Abstract: The systemic characteristic and spatial pattern of rural development are important basis for establishing mode of regional sustainable development. The evaluation system composed of 16 indicators which belong to social system, economic system and resource-environmental system
is established to evaluate rural development status. At present, the study on regional rural development mainly focuses on spatial pattern, but the study on spatial correlation is seldom. The systemic characteristic and spatial pattern of rural development on regional scale (counties) in Three
Gorges Reservoir Area were investigated using mean-squared deviation weight method, system coupling theory, exploratory spatial data analysis method (ESDA), variogram model and so on, and discipline of rural development via the master systemic status, the relationships of subsystems and spatial
correlation of system were explored. Conclusions are drawn as follows1) The rural development level in Three Gorges Reservoir Area is quite unbalanced, and the high-level counties in regional scale mainly locate in the area around Chongqing's main urban area, the correspondingly low-level
counties mainly locate in eastern Chongqing. The disparity of economic system among subsystems is the highest, followed by social system and resource-environmental system. 2) The overall level of coordination degree between subsystems is still low in Three Gorges Reservoir Area. Coordination
degrees of 19 counties mainly are divided into four kinds, the moderate coordination, the mild coordination, the mild incoordination and the moderate incoordination, and there are no obvious differences among these counties. On regional scale, the counties with high-level coordination degree
mainly locate in the north of Three Gorges Reservoir Area, and the correspondingly low-level counties mainly locate in the south. 3) The overall of rural development system and its subsystems (e.g. social system, economic system and resource-environmental system) of 19 counties exhibit the
high spatial positive correlation, and the similar level of counties are clustered. Intriguingly, social system and economic system have the similar clustered pattern on regional scale. This may be due to the fact that social development always coexists with economic development. 4) The structural
differences of rural development system and its subsystems caused by spatial positive auto-correlation are significant, and it demonstrates a strong spatial auto-organized ability. It shows that although the self-development is the key factor for rural development, the rural development status
of a county not only depends on itself, but also the other surrounding counties. Among subsystems, resource-environmental system has the strongest auto-organized ability, while economic system has the weakest ability. The range of the spatial correlation influence of resource-environmental
system is most wide. In general, the research results provide a helpful reference for government to make regional strategic decisions and improve rural development policies. More attention should be directed at those counties that locate in the low-low level cluster regions. In regional scale,
rural development in Three Gorges Reservoir Area should aim at promoting harmonious development among regions in the future. And internally, disordered development should be controlled and rationalized through planning measures to achieve harmonious development among social system, economic
system and resource-environmental system.
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