GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (5): 851-863.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201605004

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Multi-scale empirical test of ecological curse effect in mainland of China

Zheng ZANG1(), Defeng ZHENG2, Caizhi SUN2, Xinqing ZOU1,3   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. School of Urban Planning and Environmental Science, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
    3. Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2015-11-16 Revised:2016-03-11 Online:2016-05-10 Published:2016-05-10

Abstract:

Quantitative description of the relation between ecosystem service and human socio-economic development is one of the most critical contents in the fields of ecology, geography and economics. In this paper, based on ecosystem service theory, the concept, the characterization and evaluation methods of ecological well-being were defined. Referencing to resource curse theory, the hypothesis of ecological benediction, absolute ecological curse and conditional ecological curse were proposed from the viewpoint of generalized ecological well-being. On this basis, an empirical analysis of ecological benediction effect and ecological curse effect of all provinces in the mainland of China during 2001 and 2013 was conducted by using related data from national and regional levels. The results showed that from the per capita ecological well-being, the hypothesis of absolute ecological curse was false on the national scale. Ecological benediction effect in the eastern and western regions was remarkable. Driven by the growth of these factors such as the proportion of foreign investment, the proportion of tertiary industry, and the proportion of regional population, the increase of per capita ecological well-being in the eastern and western regions improved the development of regional economy and society. Considering the proportion of employees in the four sectors of farming, forestry, husbandry and fishery, the hypothesis of conditional ecological curse was false on both national and regional scales. Ecological benediction effect in the eastern region was remarkable. With the increase of the proportion of employees from farming, forestry, husbandry and fishery sectors, the development speed of regional economy and society increased by 36.35%. Considering the proportion of production values of farming, forestry, husbandry and fishery, the hypothesis of conditional ecological curse was true on both national and regional scales. Under the joint influence of urbanization status and road capacity, one doubling of the proportion of production values of farming, forestry, husbandry and fishery would lead to a decrease of 45.63% in the national socio-economic development speed. Moreover, under the joint effect of per capita GDP and other factors, one doubling of the proportion of production values of the four sectors would result in a decrease of 30.64%-33.49% in the regional socio-economic development. From the viewpoint of generalized human well-being, natural ecosystem contributed greatly to the improvement of regional ecological well-being per capita, surplus labor force employment and so on. Meanwhile, it was necessary to reduce the proportion of production values of the four sectors in the national economy to promote regional socio-economic development. The regions and departments concerned should take effective measures to avoid ecological curse effect by proper ecological conservation activities, and enhance ecological benediction effect with regional socio-economic development planning in the proper temporal scale.

Key words: Economic Geography, empirical test, curse effect, ecological well-being, mainland of China