Journal of Arid Land


Taking Gansu province as a model case, this study provides an integrated analysis on the eco-economic system of arid and semi-arid region based on emergy synthesis theory. Through cal-culating the values of renewable emergy flow, non-renewable resources, imported emergy, exported emergy, waste emergy, and total emergy during the period of 19782007, the performance of Gansu eco-economic system was analyzed. The results indicated that the renewable emergy flow within the province basically remained steady state which was estimated at 2.99×1022 solar emjoules (sej) from 1978 to 2007. The imported emergy and exported emergy were estimated at 3.75×1017 sej and 2.99×1020 sej in 1978 and increased to 1.07×1022 sej and 1.44×1022 sej respectively in 2007. The non-renewable emergy flow was estimated at 1.62×1022 sej and increased to 1.85×1023 sej, with annual growth rate of 8.7%, while the estimated total emergy was 4.58×1022 sej in 1978 and increased to 2.11×1023 sej in 2007, with annual growth rate of 5.41%. Our results indicate a deteriorate situation between economic development and environmental protection in the region. The rapid economic growth in the past thirty years was based on a great consumption of nonrenewable resource and caused continuous decrease in the capacity of sustainable development. The environmental loading ratio was 0.53 in 1978, increased to 6.06 in 2007, indicating a rapid degradation of the regional envi-ronment quality. We calculated that the actual population was 1.53 times the renewable resource population in 1978, increased to 7.06 times in 2007. During the period of 19782007, the emergy rose from 2.45×1015 sej/(capita·a) to 8.07×1015 sej/(capita·a). Our analysis revealed that the emergy density presented a trend of gradual increase, and then the emergy currency ratio in Gansu decreased from 7.08×1013 sej/Chinese Yuan to 7.82×1012 sej/Chinese Yuan.


emergy analysis; economic geography; regional sustainable development; arid and semi-arid area; Gansu province

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