Ecosystem Conservation & Community Development

GEI believes that environmental conservation and economic development can – and should – in fact, work together. Throughout China’s western region and even abroad, our team creates bottom-up solutions that improve quality of life and involves communities to protect the environment.

To this end, we have developed an economic design that incorporates environmental valuation and explored best practices for providing recommendations for government ecological protection and economic development decision-making.

Download the ‘Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development Program Introduction’

Insights and Updates from the Field - ECCD Blog

“We thought, ‘Maybe we can find a sustainable way for the nature reserve and the local community to coexist,” said Program Manager, Dr. Kui Peng.

Since 2005, the Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development program has designed and implemented the Community Conservation Concession Agreement (CCCA), working alongside key decision-makers and developing on-the-ground partnerships.

This model has been adopted by many communities in Ningxia, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia, and internationally, in Myanmar, to strengthen resource management and enhance economic opportunity.

Learn More about our Project Sites

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

Wulijitu Gacha Grassland, 2011 – 2015

To reduce desertification and offer animals a more sustainable food supply, GEI introduced special foraging grasses, as well as new grassland protection methods, to the Wulijitu Gacha region in 2011 and by 2015, we had implemented sand control measures across 113 hectares. Not only did local herdsmen learn and implement grassland science but the project also attracted 500,000 RMB in funding from the government.

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

Yunwushan Nature Reserve, 2011 – present

35 households participate in protecting more than 2,850 hectares of grassland inside the Yunwushan Nature Reserve. Through government subsidies in our community development fund, the herders grow and harvest regional plants for an improved environment and livelihood, with their income doubling over the past five years.

Sichuan Province

Baoxing County, 2006 – 2014

The protection of over 7,000 hectares of woodlands & 300 million cubic meters of water are critical to the resource-dependent
livelihoods of Baoxing County. Beginning in 2006, GEI helped residents carry out beekeeping and other income-generating activities, as well as established an environmental protection fund to keep this precious environment protected for generations.

Qinghai Province

Sanjiangyuan, 2013 – present

To protect Asia’s vital bodies of water and
foster local development, we designed and
implemented an ecosystem services-based
economic model in Qinghai. Our work is
fostering eco-tourism, traditional craftsman-
ship, and water quality monitoring across
200 households in 12 communities. By 2016,
our project included over 20,000 hectares of
community-protected land were protected and
5 eco-tourism development cooperatives.
The community development fund had even
grown to 19,000RMB.


Thanbayarkon village, Bago Region, 2015 – 2016

This community development project has carried out a forest planting initiative and provided clean energy technology: 193 biomass cook stoves, 180 solar lights, and 1 solar-powered water pump. GEI established a revolving fund to support the maintenance of the technology and micro-financing of other development projects. Upon its success, the project received 3.3 million USD from China’s South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change. In 2017, we began cooperating with 4 Burmese NGOs to scale up this pilot model to reach 14 communities across 4 State/Region in Myanmar.

Zhanfu Li shares his story about how our work in Ningxia improved his life.

Meet Zhanfu Li


When Zhanfu Li (age 68) saw the rolling hills turn yellow from desertification and finally catch flame in the fire of 2014, he knew he had to do something; the livelihood of his great-son depended on it.

Since joining GEI’s project in 2012, Zhanfu LI has protected acres of Yunwushan Nature Reserve. He also learned better ways to farm that preserve the grasses and wildflowers for generations to come. He has also joined the new community development fund.

Mr. Li told us that he improved his income enough to support his wife and sons; as he said:

Through the CCCA project and working hard, our life has become better and better.

Watch “A New Hope for Ningxia”

“A New Hope for Ningxia” – GEI, 2015

Featuring: Ms Linghong KONG, GEI Program Officer

Video Producer: Ms Lei Wang, GEI Communications

Watch on YouTube and Subscribe

Program Team

Kui Peng
Program Manager

Yunzhu Chen
Senior Program Officer

Qian Wang
Senior Program Officer

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