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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 Agricultural Economics Group The University of Queensland www.nrsm.uq.edu.au/caeg. Presentation. The problem 1 (a). Grassland degradation

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An assessment of China’s approach to grassland degradation & livelihood problems in the pastoral regionScott Waldron, Colin Brown & John LongworthChina Agricultural Economics GroupThe University of Queenslandwww.nrsm.uq.edu.au/caeg

presentation
Presentation
  • 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”
1 a causes of degradation
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!!!!
1 a levels of overgrazing seasonality is an issue
1 (a) Levels of overgrazingSeasonality is an issue
  • Winter-spring grasslands heavily over-grazed
  • Summer grasslands less heavily grazed & sometimes under-grazed
1 b pastoral livelihoods
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
1 a b the grassland degradation low income cycle
1 (a,b). The grassland degradation–low income cycle
  • How is China attempting to break the cycle?
  • How can this approach be improved?
2 fixes to break the grassland livelihood cycle
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
2 a technical measures
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
2 b administrative fixes
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!
2 b reduce livestock return grasslands
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!!!
2 a b technical administrative fixes
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!!!
2 a b technical administrative fixes1
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
2 c management fixes
2 (c). Management fixes
  • 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

Inner Mongolia mid and end year stock numbers

Source: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Bureau of Statistics (various years)

2 c household level production decisions
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

2 c integration of households into markets
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
2 b nomad settlement
2 (b). Nomad settlement
  • And many more cases of resettlement
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