PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 454-462.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.04.010

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Summary on Research of Coupled Human-Environment System Vulnerability under Global Environmental Change

CHEN Ping1,2, CHEN Xiaoling2,3   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science, Southwest University of China, Chongqing 400715, China;
    2. LMARS, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China;
    3. Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of Education,Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China
  • Received:2009-06-01 Revised:2009-12-01 Online:2010-04-24 Published:2010-04-24


Perturbations and stresses induced by global environmental change due to human activities have been the primary hindrances to sustainability of coupled human-environment system. Vulnerability analysis serving as a principal tool for sustainable researches increasingly arrests research communities’ attentions and it has become the hotspot in researches of global environment change. So far there have no consummate theory for vulnerability research, normal evaluation procedure and genetic metrics. Based on collected literatures, the conceptual framework of vulnerability was summarized, and formulation and components of vulnerability, exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, on different research contexts were analyzed in depth as well as the core issues around vulnerability. From a perspective of human-environment system, traditions and states quo of vulnerability research were presented through summing up current hotspots, and assembling researches on hazard responding thresholds, relationships among three vulnerability components, qualitative measurement of vulnerability and multi-source-data integration for evaluating vulnerability. Three typical analytical frameworks in vulnerability studies, which are especially suitable for coupled human-environment system, are also discussed. The challenges for vulnerability research in the future are concluded to effectively illustrate the causal relationship between vulnerability and multiple stressors in the coupled human-environmental system, to solve uncertain issues of the system, to accurately delineate dynamical process and the interaction among the elements of the system in vulnerability evaluation and to improve the efficiency of the information flow between vulnerability evaluation and decision makers.

Key words: analytical framework, challenge, coupled human-environment system, global environmental change, vulnerability