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Coupled Relationship between Rural Livelihoods and the Environment at a Village Scale: A Case Study in the Mongolian Plateau

Zhilong Wu (), Bo Li (), Xuhuan Dai () and Ying Hou ()
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Zhilong Wu: Institute of Ecological Civilization, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
Bo Li: School of Natural Resources, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Xuhuan Dai: School of Natural Resources, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Ying Hou: State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China

Land, 2020, vol. 9, issue 2, 1-22

Abstract: Rural livelihoods, which are basic human activities, have long interacted with the environment. In light of the complexity of the human–environment system, more interdisciplinary analyses from geographical, environmental, and social sciences are needed. Using qualitative and quantitative methods from social, environmental, and geographical sciences, this study conducted a geographical regionalization and a comparative analysis of rural livelihoods in different zones in the Loess Plateau to explore the relationship between rural livelihoods and the environment. The results indicated that rural livelihoods are tightly coupled with the environment on a village scale, showing significant geographical regularity and spatial disparity. A combination of geographical location, resource endowment, and environmental sanitation affects rural livelihoods in terms of spatial patterns, development capacity, and quality of life in the context of the public ownership system, the utilization policy of land resources, and limited technical conditions. Coupling the relationship between rural livelihoods and a given environment on a village scale tends to lead to one of four types of relationships: “homeostatic”, “intense”, “transferred”, or “optimized”. Accordingly, governments and policymakers need to consider that countryside revitalization must be locally tailored and implemented through the four aspects of “rights revitalization”, “labor revitalization”, “industrial revitalization”, and “environmental revitalization”.

Keywords: livelihood diversity; environment; village scale; coupling mechanism; farm-pastoral zone (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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