Advertisement

Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 412–422 | Cite as

Differentiations of geographic distribution and subsistence strategies between Tibetan and other major ethnic groups are determined by the physical environment in Hehuang Valley

  • Xin JiaEmail author
  • Harry F. LeeEmail author
  • Mengchun Cui
  • Guoquan Cheng
  • Yang Zhao
  • Hong Ding
  • Ricci P. H. Yue
  • Huayu Lu
Research Paper
  • 11 Downloads

Abstract

The people of the Tibetan Plateau have received extensive attention from scholars because of their unique adaptability to the low temperature and anoxic environments. However, the Tibetan communities and their habitats in the low-altitude regions of the plateau have rarely been studied in a scientific manner. Based on the extraction of geographic information of 197 towns in the Hehuang Valley and on variance analysis, this study examines the habitats and subsistence strategies of the Tibetans and other major ethnic groups in the low-latitude region of the Tibetan Plateau. Our statistical results show that the annual average temperature of Tibetan habitats in the Hehuang Valley is relatively high. The relatively warm environment of the valley allows the Tibetans in that area to cultivate wheat and barley and raise cattle and sheep—a subsistence strategy significantly different from that of other Tibetans in the high-altitude regions in the Tibetan Plateau. In addition, the Tibetan communities in the Hehuang Valley include similar agri-pastoral ethnic groups (including Hui and Salar), both of which adopt similar subsistence strategies. The agricultural ethnic groups (Han and Tu) live in a relatively cool and humid environment facilitating agricultural production, while the agri-pastoral ethnic groups (Tibetan, Hui, and Salar) inhabit relatively warm and arid environment in the valley. Due to the lack of agricultural activities, agri-pastoral groups must also engage in animal husbandry to supplement their diet. In the Ando Tibetan region, the subsistence strategies of the ethnic groups are closely related to their physical environment. Those ethnic groups communicate among themselves, integrate, and influence each other, resulting in a diversified culture. This study proves that the habitat variation at a regional scale corresponds significantly to the variation of subsistence strategies. Our findings may further refine knowledge about the human-environmental relationships of Tibetans and lead future research towards using quantitative methods to analyse the intersection of physical environment and ethnic groups’ distribution.

Keywords

Tibetan Plateau Ethnic group Ethnic geography Hehuang Valley Ando Tibetan region 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the State Key R & D Project of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0600503), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41771223), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2016M601769), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 020914380027), Sino-British Fellowship Trust, Hui Oi-Chow Trust Fund (Grant No. 201602172006), and Research Grants Council of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Grant No. HKU745113H).

References

  1. Cashdan E. 2001. Ethnic diversity and its environmental determinants: Effects of climate, pathogens, and habitat diversity. Am Anthropol, 103: 968–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chinese Academy of Social Science. 2012. Language Atlas of China (in Chinese). Beijing: Commercial PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Chizzoniti A G M, Tallacchini M. 2010. The Protection of Diversity: Food, Religion and Law. Tricase: Libellula EdizioniGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen F H, Dong G H, Zhang D J, Liu X Y, Jia X, An C B, Ma M M, Xie Y W, Barton L, Ren X Y, Zhao Z J, Wu X H, Jones M K. 2015. Agriculture facilitated permanent human occupation of the Tibetan Plateau after 3600 BP. Science, 347: 248–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chu J Y, Huang W, Kuang S Q, Wang J M, Xu J J, Chu Z T, Yang Z Q, Lin K Q, Li P, Wu M, Geng Z C, Tan C C, Du R F, Jin L. 1998. Genetic relationship of populations in China. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 95: 11763–11768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collard I F, Foley R A. 2002. Latitudinal patterns and environmental determinants of recent human cultural diversity: Do humans follow biogeographical rules? Evol Ecol Res, 4: 371–383Google Scholar
  7. Cui Y F, Liu Y J, Ma M M. 2018. Spatiotemporal evolution of prehistoric Neolithic–Bronze Age settlements and influencing factors in the Guanting Basin, northeast Tibetan Plateau. Sci China Earth Sci, 61: 149–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Vaus D A. 2002. Analyzing Social Science Data. California: Sage PublicationGoogle Scholar
  9. Dong G H, Jia X, Elston R, Chen F H, Li S C, Wang L, Cai L H, An C B. 2013. Spatial and temporal variety of prehistoric human settlement and its influencing factors in the upper Yellow River valley, Qinghai Province, China. J Archaeol Sci, 40: 2538–2546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dong G H, Ren L L, Jia X, Liu X Y, Dong S M, Li H M, Wang Z X, Xiao Y M, Chen F H. 2016. Chronology and subsistence strategy of Nuomuhong culture in the Tibetan Plateau. Quat Int, 426: 42–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fei X T. 1989. The Pattern of Diversity in Unity of the Chinese Nation (in Chinese). Beijing: China Minzu University PressGoogle Scholar
  12. Gao X B. 2010. The formation and ethnic sources of the Anduo and Kang Tibetan region (in Chinese). J Sichuan Univ Nation, 19: 14–18Google Scholar
  13. Han E, Paik C. 2017. Ethnic integration and development in China. World Dev, 93: 31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harrell E B S. 2013. Cultural Encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers. Seattle: University of Washington PressGoogle Scholar
  15. Hao S Y, Ren Y F, Chen Y C. 2002. Atlas of Ethnic Minorities in China (in Chinese). Beijing: Map PressGoogle Scholar
  16. He B D. 1969. The Relationship Between the Loess and the Agricultural Origin in China (in Chinese). Hong Kong: The Chinese University PressGoogle Scholar
  17. He K Y, Lu H Y, Zhang J P, Wang C, Huan X J. 2017. Prehistoric evolution of the dualistic structure mixed rice and millet farming in China. Holocene, 27: 1885–1898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ji T, He Q Q, Wu J J, Wang S C, Ruth M, Tao Y. 2016. Progress in evolutionary studies on Duolocal marriages in Matrilineal Mosuo So–ciety in China. Sci Sin Vitae, 46:129–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jia X. 2012. Spatial and temporal cultural evolution and plant remains during Neolithic–Bronze Age in Northeast Qinghai Province (in Chinese). Doctoral Dissertation. Lanzhou: Lanzhou UniversityGoogle Scholar
  20. Jia X, Dong G H, Wang L, Ma M M, Lee H F, Zhang Z C, Chen F H. 2016. How humans inhabited the northeastern Tibetan Plateau during the Little Ice Age: A case study at Hualong County, Qinghai Province, China. J Archaeol Sci Rep, 7: 27–36Google Scholar
  21. Jia X, Lee H F, Cui M C, Liu C, Zeng L, Yue R P H, Zhao Y, Lu H Y. 2017. Habitat variability and ethnic diversity in Northern Tibetan Plateau. Sci Rep, 7: 918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ke Y H, Su B, Song X F, Lu D, Chen L F, Li H Y, Qi C J, Sangkot M, Ranjan D, Peter U, Xiao C J, Mark S, Jeff L, Dpuglas WR S W, Mark S, Peter O, Zhu D L, Jin J Z, Huang W, Ranajit C, Chen Z, Jin L. 2001. African origin of modern humans in East Asia: A Tale of 12000 Y chromosomes. Science, 292: 1151–1153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li A Z. 1993. Selected Literary Theories of Tibetan studies by Li Anzhai (in Chinese). Beijing: Chinese Tibetan PressGoogle Scholar
  24. Li Z H, Li Y K. 1992. Brief history of Ando Tebitan (in Chinese). Xining: Qinghai Ethnic Publishing HouseGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu X B. 2004. An Anthropological Study of the Inter–ethnic Relationship in Amdo. Ethno–National, 5: 46–54Google Scholar
  26. Mullaney T S. 2010. Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. California: University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  27. Paik C, Shawa T W. 2013. Altitude and adaptation: A study of geography and ethnic division. Appl Geogr, 40: 212–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Qinghai Provincial Bureau of Statistics. 2016. Qinghai Statistical Yearbook: 2016 (in Chinese). Beijing: China Statistical PressGoogle Scholar
  29. Ran G R, Li S M, Zhou X L. 1985. The History of the Qiang Ethnic Group (in Chinese). Chengdu: Sichuan Minorities PressGoogle Scholar
  30. Shen Z H, Li P, Sun H K, Pang LH. 2011. Geographical Patterns of Chinese Ethnic Minority Population Composition and Ethnic Diversity. Chin Geogr Sci, 21: 454–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Simonson T S, Yang Y, Huff C D, Yun H, Qin G, Witherspoon D J, Bai Z, Lorenzo F R, Xing J, Jorde L B, Prchal J T, Ge R L. 2010. Genetic evidence for high–altitude adaptation in Tibet. Science, 329: 72–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang C C, Li H. 2013. Inferring human history in East Asia from Y chromosomes. Invest Genet, 4: 11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang L X, Lu Y, Zhang C, Wei L H, Yan S, Huang Y Z, Wang C C, Mallick S, Wen S Q, Jin L, Xu S H, Li H. 2018. Reconstruction of Ychromosome phylogeny reveals two neolithic expansions of Tibeto–Burman populations. Mol Genet Genomics, 293: 1293–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang M K. 2003. Qiang wandering between Han and Tibetan: A historical anthropological study on the edge of Cathay (in Chinese). Taipei: Linking Pubilishing Co., LtdGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang W Z. 2010. The Origin of the Han Chinese under the perspective of genetics (in Chinese). Doctoral Dissertation. Beijing: Chinese Academy of SciencesGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu M, Wang X L. 2001. Features and Functions of HeHuang Culture of the Ming–Qing Period (in Chinese). J Lanzhou Univ–Soc Sci, 29: 45–52Google Scholar
  37. Yang S M, Ding H. 2003. The ethnography of China (in Chinese). Beijing: Central University for Nationalities PressGoogle Scholar
  38. Yao H B, Wang C C, Wang J, Tao X, Shang L, Wen S Q, Du Q, Deng Q, Xu B, Huang Y, Wang H D, Li S, Bin Cong S, Ma L, Jin L, Krause J, Li H. 2017. Genetic structure of Tibetan populations in Gansu revealed by forensic STR loci. Sci Rep, 7: 41195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yi X, Liang Y, Huerta–Sanchez E, Jin X, Cuo Z X P, Pool J E, Xu X, Jiang H, Vinckenbosch N, Korneliussen T S, Zheng H, Liu T, He W, Li K, Luo R, Nie X, Wu H, Zhao M, Cao H, Zou J, Shan Y, Li S, Yang Q, Asan Q, Ni P, Tian G, Xu J, Liu X, Jiang T, Wu R, Zhou G, Tang M, Qin J, Wang T, Feng S, Li G, Huasang G, Luosang J, Wang W, Chen F, Wang Y, Zheng X, Li Z, Bianba Z, Yang G, Wang X, Tang S, Gao G, Chen Y, Luo Z, Gusang L, Cao Z, Zhang Q, Ouyang W, Ren X, Liang H, Zheng H, Huang Y, Li J, Bolund L, Kristiansen K, Li Y, Zhang Y, Zhang X, Li R, Li S, Yang H, Nielsen R, Wang J, Wang J. 2010. Sequencing of 50 human exomes reveals adaptation to high altitude. Science, 329: 75–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yuan Q Z, Wu S H, Dai E F, Zhao D S, Zhang X R, Ren P. 2017. Spatiotemporal variation of the wet–dry conditions from 1961 to 2015 in China. Sci China Earth Sci, 60: 2041–2050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang D D, Li S H. 2002. Optical dating of Tibetan human hand–and footprints: An implication for the palaeoenvironment of the last glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau. Geophys Res Lett, 29: 16–1–16–3Google Scholar
  42. Zhang D J, Dong G H, Wang H, Ren X Y, Ha P P, Qiang M R, Chen F H. 2016. History and possible mechanisms of prehistoric human migration to the Tibetan Plateau. Sci China Earth Sci, 59: 1765–1778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang X H. 2010. Mid–holocene environmental Archaeology research in different regions of Huanghe River Reaches (in Chinese). Doctoral Dissertation. Beijing: Peking UniversityGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhou W Z. 2003. Study on the development and variation of the multiculture of northwest minority nationalities during the ancient period of China (in Chinese). Coll Essays Chin Hist Geogr, 3: 5–11Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xin Jia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Harry F. Lee
    • 4
    Email author
  • Mengchun Cui
    • 1
  • Guoquan Cheng
    • 1
  • Yang Zhao
    • 1
  • Hong Ding
    • 3
    • 5
  • Ricci P. H. Yue
    • 6
  • Huayu Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Earth and Environmental SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Needham Research InstituteCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Resource ManagementThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  5. 5.School of MarxismTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanChina
  6. 6.Department of Geography and International Center for China Development StudiesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations