unable to bring a satisfactory change in the attitudes of people. Thus, the regular amendments of relief guidelines to address insufficient and delayed payment are recommended. Additionally, further studies on the wildlife damage relief schemes and its cost-effectiveness and appropriate measures to manage the drawback of this scheme are required.

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    Diet Analysis of Asian Elephants Using Next-Generation Sequencing
    PENG Xiaoxu, SUN Yakuan, CHEN Ying, Aliana NORRIS, SHI Kun
    2023, 14 (3):  616-630.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.016
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    Understanding the diet composition and preferences of large herbivores not only provides insights into their ecological role, but also helps to assess the viability of elephant populations and their habitats. This study was performed to determine the diet preferences of a small population of Asian elephants in Nangunhe National Nature Reserve in Yunnan, China, during the annual dry season. The next-generation sequencing of the rbcL gene from non-invasively collected fecal samples was conducted in addition to transect surveys and camera-trapping along known elephant trails. With the transect survey, we identified 31 plant species foraged by elephants. The next-generation sequencing analysis identified a total of 90 plant species from the elephant dung samples. Only nine species were detected at rates greater than 1% in all the samples. Poaceae (47.69%), Moraceae (21.25%), and Musaceae (11.24%) were detected to have the highest rates at the family level. We also examined whether differences existed between sexes, age groups, and individuals; however, significant differences were found only between individuals. This study provides useful insights into the foraging preferences of Asian elephants, which could help in further understanding the interactions between elephants and their habitat in the reserve and inform future management decisions in related areas. The detected core plant species with relatively high abundance could provide guidance for habitat restoration and cultivation of food bases. The local plantations where the elephants prefer to feed could be moved farther away, making them inaccessible to the elephants.

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    Study on the Evaluation and Optimization Strategy of Tourism Environmental Suitability in China based on the AHP-TOPSIS Algorithm
    LI Ying, WANG Yiran, ZOU Tongqian
    2023, 14 (3):  631-643.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.017
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    The condition of the tourism environment is the key factor that affects the tourism experience. A comprehensive evaluation of the tourism environmental suitability score is of great significance for guiding tourism planning and decision-making, improving the suitability score of the tourism environment in a targeted manner and guaranteeing the sustainable development of tourist cities. By adopting various indicators, such as the Universal Thermal Climate Index, the amount of precipitation, the vegetation index, the concentration of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and the ultraviolet radiation intensity index, this study quantifies the comfort level of weather, the weather impacts, the vegetation status, the atmospheric environment, ultraviolet radiation, and other key factors. Based on employing the AHP-TOPSIS algorithm, this study then conducts a comprehensive evaluation of China’s tourism environmental suitability score and a comprehensive comparative analysis of the tourism environmental suitability scores of three typical tourist areas: the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan area, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. The results show that the tourism environmental suitability score in China has obvious characteristics of spatial differentiation: the scores in East and South China are the highest while the score in the northwest inland area is the lowest. Among the three typical tourist areas, the Pearl River Delta region has the highest tourism environmental suitability score, followed by the Yangtze River Delta region, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan region has the lowest score. The northern regions of the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan area, the southern regions of the Yangtze River Delta and the surrounding areas of the Pearl River Delta are more suitable for the sustainable development of the tourism industry. PM2.5 is the main factor limiting the tourism environmental suitability scores in the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan area and the Yangtze River Delta, so atmospheric environment management will be an effective way to improve their tourism environmental suitability scores.

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    Spatial Structure and Geographical Characteristics of Tourist Towns in the Wuling Mountain Area
    TAO Hui, HE Yueming, RAN Feixiao, JIANG Xu, ZHANG Panpan
    2023, 14 (3):  644-655.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.018
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    As an important form of the new urbanization, tourist towns have become an emerging hotspot for rural revitalization and upgrading of the tourism industry, which has attracted considerable attention. Based on the geographic coordinates of tourist towns, this study uses the nearest neighbor index, geographic concentration index, location entropy and other research methods to quantitatively analyze the spatial distribution characteristics of 289 tourist towns in the Wuling Mountain area and summarize the influencing factors. The results show that the number of tourist towns varies by region, as does the level of tourism development. The distribution of tourist towns generally shows a certain degree of geographical concentration, forming multidensity centers and a large number of small settlements. The tourist towns are obviously distributed along the traffic routes due to the good traffic accessibility and different tourist towns have their own distribution types. Regarding the influencing factors, the spatial distribution of tourist towns is jointly determined by geographic environment, social factors, tourism resources and culture and policies. By analyzing the spatial characteristics of tourist towns and their influencing factors in the Wuling Mountain area, this article provides ideas for exploring the temporal and spatial differentiation of tourist towns around the world and constructing synergistic mechanisms of factors between regions.

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    Tourists’ Willingness to Pay Conservation Fees: The Case of Hulunbuir Grassland, China
    WANG Pengwei, YA Ji
    2023, 14 (3):  656-666.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.019
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    With the continuous development of human society, population increase, resource consumption and environmental pollution are increasing day by day, and the environment and resources on which tourism depends for development are more and more seriously damaged, which seriously affects the sustainable development of tourism, especially in underdeveloped areas. Hulunbuir Grassland Ecological Function Zone is the national ecological function area in China; and it is also an important ecological security barrier in northern China. Methods of raising more funding to support the ecological conservation of the Hulunbuir grasslands, while also supporting the tourism sustainability, is an important problem. In this study, the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) was used to explore the feasibility of collecting conservation fees from tourists in grassland tourism destinations in China, determine the reasonable amount of conservation fees and the factors influencing the amount of conservation fees by face-to-face questionnaire survey. The respondents of this study is tourists who had completed their travel and were about to leave Hulunbuir, and 567 valid questionnaires were collected. The results show that: (1) tourists have the potential to create environmental resources conservation funds, and it is feasible to raise conservation funds with tourists as the main source of payments; (2) the Hulunbuir grassland conservation fee should be set at 49 yuan, which is acceptable to most tourists and will not change the number of tourists; (3) Tourists’ socio-economic characteristics, travel characteristics and types of leisure activities have significant influences on the amount of conservation fees.

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    Ecological Engineering
    Microbiological Approach for Leaching Out Metallic Elements from Electric and Electronic Waste
    2023, 14 (3):  667-674.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.020
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    After the computer and mobile revolution, electric and electronic waste had become a serious threat to urban and rural communities equally. Prevention of the hazardous exposure and proper management are challenging in developing nations. One way to turn the crisis to opportunity is to extract metals from this Waste Electronic and Electric Equipment (WEEE) is making waste into a source of metal ores. The involvement of microbes in this technology could increase the boons by being an eco-friendly technique for reducing the hazardous nature. This article reviews the mechanisms involved in the process of bioleaching, the microorganisms employed, methods used and various developments as well as limitations along with recent advances and future prospects of the process of bioleaching of metals from WEEE.

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    Data Paper
    Dataset of Inland Waters Nitrogen Deposition in China (1990s-2010s)
    LI Zhaoxi, ZHOU Feng, MIAO Chiyuan, SHI Kun, GAO Yang
    2023, 14 (3):  675-680.  doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.03.021
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    Dramatic increases in global atmospheric N deposition have had adverse effects on inland water ecosystems. China is one of the three hot spots of N deposition in the world. In order to fully understand the impact of N deposition on inland waters in China and formulate a reasonable water pollution treatment plan, we need to clearly quantify the N deposition flux in inland water. Therefore, using the LMDZ-OR-INCA model combined with inland water area data, we obtained the dataset of inland water N deposition in China from the 1990s to the 2010s, which lays a foundation for further understanding the spatial-temporal pattern of inland water N deposition and its impact mechanisms. At the same time, we publicly share this dataset and provide online access and download services at https://ecodb.scidb.cn/detail?dataSetId=892431070195089408.

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