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Advances in Earth Science  2021, Vol. 36 Issue (7): 684-693    DOI: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2021.073
Research Progress of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem Nexus
Yijia WANG1(),Yanxu LIU1(),Shuang SONG1,Bojie FU1,2
1.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology,Faculty of Geographical Science,Beijing Normal University,Beijing 100875,China
2.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology,Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100085,China
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Traditional Water-Food-Energy (WFE) nexus lacks consideration of the support and feedback capacity of ecosystems, which makes it difficult to guarantee a coordinated regional water-food-energy security. Based on a review of recent international frameworks for Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem (WFEE) nexus construction, we found that there was a need to integrate the social governance processes of water, food and energy resource sectors from the perspective of ecosystem services. On the basis of different ecosystem types, the common WFEE nexus can be classified into five ecosystems: agriculture, river, forest, grassland, and urban. There is a relative lack of research on forest and grassland ecosystems. In terms of research methods, the research difficulties are the determination of subsystem boundaries in quantitative assessment, the influence of multiple subjects on the nexus in prediction, and the combination of resource management and ecological restoration in integration and optimization. With the goal of optimizing the WFEE nexus structure and providing an overall decision basis for regional sustainable development, future research can focus on four aspects: grasping the regional characteristics, expanding the index system, integrating the model requirements, and optimizing the national space.

Key words:  Nexus      Water      Food      Energy      Ecosystem      Sustainable development     
Received:  26 February 2021      Published:  20 August 2021
ZTFLH:  P963  
Fund: the National Natural Science Foundation of China "Mechanisms of human-natural system coupling and optimization of the Yellow River Basin"(42041007);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program "Ecological security barrier function and optimization system"(2019QZKK0405)
Corresponding Authors:  Yanxu LIU     E-mail:;
About author:  WANG Yijia (1997-), female, Shantou City, Guangdong Province, Ph.D student. Research areas include vegetation and climate interactions and social-ecological systems. E-mail:
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Yijia WANG
Yanxu LIU
Shuang SONG
Bojie FU

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Yijia WANG,Yanxu LIU,Shuang SONG,Bojie FU. Research Progress of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem Nexus. Advances in Earth Science, 2021, 36(7): 684-693.

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Fig. 1  From Water-Food-Energy nexus a to Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem nexus b
Fig. 2  WFEE nexus framework for different ecosystem types
Fig. 3  Comparison of research methods based on 27 WFEE cases
Fig. 4  Research perspectives for enhancing WFEE nexus synergy
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