Integrated assessment and critical obstacle diagnosis of rural resource and environmental carrying capacity with a social–ecological framework: a case study of Liyang county, Jiangsu Province

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  • Dan Yi
  • Guanqiao Ding
  • Yi Han
  • Jialin Yi
  • Jie Guo
  • Minghao Ou

The contradiction among human being, resources, and environment has become a significant obstacle to achieving sustainable development, especially in rural areas subject to the spillover of urban development elements. With the immense strain of resources and environment, it is critical to assess whether human activities fall within the carrying capacity range of a natural ecosystem in a rural system. Taking the rural areas of Liyang county as an example, this study aims to assess the rural resource and environmental carrying capacity (RRECC) and diagnose its critical obstacles. Firstly, a social–ecological framework focusing on human–environment interaction was employed to construct the RRECC indicator system. Subsequently, the entropy-TOPSIS method was introduced to assess the performance of the RRECC. Finally, the obstacle diagnosis method was applied to identify the critical obstacles of RRECC. Our results show that the distribution of RRECC presents a spatial heterogeneity, with high- and medium–high-level villages primarily concentrated in the south of the study area, where there are abundant hills and ecological lakes. Medium-level villages are scattered throughout each town, and low and medium–low level villages are concentrated across all the towns. Moreover, the resource subsystem of RRECC (RRECC_RS) exhibits a similar spatial distribution to RRECC, while the outcome subsystem of RRECC (RRECC_OS) has a comparable quantity proportion of different levels to RRECC. Furthermore, the diagnosis results of critical obstacle vary between the town scale divided by administrative units and the regional scale divided by RRECC values. In detail, arable land occupied by construction is the main critical obstacle at the town scale, while the poor people in villages, people left-behind, and arable land occupied by construction are the main critical obstacles at the regional scale. Targeted differentiated improvement strategies for RRECC at regional scale from various perspectives of global, local, and single are proposed. This research can serve as a theoretical foundation for assessing RRECC and developing differentiated sustainable development strategies for the path forward to rural revitalization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Pages (from-to)76026–7604
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Critical obstacle, Entropy-TOPSIS, Liyang county, Obstacle diagnosis model, Rural resources and environmental carrying capacity (RRECC), Social-ecological framework

ID: 356879249