China accounts for around one-eighth of the world’s grassland and almost all of its grasslands are being degraded. The authors analyse how China is grappling with the complex ecological and livelihood problems these pastoral areas present. The sustainable development of these extremely poor, culturally sensitive, strategically important and extremely diverse western pastoral areas poses one of the foremost challenges confronting the Chinese government.
This much-needed study provides a unique examination of the intricate web of policies and institutions that now impact on grassland degradation and sustainable development in China’s pastoral region. Understanding this complex matrix and its impact on the management of people, livestock, grasslands, markets and industry structures is crucial in charting a way forward. The authors argue that the aim should be to manage these inter-locking complex systems in a manner that takes advantage of the opportunities that technology present to achieve sustainable use of the grasslands.
Whilst their analysis is especially relevant to how China pursues the high priority national goal of ‘Developing the West’, it also reveals much about how China addresses other serious environmental problems that involve disadvantaged groups.
With its multi-disciplinary approach, the book will be invaluable and fascinating reading for academics and researchers of Chinese studies, development studies, ecosystem sustainability and natural resource management. Based on extensive first-hand fieldwork in the grasslands over two decades, the practical detail in this book will also be warmly welcomed by consultants and officials in NGOs and other international agencies charged with planning and executing pastoral development projects in China, Central Asia and Mongolia.