JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2018, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (3): 526-540.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.20170149

• Comprehensive Discussion • Previous Articles    

Paradigm Shift in the Study of Land Carrying Capacity: An Overview

JIN Xiang-mu1, LI Chen2   

  1. 1. Land Academy for National Development, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China;
    2. College of Geography and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241002, China
  • Received:2017-02-27 Revised:2017-08-04 Online:2018-03-20 Published:2018-03-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 71273226.

Abstract: In accordance with Kuhn’s paradigm theory, four main evaluation paradigms of land carrying capacity were explored and combed, namely, the evaluation paradigms based on limiting factors, comprehensive multi-factors, reference areas, and ecological footprints. The four evaluation paradigms were compared from the perspective of history background and spatial scale. It is found that the paradigm based on limiting factors had the longest history and was fully developed, while the paradigms based on comprehensive multi-factors, reference areas, and ecological footprints were all based on the former but developed along separate paths. The reason for the paradigm shifting is that the realistic questions which need to be explained and solved were always changing with time and space. There is no good or bad paradigms, but each one has its specific adaptability. To evaluate the land carrying capacity on the scales of global and country, the paradigm based on limiting factors or on ecological footprints may be better choice, while the paradigm based on comprehensive multi-factors or on reference areas is more appropriate for land carrying capacity evaluation at city and county levels. However, the research of the latter two paradigms is relatively weak, the outcome of which, namely, the rating of carrying capacity, or the relative value of carrying capacity has limit value in guiding land management. Therefore, it is urgent to strengthen the research of land carrying capacity at the city and county scales and to improve the effectiveness and maneuverability of guiding practice.

Key words: ecological footprint, land carrying capacity, limiting factor, multi-factor, paradigm shift, reference region

CLC Number: 

  • F301