Abstract

Introduction: Sustainability requires the reconciling of human needs with the healthy natural ecosystem, which should be achieved within the grand course of industrialization and modernization. Systematic transitions on demography, economy, technology, and institutions are required, while different civilizations may take their respective paths. In this study, we analyze the social-ecological transitions of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China during the past century, focusing on major changes in its environmental, demographic, and socioeconomic conditions. Results: A two-level social-ecological system analysis framework was proposed, and four stages of transition were identified: traditional nomadism, primitive industrial civilization, collectivization era, and economic reform/open-door policy era. Our analysis showed that Inner Mongolia has made great achievements in its socioeconomic domains but is faced with numerous challenging environmental problems. Overconsumption of resources and failure to curtail ecological degradation may lead to a trap of unsustainability. Conclusions: However, the slowing-down population growth, improvements of the economic structure, and many new sustainability initiatives and strong support from the central government together give hope for a sustainable future of the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalEcological Processes
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Fingerprint

civilization
open door policy
sustainability
socioeconomic conditions
economic structure
economic reform
demography
systems analysis
modernization
industrialization
population growth
degradation
ecosystem
resource
need
economy
central government
analysis
socioeconomics

Keywords

  • Demographic transition
  • Ecological trap
  • Inner Mongolia
  • Modernization
  • Social-ecological system
  • Sustainability transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling

Cite this

Social-ecological transformations of Inner Mongolia : a sustainability perspective. / Xu, Guang Hua; Wu, Jianguo.

In: Ecological Processes, Vol. 5, No. 1, 23, 01.12.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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