Regional Sustainability (Mar 2023)

Evaluating rural sustainable land use from a system perspective based on the ecosystem service value

  • Xiaokang Li,
  • Lin Lei

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 1
pp. 96 – 114


Read online

Rural sustainable land use (RSLU) is important to China's implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of rural revitalization strategy in China. Research on RSLU is key to understanding the impact of human activities on rural sustainability. This paper explored the evaluation method of RSLU from a system perspective based on the ecosystem service value (ESV). Three systems were proposed for consideration when conducting this evaluation method. One was the sustainability of the land system, the other was the sustainability of the eco-economic system, and the rest was the sustainability of the land-eco-economy system. Indicators including (1) land use intensity and land system stability, (2) gross domestic production (GDP), ESV, and the eco-economic harmony degree (EEHD), and (3) coupling degree and coupling coordination degree were used to analyze the sustainability of the land, eco-economic, and land-eco-economic systems, respectively. An empirical research on Yanhe eco-village was conducted and the study period extended from 2008 to 2020. The results showed that forest land had always accounted for more than 81.20% of the total area in Yanhe eco-village from 2008 to 2020, which greatly influenced land system stability and restricted economic development. This feature contrasted with RSLU. The total ESV of Yanhe eco-village declined by 1.60 ​× ​106 CNY during 2008–2020 because of land use changes. The EEHD was −0.01, which presented that there was a very slight unharmonious between ecology and economy. The coupling degree and coupling coordination degree showed that the development between the land and eco-economic systems exhibited a coupling coordination relationship. The results indicated that ecology and economy in Yanhe eco-village will change significantly in response to land use changes in rural areas, which further revealed the dynamic linkage between human beings and nature. Moreover, opposite variation tendencies in land system stability and ESV revealed that the contradiction between the high stability of the land system and well development of the eco-economic system. The results of this study implied that it is necessary and useful to integrate ESV into land management to achieve RSLU.