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Desertification and Restoration of Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

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Grasslands cover 40% of China's total land area and are the largest ecosystem threatened by desertification. Grassland degradation causes ecosystem instability and harms economic development. Historically, a series of policies led to a rapid shift in land tenure and stewardship practices, resulting in overgrazing and conversion of grassland to cropland. Protection and restoration of grasslands are thus a key component of China's fight against desertification. Current strategies in Inner Mongolia demonstrate the potential of an integrated approach to combating desertification. The Xilinguole pilot project further illustrates this approach, which includes tree planting, grassland closures, resettlement of displaced herders and farmers, and feeding demonstration. To be more effective, it is necessary to modify grassland management practices, create more off-farm jobs, and promote range grazing with a standardized adaptive stocking rate.
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Keywords: desertification; ecological resettlement; grassland degradation; grassland restoration; overgrazing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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