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Local experiences and contested meanings of the Chinese 'grain for green' land conversion programme in an agro-pastoralist Tibetan community

Woodhouse, E; (2015) Local experiences and contested meanings of the Chinese 'grain for green' land conversion programme in an agro-pastoralist Tibetan community. Nomadic Peoples , 19 (2) pp. 281-302. 10.3197/np.2015.190208. Green open access

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Abstract

The Sloping Land Conversion Programme (SLCP or 'Grain for Green') forms one part in a suite of programmes focused on 'ecological construction' in minority areas of Western China. It aims to increase vegetation and reduce poverty by providing payments to households for retiring agricultural and grazing land to plant trees and grass. This paper examines how SLCP is being experienced and perceived in one agro-pastoral Tibetan community in Sichuan Province on the eastern Tibetan Plateau, and focuses on livelihoods impacts, environmental sustainability, and local versus state meanings. Participants were motivated by purely financial reasons, but some, especially poorer households, were concerned about impacts on livelihoods. Respondents questioned the environmental impacts and rationale of SLCP given the low survival rates of trees and lack of incentives for long-term management. There were barriers to moving to off-farm work alongside a resistance to leaving a subsistence livelihood base and agro-pastoral lifestyle. Positive views about the policy's environmental and wellbeing benefits were reserved for plantations on unproductive land. Local responses to SLCP highlight issues with wider state-led policies that expropriate land and resources and privilege economic valuation of the environment.

Type: Article
Title: Local experiences and contested meanings of the Chinese 'grain for green' land conversion programme in an agro-pastoralist Tibetan community
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3197/np.2015.190208
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/np.2015.190208
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Commission for Nomadic Peoples. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted following peer review for publication in Nomadic Peoples, 19 (2) pp. 281-302.
Keywords: Environmental policy; Tibet; livelihoods; pastoralism; payment for ecosystem services
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473619
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