Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 127–136 | Cite as

Ecological Network Analysis Quantifying the Sustainability of Regional Economies: A Case Study of Guangdong Province in China

Article
  • 6 Downloads

Abstract

To meet the challenge of sustainable development, sustainability must be made. Ecological network analysis (ENA) was introduced in this paper as an approach to quantitatively measure the growth, development, and sustainability of an economic system. The Guangdong economic networks from 1987 to 2010 were analyzed by applying the ENA approach. Firstly, a currency flow network among economic sectors was constructed to represent the Guangdong economic system by adapting the input-output (I-O) table data. Then, the network indicators from the ENA framework involving the total system throughput (TST), average mutual information (AMI), ascendency (A), redundancy (R) and development capacity (C) were calculated. Lastly, the network indicators were analyzed to acquire the overall features of Guangdong’s economic operations during 1987–2010. The results are as follows: the trends of the network indicators show that the size of the Guangdong economic network grows exponentially at a high rate during 1987–2010, whereas its efficiency does not present a clear trend over its whole period. The growth is the main characteristic of the Guangdong economy during 1987–2010, with no clear evidence regarding its development. The quantitative results of the network also confirmed that the growth contributed to a great majority of the Guangdong economy during1987–2010, whereas the development’s contribution was tiny during the same period. The average value of the sustainability indicator (α) of the Guangdong economic network was 0.222 during 1987–2010, which is less than the theoretically optimal value of 0.37 for a sustainable human-influenced system. The results suggest that the Guangdong economic system needs a further autocatalysis to improve its efficiency to support the system maintaining a sustainable evolvement.

Keywords

network analysis regional economy sustainability evaluation ascendency Guangdong Province of China 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions, the Statistics Bureau of Guangdong Province for their kindly help in the I-O data.

References

  1. Azar C, Holmberg J, Lindgren K, 1996. Socio-ecological indicators for sustainability. Ecological Economics, 18(2): 89–112. doi: 10.1016/0921-8009(96)00028-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bettencourt L M A, Kaur J, 2011. Evolution and structure of sustainability science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(49): 19540–19545. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102712108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonacini E, Groppi M, Monaco R et al., 2017. A network landscape model: stability analysis and numerical tests. Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, 48: 569–584. doi: 10.1016/j.cnsns.2017.01.013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borrett S R, Moody J, Edelmann A, 2014. The rise of network ecology: maps of the topic diversity and scientific collaboration. Ecological Modelling, 293: 111–127. doi: 10.1016/j. ecolmodel.2014.02.019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown M T, Herendeen R A, 1996. Embodied energy analysis and EMERGY analysis: a comparative view. Ecological Economics, 19(3): 219–235. doi: 10.1016/S0921-8009(96)00046-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown M T, Ulgiati S, 1997. Emergy-based indices and ratios to evaluate sustainability: monitoring economies and technology toward environmentally sound innovation. Ecological Engineering, 9(1–2): 51–69. doi: 10.1016/S0925-8574(97)00033-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen S Q, Chen B, 2015. Urban energy consumption: different insights from energy flow analysis, input-output analysis and ecological network analysis. Applied Energy, 138: 99–107. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.10.055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark W C, Dickson N M, 2003. Sustainability science: the emerging research program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(14): 8059–8061. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1231333100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dai J, Fath B, Chen B, 2012. Constructing a network of the social-economic consumption system of China using extended exergy analysis. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(7): 4796–4808. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2012.04.027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Daly H E, 1996. Beyond Growth: the Economics of Sustainable Development. Boston, USA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Egilmez G, Kucukvar M, Tatari O, 2013. Sustainability assessment of U.S. manufacturing sectors: an economic input output-based frontier approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 53: 91–102. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fang D L, Chen B, 2015. Ecological network analysis for a virtual water network. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(11): 6722–6730. doi: 10.1021/es505388nCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fath B D, Patten B C, 1999. Review of the foundations of network environ analysis. Ecosystems, 2(2): 167–179. doi: 10. 1007/s100219900067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fath B D, Scharler U M, Ulanowicz R E et al., 2007. Ecological network analysis: network construction. Ecological Modelling, 208(1): 49–55. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.04.029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goerner S J, Lietaer B, Ulanowicz R E, 2009. Quantifying economic sustainability: implications for free-enterprise theory, policy and practice. Ecological Economics, 69(1): 76–81. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.07.018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang J L, Ulanowicz R E, 2014. Ecological network analysis for economic systems: growth and development and implications for sustainable development. PLoS One, 9(6): e100923. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100923Google Scholar
  17. Kates R W, Clark W C, 1999. Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability. Washington, DC, USA: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kharrazi A, Rovenskaya E, Fath B D et al., 2013. Quantifying the sustainability of economic resource networks: an ecological information-based approach. Ecological Economics, 90: 177–186. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li Y, Chen B, Yang Z F, 2009. Ecological network analysis for water use systems—a case study of the Yellow River Basin. Ecological Modelling, 220(22): 3163–3173. doi: 10.1016/j. ecolmodel.2009.08.007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li Y, Yang Z F, 2011. Quantifying the sustainability of water use systems: calculating the balance between network efficiency and resilience. Ecological Modelling, 222(10): 1771–1780. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.03.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lietaer B, Ulanowicz R E, Goerner S, 2009. Options for managing a systemic bank crisis. Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment & Society, 2(1): 1–15. http://sapiens.revues. org/747Google Scholar
  22. Morris J T, Christian R R, Ulanowicz R E, 2005. Analysis of size and complexity of randomly constructed food webs by information theoretic metrics. In: Belgrano A, Scharler U M, Dunne J et al. (eds). Aquatic Food Webs: An Ecosystem Approach. New York, USA: Oxford University Press, 73–85. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198564836.003.0008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Saura S, Estreguil C, Mouton C et al., 2011. Network analysis to assess landscape connectivity trends: application to European forests (1990–2000). Ecological Indicators, 11(2): 407–416. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2010.06.011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Templet P H, 1999. Energy, diversity and development in economic systems; an empirical analysis. Ecological Economics, 30(2): 223–233. doi: 10.1016/s0921-8009(98)00085-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ulanowicz R E, 1980. An hypothesis on the development of natural communities. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 85(2): 223–245. doi: 10.1016/0022-5193(80)90019-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ulanowicz R E, 1986. Growth and Development: Ecosystems Phenomenology. New York, USA: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ulanowicz R E, Norden J S, 1990. Symmetrical overhead in flow networks. International Journal of Systems Science, 21(2): 429–437. doi: 10.1080/00207729008910372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ulanowicz R E, 1997. Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective. New York, USA: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Ulanowicz R E, Goerner S J, Lietaer B et al., 2009. Quantifying sustainability: resilience, efficiency and the return of information theory. Ecological Complexity, 6(1): 27–36. doi: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2008.10.005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wackernagel M, Onisto L, Bello P et al., 1999. National natural capital accounting with the ecological footprint concept. Ecological Economics, 29(3): 375–390. doi: 10.1016/S0921-8009 (98)90063-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yang Z F, Zhang Y, Li S S et al., 2014. Characterizing urban metabolic systems with an ecological hierarchy method, Beijing, China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 121: 19–33. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.09.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zhang Y, Yang Z F, Yu X Y, 2009. Ecological network and emergy analysis of urban metabolic systems: model development, and a case study of four Chinese cities. Ecological Modelling, 220(11): 1431–1442. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.02.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhang Y, Liu H, Li Y T et al., 2012. Ecological network analysis of China’s societal metabolism. Journal of Environmental Management, 93(1): 254–263. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011. 09.013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhang Y, Liu H, Fath B D, 2014. Synergism analysis of an urban metabolic system: model development and a case study for Beijing, China. Ecological Modelling, 272: 188–197. doi: 10. 1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.10.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Geographical ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations