• Journal of Geographical Sciences
  • Vol. 30, Issue 4, 04000621 (2020)
YANG Wenjie1, GONG Qianwen1、2、*, and ZHANG Xueyan3、4
Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Green Development and Chinese Rural Land Research, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2School of Marxism, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 3Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 4Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
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    Abstract

    The calculation of ecological compensation and boundary identification of stakeholders represent the key challenges for Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region in its implementation of the trans-regional ecological compensation mechanism. Breaking administrative boundaries and spatially coordinating ecological resources helps to restructure an ecological compensation mechanism of the region based on the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. According to the estimated ecological assets in the counties of the region in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, a quantitative model for total ecological compensation was built based on ecological assets and county-level economic development. Then, the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics of the total ecological compensation in the region were defined, and the boundaries of ecological surplus and deficit areas were identified. Results indicate: (1) The region’s annual average ecological assets amounted to ¥1379.47 billion; in terms of annual total ecological assets, Hebei ranked first (¥1123.80 billion), followed by Beijing (¥157.46 billion) and Tianjin (¥98.21 billion); and in terms of ecological assets per unit area, Beijing ranked first, Tianjin second and Hebei last. (2) Among ecosystem services, hydrological regulation and climate regulation had the highest annual average value and contributed most to the increase in ecological assets. In 2015, the contribution of water and soil conservation to the total ecological assets decreased to -15.66%, showing the degradation of the function played by different ecosystems. (3) The ecological surplus of the region in four periods of 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015 were ¥398.98 billion, ¥870.37 billion, ¥1254.93 billion and ¥2693.94 billion respectively, basically offsetting the ecological deficit of each corresponding period, but the urgency for ecological compensation was increased. (4) The ecological surplus and deficit areas showed a great fluctuation in different time periods. Larger time span means more noticeable convergence of deficit areas towards central and eastern areas. Public resources such as education, transportation and medical care in central urban areas should be decentralized to encourage population dispersal, weaken the agglomeration effect of deficit areas and finally achieve the ecological synergy of the region.

    1 Introduction

    The coordinated development of ecological civilization in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region remains a hot issue for the current academic research and among government concerns. Since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy started in 1978, the Chinese government has proposed the idea of integrated development of the region so as to fully exploit the economic and ecological advantages of the areas that constitute parts of the region. According to the gradient transfer theory for regional economic development, Beijing, as a high-gradient area, would expand outward for better development through continuous innovation and development. Tianjin and Hebei, as medium- and low-gradient regions respectively, can achieve an anti-gradient leap-forward growth by accepting the expansion of Beijing and seeking good opportunities. Nevertheless, Hebei has failed to achieve a leap-forward growth. And Beijing, by exploiting its geographical advantage as the capital of China, has produced a siphon effect and attracted the increasing influx of human, financial and material resources. In contrast to Beijing’s rapid and comprehensive development, Hebei has served as an ecological shelter for the capital. According to the data of Zhangjiakou Water Bureau, Zhangjiakou, a city of Hebei where drought prevails almost every year, had transferred 163 million cubic meters of water to Beijing free of charge for six consecutive years (2004-2009). The 18 counties and districts of Hebei that border Beijing have been designated as coal-free areas. In 2017, 22 additional counties and districts of Hebei were designated as key ecological function zones by the state. However, Hebei’s per capita GDP is far lower than that of Beijing and Tianjin, with the highest share of poor counties. The distorted relationship between ecological protection and economic interests has seriously affected the harmony among different areas and stakeholders (Li and Liu, 2010; Li et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2019).