Eco-environmental stress refers to the pressure borne by the environment in sustaining the pre-existing non-industrialized state and/or in counteracting adverse impacts caused by natural and human factors. The present article introduces the concept, research progress, and method for assessing eco-environmental stress. An eco-environmental stress index (ESI) is established to assess the eco-environmental stress of 13 cities in the Western Taiwan Straits Economic Zone (hereafter referred to as the Economic Zone) during the period from 2000 to 2010. The research provides a reference for the strategic planning of industrial development and environmental protection. The results show that the overall eco-environmental stress of the Economic Zone was slight and did not have significant change during the past 10 years. The cities with the most severe eco-environmental stress are distributed in the north and south of the Economic Zone. Most areas of Fujian Province have a low degree of eco-environmental stress, a situation that is being constantly improved. The regions with high atmospheric and water pollutant emissions are concentrated in the northern, middle, and southern coastal regions of the Economic Zone. The pollutant emissions of coastal cities are higher than those of inland cities. In the future, ecological restoration and compensation mechanisms should be established for regions where environmental protection and remediation is urgently needed.
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