GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (8): 1495-1514.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201808003

Special Issue: 人地系统

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The evolution process and its mechanism of man-land relationship in China

Xiaoyun LI1,2, Yu YANG1,2(), Yi LIU1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-02-22 Revised:2018-05-18 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 evolution of man-land relationship is inheritable. Understanding the evolution process of man-land relationship and its mechanism from the historical perspective can help us to increase the comprehensive cognition about this relationship. According to the core connotation of man-land relationship, this paper points out that resources and environment factors are the chief interaction point between human and "land", and human are in the positive position in man-land relationship. Based on this, the paper focuses on the primary human-needs, the main human activities and their action intensity as well as the cognitive ability on "land" to unfold the evolution process, and then to generalize the evolution characteristics of man-land relationship in China, and further, to extract the dynamic factors. Findings suggest that: with human productivity level rising, the perception of human to "land" has experienced successively the following periods: Almost unconscious, Unity of man and land, Mutual matching of man and land, Superior man than land, Co-exist harmoniously man and land. Accordingly, the man-land relationship in China has gone through from the bud, to the singleness relationship centered on farmland, then to the disordered multielement relationships centered on farmland, freshwater, energy and mineral resources etc. till nowadays to well-organized multielement relationships chased by human again. Historically, the dynamic mechanism of the man-land relationship evolution in China is that, productivity is the most core motivation, which promoted the development of humans' ability to act on "land"; The population is the most active power, since the population demands, and the population size and together quality increasing, enhance the closeness between human and "land"; the production relationship mainly influences the evolution process of man-land relationship indirectly through influencing human's enthusiasm for production and resource ownership; both wars and natural disasters have promoted and hindered effects on the historical evolution process of man-land relationship in China. Taking history as a mirror, the study of man-land relationship cannot be divorced from its varying background, both theoretically and practically. Also, the formation of contradictory between human and "land" in modern China has its inevitability. The basis of long-term harmonies between human and "land" rests on promoting human's scientific cognition about "man -land relationship", and also adjusting human's behaviors under various local conditions. Besides, speeding up the technology development and upgrading the mode of production are also important approaches to relieving the present contradictions between human activities and multiple land elements.

Key words: man-land relationship, historical evolution, process, mechanism, China