GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (8): 1477-1484.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201808001

Special Issue: 人地系统

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Preface to the special issue on Chinese man-land relationships in a new era

Yi LIU1,2()   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, The Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Analysis and Simulation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-06-20 Revised:2018-07-19 Online:2018-08-20 Published:2018-08-20
  • About author:

    Author: Shi Zhenqin (1988-), PhD, specialized in regional development and land space management in mountain areas. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Deng Wei (1957-), Professor, specialized in mountain environment and regional development.



The man-land relationship is ancient but remains a relatively young research area within geography. As the connotations of this relationship have developed continuously in concert with human society, man-land characteristics tend to exhibit particular time stamps. Studies in this area have performed a basic scientific support role as a component of the development of geography and the formulation of major national development strategies ever since areal system theory for man-land relationships was proposed by Wu Chuanjun. The central status that this field occupies in geographical research has also been gradually strengthened over time. In the context of ever growing conflicts between man and nature and with the aim of furthering our understanding of man-land relationships, this series of papers aims to explore the theoretical foundation that underlies the dynamic evolution of this field based initially on areal system theory. The second aim of this work is to extract and understand evolutionary processes as well as dominant characteristics and mechanisms of change to further discuss feasible methods to coordinate human activities and benefit nature. It is generally the case that the foundation underlying the evolution of man-land relationships is the nature of the game between humans and nature within the development space. The evolution of this relationship within China has been accelerating markedly and a number of combinations are becoming ever clearer. Technological progress has also led to an increase in inputs and resource allocation while the first-generation contradiction characterized by the concept of "amount" in this context has disappeared. At the same time, a second-generation contradiction characterized by the concept of "quality" has also developed; typical characteristics in this case include the fact that food shortages are decreasing while other problems including soil degradation and water pollution caused by food production are intensifying. Although regional resources are no longer in short supply across China, problems such as ecological degeneration and environmental pollution caused by their allocation across multi-regions have increased. It is therefore necessary to enhance our comprehensive understanding of the evolution of man-land relationships as well as our own role in this system.

Key words: man-land relationship, evolution, new era, characteristics, China