Resources Carrying Capacity

Regional Differentiation and Classification for Carrying Constraints on the Resources and Environment of China

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China

Received date: 2017-10-09

  Revised date: 2018-01-16

  Online published: 2018-03-30

Supported by

“The 13th Five Year Plan” Regional Strategy Research Based on Resource and Environment Carrying Capacity and Innovation-driven. Major consulting projects of Scientific and Technical Strategy Consulting Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y02015005).


Research on the relationship between national resource constraint-region types and environmental carrying capacity is essential for the continued development of Chinese industrialization and urbanization. Thus, utilizing a series of key indexes including the per-capita potential of available land resources, the per-capita potential of available water resources, the degree of environmental stress, and the degree of ecological restriction, a step-by-step, integrated measuring method is presented here to understand the constrained carrying elements of water and land resources as well as environment and ecology. Spatial differences are analyzed and area types classified at the county level across China. Results reveal that: (1) Almost 90% of China is strongly constrained by both resources and the environment, while nearly 50% of national territory is strongly constrained by two elements, especially in areas of intensive population and industry to the east of the Helan-Longmen Mountain line; (2) Densely populated areas of eastern and central China, as well as on the Tibetan Plateau, are strongly constrained by a shortage of land resources, while North China, the northwest, northeast, the Sichuan basin, and some southern cities are experiencing strong constraints because of water shortages. In contrast, the North China plain, the Yangtze River delta, northern Jiangsu, Sichuan province, Chongqing municipality, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces, the northeast plain, and the northern Loess Plateau are constrained by high levels of environmental stress. Areas of China that are strongly ecologically constrained tend to be concentrated to the southwest of the Tianshan-Dabie Mountain line, as well as in the northeast on the Loess Plateau, in the Alashan of Inner Mongolia, in northeast China, and in the northern Jiangsu coastal area; (3) Constraints on national resources and environmental carrying capacity are diverse and cross-cut China, meanwhile, multi-element spatial distribution does reveal a degree of relative centralization. With the exception of the Tibetan Plateau which is resources-ecological constraint , other areas subject to cross constraints are mainly concentrated to the east of the Helan-Longmen Mountain line.

Cite this article

ZHANG Xuefei, XU Yong, LI Lijuan, DAI Erfu, XU Weihua . Regional Differentiation and Classification for Carrying Constraints on the Resources and Environment of China[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2018 , 9(2) : 135 -145 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.02.003


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