Spatiotemporal Evaluation of Socio-Ecological-Economic System Vulnerability: A County-Level Analysis of Chongqing, China
School of Geography and Tourism, Chongqing Key Laboratory of GIS Application, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 401331, China
Chongqing Engineering Research Center for Remote Sensing Big Data Application, School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
Research Base of Karst Eco-environments at Nanchuan in Chongqing, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093912
Received: 6 April 2020 / Revised: 7 May 2020 / Accepted: 8 May 2020 / Published: 11 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socio-Ecological Systems Sustainability)
The research on vulnerability can provide insights into social, economic, and ecological risks. Therefore, the objective of this work was to measure the degree of socio-ecological-economic system (SEES) vulnerability in Chongqing, one of the regions with the high constraint of natural conditions and human activity in the southwest of China. For this, by using three criteria and 40 indices based on the exposure-sensitive-adaptive capacity (ESC) model, an index system was designed. The entropy method was used to determine the weight of the indices. Furthermore, the composite index model and coefficient of variation were applied to evaluate the spatiotemporal characteristics of SEES vulnerability in the study area at the county level. The results showed that the average vulnerability index of SEES from 2005 to 2010 in Chongqing was 0.5735. The development pressure was high, and the ability to resist disturbance from external risks was low. Regional sustainable development was facing challenges. Spatial distribution of SEES vulnerability of Chongqing varied from high (moderately vulnerable or worse) in the western counties to low (mildly vulnerable) in the northeastern and southeastern areas with better ecological bases. The general vulnerability of the ecological and economic subsystems continues to decrease. However, the vulnerability of the social subsystem tended to initially decrease and then increase. Overall, the differences in the pattern of SEES vulnerability of the counties declined. Moreover, economic and social development tended to balance. This study is helpful to understand the overall trend and characteristics of vulnerability change and provides theoretical methods and reference opinions to support regional sustainable development.