Improving Policies and Research for Grassland Management

ECCD Brings Together Experts to Discuss Conservation in Inner Mongolia

Improving Policies and Research for Grassland Management

BEIJING (October 31, 2016) – Climate change impacts like desertification and flooding and lifestyles of migrants throughout China’s Western regions are threatening the sustainability of China’s grassland ecology. In order to introduce new and better practical courses of action, the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) brought together a diverse group engaged in shared their experience of doing grassland management policy and practice at home and abroad for the ‘Workshop on Global Grassland Management Policy and Climate Change Adaptation’ in Beijing on October 31, 2016.

Nearly 30 experts and scholars representing the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as well as universities and colleges in Beijing, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia, and domestic and foreign NGOs like IFCE, GEI, WWF, joined the workshop.

The thoughts and opinions shared during the workshop, while diverse, were each insightful and grounded in scientific research.

Insights from Experts

When asked how to implement the global grassland management policies in China, the experts had various opinions and insights.

Zhang Qi, the Deputy Director of IFCE, introduced the program “The Global Comparison of and Policy Recommendation on the Sustainable Grassland Governance,” which mainly focused on taking herdsmen’s livelihood, fairness and environmental protection into consideration through the investigation and survey of grassland management cases in Switzerland, the United States and Mongolia.

“With their large scale and huge impact, the civil organizations in Mongolia may serve as a typical case of government grassland management around the world”. ——Zhang Qi, Deputy Director, IFCE

According to Zhang Qi, the Swiss federal government strengthens the social benefits of subsidies through 20% quantitative subsidies and 80% performance subsidies. On the other hand, the NGOs in Mongolia participate a lot in the reservation of grassland eco-system and conduct several roles traditionally held by the government. In Mongolia, the government has actually purchased many of these services. These two case studies of foreign grassland management experiences provide an interesting case when researching the related management agencies, policies and markets of China’s western grassland.

Zhang Qi, the Vice/Deputy Director of IFCE introduces her global experience on grassland governance – GEI 2016

Dr. Peng Kui from GEI Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development Program shared the research outcomes achieved by GEI and IFCE in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia. He also introduced a systemic analysis based on field research in the past.

According to Dr. Peng Kui, each of the two main negative environmental situations is related to both human and non-human activities: the decrease in bio-diversity and ecological degradation in Sanjiangyuan and Xilin Guole is caused by simplified livestock grazing; and the main reason of grassland degradation in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia is climate change.

Through his work, Dr. Peng has come to understand that, once ensured that their level of livelihood will remain constant, the herdsmen in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia are eager to learn grassland management. Another key finding is that the cultures and religions in the different regions greatly influence how the respective people participate in the market activities and ecosystem management.

Dr. Peng, therefore, emphasized that culture and religion should be taken into consideration when making grassland policies. Dr. Peng suggested that following partnership models and utilizing cooperatives ensures careful participation in the management of grassland and more proactively addresses any market risk.

Dr. Peng Kui from GEI introduces the investigation and survey results of grassland policies in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia – GEI 2016

Professor Da Lintai from Inner Mongolia University and Professor Du Fachun from Yunnan Agricultural University shared key insights from their decades of working experience in Qinghai and Inner Mongolia respectively.

“Based on the actual analysis of management performance in husbandry, the performance of farm household outruns that of the cooperatives; while the performance of cooperatives outruns that of companies.” ——Professor Da Lintai, the Inner Mongolia University

Dr. Da emphasized that the modernization of small farmer and herdsmen household is necessary steps for realizing a complete modernization in husbandry. His research is based on the input and output analysis of three kinds of business entities including household management, cooperatives and pastures with corporate system. When considering all of his research, Professor Da pointed out that small farmer household management in Inner Mongolia grassland had the best results.

Professor Da Lintai from Inner Mongolia University introduces the management policies of grassland in Inner Mongolia – GEI 2016

Professor Du Fachun, spoke from the perspective of policy transition in Qinghai grassland management and discussed the problems that emerged in the transition of policies and systems in Qinghai’s grassland management. Specifically, Dr. Du said there were many problems in terms of the living and production in the migrant villages and introduced the management model of community cooperation in the Foggin Reserve Region.

Professor Du Fachun from Yunan Agricultural University introduces the management policies of grassland in Qinghai. – GEI 2016

Division Chief Li Bing from Grassland Supervision Center, Ministry of Agriculture, spoke on the overall goal of subsidy policy, which he said aimed to preserve the ecological environment through reducing grazing.

“The main function of China’s grassland is not providing beef and mutton but providing ecological products and services.” –  Li Bing, Division Chief, Grassland Supervision Center, Ministry of Agriculture

He also advocated that experts in related fields learn from foreign experience and policies; explore how to simultaneously increase local herdsmen’s livelihood and maintain the ecological environment; and integrate household pastures, cooperatives or pastures with corporate systems. Mr. Li also suggested that experts in this field conduct research on the carrying capacity of grassland, so to provide better solutions to eco-migration issues.

The participants engage in a heated discussion. – GEI 2016

Sharing Feedback from IUCN World Conservation Congress

In addition to these primary speakers, several participants shared their feedback from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

Specifically, Xie Yan, associate professor from the Institute of Zoology, CAS and the Global Protected Area Friendly System, Dr. Wang Lei from WWF, Professor Luan Xiaofeng from Beijing Forestry University, Lu Shanlong the Deputy President of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, and Dr. Peng Kui from GEI introduced the latest information on the adaptation of climate change and ecological reservation from the conference.

The main action points were that implementing adaptation strategies of climate change must engage in a bottom-up manner; biodiversity value must be included in social and economic value system; a unified production assessment systems should be established for the Global Protected Area; diversity of islands’ ecosystems should be promoted in the context of climate change; and that China’s Protected Area should have a network system. Participants also pointed out that China should promote global initiatives to push forward the implementation of adaptation of climate change and the action plan of ecological reservation.

The conference was co-hosted by GEI and IFCE, with the support from Ford Foundation and Oxfam.

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