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An assessment of China’s approach to grassland degradation & livelihood problems in the pastoral region Scott Waldron, Colin Brown & John Longworth China.

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Presentation on theme: "An assessment of China’s approach to grassland degradation & livelihood problems in the pastoral region Scott Waldron, Colin Brown & John Longworth China."— Presentation transcript:

1 An assessment of China’s approach to grassland degradation & livelihood problems in the pastoral region Scott Waldron, Colin Brown & John Longworth China Agricultural Economics Group The University of Queensland

2 Presentation 1.The problem 1 (a). Grassland degradation 1 (b). Pastoral livelihoods 2. The “fixes” 2 (a). Technical fixes 2 (b). Administrative fixes 2 (c). Management fixes 3. Assessment More emphasis needed on the latter - “management fixes”

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4 1 (a). Levels of grassland degradation Period Severity of degradation – Inner Mongolia LightMediumHigh 1980s47%35%17% %37%32% Source: Lu (2005)

5 1 (a) Causes of degradation Non-livestock grazing pressure –Rodents –Insects Exposure of topsoil –Herb picking –Rip lines for tree planting & artificial grasses –Cultivation / land reclamation !!!! But consensus that over-grazing of livestock is the main cause!!!!

6 1 (a) Levels of overgrazing Seasonality is an issue Winter-spring grasslands heavily over-grazed Summer grasslands less heavily grazed & sometimes under-grazed

7 1 (b). Pastoral incomes

8 1 (b). Pastoral livelihoods But income data masks other livelihood determinants Pockets of poverty Lack of access to –Services (education, health, medical) –& infrastructure (housing, power, roads) Justification for nomad settlement & resettlement

9 1 (a,b). The grassland degradation–low income cycle How is China attempting to break the cycle? How can this approach be improved?

10 2. “Fixes” to break the grassland-livelihood cycle China turning attention to urgent problems –Rmb100 billion investment in the grasslands from 1998 to 2005 –In the full range of programs that impact on grasslands “Fixes” can be classed as: –Technical –Administrative –Management

11 2 (a). Technical measures To increase grassland productivity –Grassland seeding and improvement To reduce non-livestock grazing pressure –Rodent and insect control To exclude livestock and secure property rights –Fencing Other infrastructure –E.g. Dips, market places and shearing sheds To intensify livestock systems !!!!!! –Pen-feeding, feed, flock structures and breeding

12 2 (b). Administrative fixes Technical fixes complemented by strengthening of administrative measures On the basis that local level systems (collective-individual co-management) have failed So the State is assuming control!

13 2 (b) Policy and legislative framework

14 2 (b). “Reduce livestock return grasslands” Set aside program like “Grain for Green” Grazing bans & compensation payments –Whole year bans, whole year pen-feeding –Or seasonal bans – especially spring grasslands –Average of 5 years per area / household –Will be rolled out throughout the entire pastoral region!!!

15 2 (a,b). Technical & administrative fixes: Designed to get people & livestock off the grasslands!!! –Intensify livestock systems –Settlement & resettlement –Increase off-farm labour, migration & on-leasing Like the rest of rural China!!!

16 2 (a,b). Technical & administrative fixes Provide immediate solutions to immediate problems But it is simply not logistically possible to implement, enforce & maintain over 400 million ha. of variable and inaccessible county Need to be complemented with long-term, bottom-up measures i.e. Termed as management fixes

17 2 (c). Management fixes Inner Mongolia mid and end year stock numbers Source: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Bureau of Statistics (various years) Seasonal turnoff cycles reduce pressure on cold season grasslands But in the context of an increase in year-end livestock numbers Maintains pressure on grasslands &/or cultivated land

18 2 (c). Household level production decisions More responsive management practices include: –Increasing turnoff rates of offspring – for slaughter & to agricultural areas for finishing –Culling unproductive breeders – animal selection Trials / modelling show that destocking/selection can be offset by productivity gains – income neutral or gains –To increase livestock value per unit grazing pressure But these initiatives require –Change in “traditional systems” (while maintaining “indigenous knowledge”) –Better farm management capacity - empowerment of herders –Which are under-emphasised in State extension & training programs However not all households will be able to adapt –Zhuanyi & on-leasing –Which involves another series of skills, language & training issues

19 2 (c). Integration of households into markets Targeting production –To meet the demands of specific markets in which pastoral areas have a comparative advantage E.g. Hot Pot, green food, textile markets –These can be higher value markets and can increase household revenues But meeting these market demands requires –Better farm management skills As discussed above –The development of effective local groups (associations, cooperatives) For the production & assembly of homogeneous lines of product –The development of an efficient marketing system That engenders price-grade differentials All of which are highly undeveloped in the pastoral region & largely neglected Initiatives required

20 Centralisation-decentralisation (zhua-fang) cycles in grasslands management

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22 2 (b). Nomad settlement And many more cases of resettlement


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