Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 316–333 | Cite as

Regional difference and dynamic mechanism of locality of the Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone based on geotagged photos from Panoramio

  • Fang Wang
  • Yixi Li
  • Ying Dong
  • Xiaohua Zhu


Cross-regional locality research reflects the influences of natural environment and the human activities due to the abundant land types and the multiple landscape combinations in related regions. The Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone is a typical large-scale region but few studies were conducted. This research contributed to the understanding of cross-regional locality of the Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone from different scales, including national, sectional, and provincial administrative units by utilizing geotagged photos (GTPs) obtained from the Panoramio website. The major results were as follows: (1) the locality elements of the Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone included 52 free nodes classified into 8 types of scene attributes; (2) there were huge differences between locality elements of different regions, and there was a negative correlation between the similarity degree of elements of different provinces and their spatial distances; (3) the Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone could be divided into the northern, central and southern sections, whose localities had differences in element constitution, association structure and the strength of elements, system stability and the anti-interference capability; and (4) the evolution of the localities of the northern and central sections was mainly influenced by human activities, while the locality of southern section retained more natural features. On a theoretical level, this research aimed to establish the research methodology of locality from the perspective of open data on the web with strong operability and replicability. On a practical level, this research could enrich the structuring recognition of the locality of the Chinese farming-pastoral ecotone and the comprehension of its dynamic mechanism. The results provide a reference for locality differentiation protection and the development of a cross-regional scale.


administrative units geotagged photos landscape locality networks regional differences 


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This research was supported by the Sino-German Center (the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the German Science Foundation; GZ1201), and the Postgraduate Courses Project of Peking University (2014-40).


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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sino-German Joint Laboratory on Urbanization and Locality Research (UAL), College of Architecture and Landscape ArchitecturePeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Urban and Environmental SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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