PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (6): 1060-1072.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.06.015

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Research progress and prospect of the interrelationship between ecosystem services and human well-being in the context of coupled human and natural system

QIU Jianjian(), LIU Yihua*(), YUAN Li, CHEN Chengjing, HUANG Qingyao   

  1. School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2020-08-24 Revised:2020-12-17 Online:2021-06-28 Published:2021-08-28
  • Contact: LIU Yihua;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771096);Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project of Guangdong Province(GD20SQ03)


Since the beginning of the 21st century, the conflict between the degradation of ecosystem services (ES) and the increase of human needs has become increasingly intensified. How to improve the interrelationship between ecosystem services and human well-being (HWB) towards a coordinated and balanced state naturally becomes a core theme of sustainable development. Based on the reviews of ES-HWB interrelationship through three phrases, the existing research mainly started from the influences of ES on and responses to HWB, and further focused on the practices of their interrelationship through some key fields including supply-demand relationship and spatial flows, trade-offs/synergies, valuation of cultural ecosystem services, payments for ecosystem services, and optimized regulation and sustainable management. However, the interrelationship research is still led by "influence chain" of the ES cascade while distinct deficiencies exist in terms of theoretical framing, technical methods of direct interrelationship measurement, and support applied for sustainable management. Moreover, the ES-HWB interrelationship tends to become more nonlinear, which urges for certain theoretical innovation from synthetic integration paradigm of the coupled human and natural system framework. This article, therefore, proposed a new path for the ES-HWB interrelationship research—from cascade to coupling, with which the interactive coercing effect and its intrinsic dynamic change mechanism are clear to distinguish in a systematic way. On this basis, an exploratory theoretical research framework of ES-HWB coupling was built with a main thread of "interactive coercing effect measurement-coupling relationship deconstruction-coupled pattern and process evolution-coordinated management and application", so were the technical coupling approaches. In such regards, the ES-HWB coupling research is bound to develop as a pivotal issue enriching the coupled human and natural system studies. First, there is a need to untangle ES-HWB interrelationship as a foundation. Then, further in-depth research should be enriched to achieve the orderly and coordinated development oriented by ecological civilization, including the decoupling of coupled interactions, transmission mechanism and dynamic integration, human needs-oriented differentiated evolution, and sustainable optimization based on the ES-HWB coordination.

Key words: ecosystem services, human well-being, coupled human and natural system, interrelationship, coupling, research framework