Environmental Conservation

Papers

Farmer and professional attitudes to the large-scale ban on livestock grazing of grasslands in China

S. K. DONGa1 c1, H. W. GAOa2 c1, G. C. XUa3, X. Y. HOUa4, R. J. LONGa5, M. Y. KANGa3 and J. P. LASSOIEa6

a1 State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China

a2 Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, 100094 Beijing, China

a3 State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resources Ecology, College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China

a4 Bureau of Science and Technology Management, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, 100081 Beijing, China

a5 Pastoral Agricultural College, Lanzhou University, 730020 Lanzhou, China

a6 International Centre for Tibetan Plateau Ecosystem Management, Lanzhou University, 730000, Lanzhou, China

SUMMARY

Grasslands are the most extensive terrestrial landscapes and ecosystems in China and face growing degradation. A policy to protect the grasslands established in 2001 (the Grassland Ban Policy [GBP]), involves four management practices including grazing bans, keeping grasslands fallow, grazing rotations and rearing livestock in sheds. A questionnaire was developed and used to establish attitudes towards and beliefs about the GBP in different sectors (farming households, local officials and extension workers), assess problems with GBP implementation and identify possible solutions. Acceptance of the GBP by farmers varied from 64% in the north to 95% in the north-west region. The responses of both local officials and extension workers indicated that GBP implementation was greater in the central region than in the north-west region. Most farmers changed their livestock production system from grazing to stall feeding after implementation of the GBP, while both farmers and extension workers reported that high input costs were the most serious problem in stall feeding. Incentives need to be provided for sustainable implementation of the GBP by different stakeholders. Improved collaboration among farmers, local officials and extension workers is needed for technology transfer and policy implementation. Furthermore, the role of non-governmental organizations needs to be strengthened in implementation of the GBP.

(Received December 12 2006)

(Accepted September 25 2007)

Correspondence

c1 Correspondence: Professor Dong Shikui Tel: +86 10 58802078 Fax: +86 10 58800397 e-mail: dongshikui@sina.com; Dr Gao Hongwen e-mail: gaohongwen@263.net