Ecological network analysis of urban land resource use within China

Xie, W. (2022). Ecological network analysis of urban land resource use within China. IIASA YSSP Report. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA

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Land is an essential factor for economic and industrial production. Urban land area has been consistently increased all over the world since 1840s as a notable feature of industrial and economic evolution. Urban land expansion not only causes direct environmental consequences such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, and pollution, but also act as a leverage that causes vast amounts of embodied natural resources consumption through global trade and supply chains. China is known as the “world’s factory” and most populated country. However, how land resources are used in its industrial and socioeconomic systems is still vague. In this research, we applied a land use estimation model to mapping the urban land footprint of 30 economic sectors in 30 provinces within China. We examined spatial distributions of urban land resource use, final demand drivers, and virtual land flow pathways. The results show that the urban land footprint related to economic activities of China's 30 provinces totalled 3.13 million hectares in the year of 2012. Spatial mismatches are shown between the production-based and consumption-based footprints. Intensive urban land use mainly occurred in the coastal areas of China, with large cities as the center of hot spots, shown significant spatial agglomerations. The North Coast of China (CNC) had the largest consumption-based footprint, followed by Yellow River midstream of China (CYL) and East Coast of China (CEC). The biggest external pulling effect was demonstrated by the Yellow River midstream of China (CYL), which drove 128,465 hectares of external land use. For provinces, Guangdong, Shandong, and Jiangsu remained the three highest provinces of land footprint from both production and consumption side. In terms of the final demand drivers of land flows, the results indicated that 85% of the urban land use in China was driven by domestic consumptions, with 15% due to foreign consumptions. From a global view, North America and Western Europe are the two main importers of China’s urban land. America is the top importer of China’s urban land, accounting for 103,785 ha, and 21.8% of all the foreign consumptions. From ecological network perspective, the industrially developed regions exhibited more complex network structures, with a higher total system throughflow, more resource flow pathways, a longer path length, and a greater circularity. Our results reveal the association between human socioeconomic activity with direct land demand and virtual land flows.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA YSSP Report)
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Systemic Risk and Resilience (SYRR)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2023 10:23
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 10:23

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