Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 244–255 | Cite as

Evaluating value of natural landscapes in China

  • Yi Xiao
  • Cheng ChengEmail author
  • Wu Yang
  • Zhiyun Ouyang
  • Enming Rao


Natural landscapes consist of the natural substances, environment, and phenomena, all of which provide many benefits to people, including a sense of place, sightseeing, relaxing, and recuperating. However, the economic value of natural landscapes has only been recognized in recent decades, and the resulting large-scale decline and degradation of ecosystems now severely threatens the sustainable provision of their services to society. There is an emerging consensus that natural capital should be incorporated into the current socioeconomic accounting system. Many studies valuated natural resources at local and regional scales, but there are very few empirical studies at a national level. To provide a benchmark for natural landscape management on a national scale, we use the travel cost method (TCM) and the contingent valuation method (CVM) to determine the economic value and the spatial distribution of natural landscapes across China. Our results show that the total economic value of China′s natural landscape was 9.75 × 1011 U.S. dollars (USD) in 2012. Of this value, the highest proportion was in the eastern and southwestern regions of China, which accounts for 23.7% and 18.3%, respectively. The provinces of Guangdong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, and Heilongjiang were the top five in terms of the largest number of natural landscapes and largest economic values. Together, these five provinces accounted for 32.9% of the total number of natural landscapes and 29.4% of the total economic value in 2012. We believe this study will increase awareness of the value of natural landscapes, and more importantly provide a scientific basis for resolving conflicts between development and resource conservation.


travel cost method (TCM) contingent valuation method (CVM) natural landscape value China 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi Xiao
    • 1
  • Cheng Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wu Yang
    • 2
  • Zhiyun Ouyang
    • 1
  • Enming Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Conservation InternationalArlingtonUSA

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