Rural reforms and changes in land management and attitudes: A case study from Inner Mongolia, China

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Abstract

The international science community stresses the importance of the local perspective in the context of dryland degradation. This paper explores changes in management and attitudes in a mixed farming system in northern China, since the introduction of the economic reforms in the early 1980s, and the following changes in land-use rights. The area encompasses a dune landscape scattered with crop-land, as well as the Daqinggou Nature Reserve, an area of natural vegetation. According to farmers new varieties of maize in combination with increased use of fertilizers have improved yields, though high yield variability persists due to erratic rainfall. Farmers acknowledge the importance of the 30-year contract on cultivated land in 1997 for their investment in long-term management, but emphasize the importance of chemical fertilizers for short-term economic survival. The farmers stressed the negative impact of grazing and cultivation on soil erosion and stated that differences in vegetation composition and cover in the nature reserve are due to anthropogenic factors.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
JournalAmbio
Volume31
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes