Karst environment and eco-poverty in southwestern China: A case study of Guizhou Province
- Cite this article as:
- Wang, L., Lee, D., Zuo, P. et al. Chin. Geograph.Sc. (2004) 14: 21. doi:10.1007/s11769-004-0004-4
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Guizhou Province is one of the least developed areas with the largest number of counties in poverty and the widest coverage of karst landscape in China. The vulnerability of its karst eco-environment seriously threatens the survival of local residents and the development of local economy. Rapid population growth results in higher demand of various resources, which leads to more intensive development activities. For example, the blindfolded development on steep slopes has caused rock desertification of local rare soil in this karst area. It has induced a vicious circle in the poverty→population growth→ecosystem degradation and so on. About 3.13 × 106 people belong to the absolute impoverished population in Guizhou Province and most of them are living in rock-desertification areas. The essential reasons for destitution are the atrocious eco-environment and the huge population stress. Degradation of mountain ecosystems in southwestern China has continued at unprecedented speed and scale in recent decades. It is necessary to control population growth strictly and prevent further expansion of rock-desertification in order to develop local economy and better living conditions for local people. The only way to ensure a sustainable, stable and harmonious development of human, nature and economy is to restore a good condition of eco-environment and resolve the conflicts between human and land use.