Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (5): 843-855.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003266

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Relationship between Farmer's Well-Being and Ecosystem Services in Hilly and Mountainous Areas of South China Based on Structural Equation Model: A Case Study of Lechang in Guangdong Province

Ying Xiong1,2(), Kelun Hou1,2, Sirui Zheng2, Kun Zhang2, Tianhao Yang2, Dandan Zhao3, Bing Sun4, Lei Chen4   

  1. 1.College of Geography and Tourism, Huanggang Normal University, Huanggang 438000, China
    2.Research Center of Resource Environment and Urban Planning, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410076, China
    3.School of Engineering Management, Hunan University of Finance and Economics, Changsha 410004, China
    4.Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520, China
  • Received:2020-02-12 Revised:2020-04-24 Online:2020-09-28 Published:2020-10-10


The south hilly and mountainous area is an important ecological functional area in China. As the main economic activity subject, farmers' perception of ecosystem services directly affects the eco-environment behavior, economic production activities, social life style and so on. The contribution of well-being is the core of ecosystem services. In order to explore the relationship between farmers' well-being and ecosystem services and promote the healthy development of ecosystem, eight villages in Lechang city of Guangdong Province, which are located in the key ecological functional areas of hilly and mountainous areas in south China, are selected as the research objects. Based on field survey and questionnaire interview, the structural equation model was used to comprehensively analyze the relationship between the development level of rural communities and farmers' welfare and the changes in ecosystem services, emphasizing the changes in that occurred between 2005 and 2018. The results show the following: 1) From 2005 to 2018, the well-being level of farmers has somewhat improved. The income level and living conditions of farmers have increased significantly; their evaluation values have increased from 0.294 and 0.245 in 2005 to 0.385 and 0.422 in 2018, respectively. Meanwhile, the awareness of farmers on ecological protection has been gradually strengthened. 2) The awareness of the four major service functions of the system is rising; particularly, the degree of understanding of cultural service functions and support service functions has improved significantly. The perceived value of farmers increased from 0.251 in 2005 to 0.370 in 2018. 3) The four service functions of the ecosystem have a certain coupling relationship with the level of community development, among which the relationship between supply services, cultural services and farmers' well-being is close. 4) To enhance the cultural service capacity of the ecosystem and develop the low impact economic development mode is conducive to the maintenance of ecosystem services and the improvement of farmers' well-being, and promote the sustainable development of ecological environment and rural socio-economic in key ecological function areas.

Key words: farmers' well-being, ecosystem services, structural equation model, hilly and mountainous area of south China, Lechang City

CLC Number: 

  • F327