Assessing Social-Ecological System Resilience in Mainland China
Mengmeng Hu1, 2, Junmin Zhang1, Jinlou Huang2
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1College of Sciences, Shihezi University, Shihezi 832003, China
2State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China
Submission date: 2017-05-04
Final revision date: 2017-08-02
Acceptance date: 2017-08-02
Online publication date: 2018-02-15
Publication date: 2018-03-12
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2018;27(3):1085–1096
Rapid and extensive economic development in China has resulted in a dramatic increase in the consumption of energy and resources with negative ecological effects. This study sought to define the concept of social-ecological systems (SES) resilience to determine whether a given system can effectively withstand these adverse effects per its quantitative level of resilience. The information entropy method and set pair analysis were adopted to determine SES resilience indicators, including the vulnerability and response capacity of social, economic, and ecological subsystems. Thirty-one provincial regions in mainland China were taken as examples and their respective SES resilience levels were empirically measured. The driving mechanisms of resilience were identified based on the correlations of vulnerability and response capacity with resilience. Provinces with higher resilience were identified along the eastern coast of China, whereas provinces with lower resilience were located in the western and central parts of the country. The direction and rate of the factors differed and were uncertain, but a quadratic linear relationship between a driving factor and resilience was clearly identified. The results also confirmed that the set pair analysis method is suitable for SES resilience measurement.