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Rangeland, livestock and herders revisited in the Northern Pastoral Region of ChinaAuthor(s): Dennis P. Sheehy; Jeffrey Thorpe; Brant Kirychuk
Source: In: Bedunah, Donald J., McArthur, E. Durant, and Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, comps. 2006. Rangelands of Central Asia: Proceedings of the Conference on Transformations, Issues, and Future Challenges. 2004 January 27; Salt Lake City, UT. Proceeding RMRS-P-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 62-82
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionRangelands, which comprise more than 40 percent of China’s land surface area, are an important natural resource that provides a direct livelihood for at least 39 million people. Although the importance of rangelands has been recognized for millennia, during the latter part of the 20th Century China’s rangelands have been subject to over-use by a growing population that is dependent on this natural resource for their livelihood and land-use changes that have diminished productivity and promoted degradation. The first internationally funded agricultural project was initiated in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in 1981. In 1985, the Yihenoer Pilot Demonstration Area was established to demonstrate methods of rangeland management and livestock production facilitating sustainable use of rangelands. An ecological inventory of rangeland vegetation compiled over three years from ecological monitoring points indicated that rangeland condition was degrading. The primary reasons for deteriorating rangeland condition were overstocking and conversion of rangeland to rainfed cropland. In 2003, the Yihenoer Pilot Demonstration Area was revisited by Canadian and American range scientists. Evaluation and comparison with information obtained in 1987 indicated that rangelands of the Yihenoer Pilot Demonstration Area had continued to degrade, grass steppe rangelands were less productive, and that conversion of rangelands to rainfed cropland was continuing. The authors recommend that a “bottom-up” rangeland management planning program designed to integrate actual land users with well defined and rational “top-down” government agricultural policies be implemented in the northern pastoral region of China or degradation and loss of rangelands will continue.
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CitationSheehy, Dennis P.; Thorpe, Jeffrey; Kirychuk, Brant. 2006. Rangeland, livestock and herders revisited in the Northern Pastoral Region of China. In: Bedunah, Donald J., McArthur, E. Durant, and Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, comps. 2006. Rangelands of Central Asia: Proceedings of the Conference on Transformations, Issues, and Future Challenges. 2004 January 27; Salt Lake City, UT. Proceeding RMRS-P-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 62-82
Keywordsresource planning, rangeland degradation, overgrazing, conservation planning, rangeland rehabilitation
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