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Role of capitals and capabilities in ensuring economic resilience of land conservation efforts: A case study of the grain for green project in China’s Loess Hills

Li, Qirui, Amjath-Babu, T.S., Zander, Peter
Ecological indicators 2016 v.71 pp. 636-644
agricultural land, capital, case studies, farming systems, farms, household surveys, households, humans, land management, livelihood, loess, principal component analysis, regression analysis, riparian areas, valleys, China
The article describes how economic resilience of farming households can be measured using a composite indicator of revealed adaptive actions, and investigates how capabilities of farm households to recombine human, financial, natural and physical capitals are linked to observed economic resilience to land set-aside interventions. The land set-aside intervention known as the Grain for Green Project (GGP), which has been altering livelihoods of farming households in China’s Loess Hills since 1999, is taken as a case study. Household surveys were conducted in three V-shaped valleys and three riparian areas in Yanhe Township in northwestern China in an effort to measure household resilience and explore its’ relationship to forms of capital. A composite index of adaptive strategies that can reorganize livelihood activities under land set-aside intervention into a new economic equilibrium is crafted using an objective weighting scheme based on principal component analysis. Subsequently, a multiple regression model was utilized to examine the relationship between the composite resilience index and various indicators related to human, social, financial, natural and physical capitals. The results reveal the latent structure and internal correlations of adaptive strategies, and present quantitative evidence about the relationship between livelihood capitals and household economic resilience. The analysis shows that household resilience deteriorates when the ratio of GGP land to cultivated farmland goes above a threshold level, and revealed that interventions targeting various forms of capitals can enhance the economic resilience for households to conservation efforts.