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Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10399-10427; doi:10.3390/su70810399

Assessment and Evolution of the Sustainable Development Ability of Human–Ocean Systems in Coastal Regions of China

1
Center for Studies of Marine Economy and Sustainable Development, Liaoning Normal University, No. 850 Huanghe Road, Dalian 116029, China
2
School of Foreign Languages, Liaoning Normal University, No. 850 Huanghe Road, Dalian 116029, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 3 May 2015 / Revised: 25 July 2015 / Accepted: 28 July 2015 / Published: 5 August 2015
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Abstract

The oceans are a crucial source of natural resources for human development, as productive terrestrial resources increasingly reach their limits of economic and ecological exploitation. With increasing human impact on oceans, it is vital to maintain a sustainable human–ocean relationship. We present an indicator system and information entropy model to assess the evolution of human–ocean systems (HOSs) according to the dissipative structure theory. Sustainable development ability (SDA) scores for HOSs are calculated based on the combination-weighting model. Finally, the Richards model is used to depict the HOSs’ evolution states and periods in different coastal regions of China. The assessment indicates that total entropy is undergoing a process of negentropy; and that order degrees of HOSs are gradually improving. The results also suggest that the sustainable development levels of HOSs are continuously improving. The different coastal regions showed notable disparities of SDA and evolutionary processes, due to a differing resource base, environmental carrying capacity, and socio-economic development. Different limiting factors should determine regional policies for enhancing the SDA process; the key to sustainable development of HOS is achieving a balance between the exploitation of ocean resources for socio-economic development and conserving ecosystem services that are critical to wellbeing and livelihoods. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development ability; human-ocean system; coastal regions of China; information entropy; Richards model sustainable development ability; human-ocean system; coastal regions of China; information entropy; Richards model
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sun, C.; Zhang, K.; Zou, W.; Li, B.; Qin, X. Assessment and Evolution of the Sustainable Development Ability of Human–Ocean Systems in Coastal Regions of China. Sustainability 2015, 7, 10399-10427.

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