PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 1-7.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.01.001

• Overview •     Next Articles

Thoughts on the recent development of physical geography

Bojie FU1,2()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100085, China
  • Received:2018-01-17 Revised:2018-01-22 Online:2018-01-28 Published:2018-01-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.L1624026;Research Project on the Development Strategy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 2016-DX-C-02


Physical geography is the cornerstone of comprehensive study in geography. On the basis of reviewing the main research progress of physical geography, this article discussed the new research directions of physical geography. Driven by global environmental changes, physical geography and its branches have achieved significant progress. Recent progress in physical geography mainly includes research on the synthesis of physical geographic processes, land surface system integration, land-sea interaction, and physical geography application for regional ecological or environmental management. Physical geography needs to face the global climate change and human needs, explore new methods of technology application, carry out integrated multi-factor and multi-process research, develop geographical models, model future environmental dynamics and sustainable development, and serve the national priorities. In the process of physical geography development, we should pay more attention to the following frontier areas and directions: (1) geomorphology needs to focus on the study of geomorphology and global environmental change, and geomorphology and human activities; (2) biogeography needs to focus on the exploration of frontier fields such as attribute geography, global change biogeography, and to connect spatial distribution in biogeography and human needs under the background of change; (3) hydrology needs to integrate the multi-factor, multi-process, and multi-scale research, and to promote the development of ecological hydrology, social hydrology, and hydrological morphology; (4) physical geography needs to play a key role in the research of climate change, and serve major international research projects in climate change; (5) comprehensive physical geography research needs to meet national priority demands, focusing on the coupling of human-land system, resource and environment carrying capacity assessment, ecological security pattern, and ecological civilization construction; (6) physical geography needs to merge the natural and human elements and processes, develop complex system simulation models, and analyze the coupling mechanism of natural and human factors and the dynamic change of land surface system.

Key words: physical geography, geographical process, land surface system, climate change