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Cooperative grassland management practices promoted by land tenure system transformation benefit social-ecological systems of pastoralism on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China

Yang, Mingyue, Dong, Shikui, Dong, Quanming, Wang, Pu, Liu, Wenting, Zhao, Xinyue
Journal of environmental management 2020 v.261 pp. 110215
gender, grassland management, grasslands, income, issues and policy, land ownership, land tenure, land use, pastoralism, property rights, rural areas, social environment, surveys, villages, China
China has recently implemented the latest rural land tenure reform with the “Separating Three Property Rights” as non-tradable land ownership, non-tradable land contracting right and tradable land use right, leading to a dramatic change in grassland management strategies in vast pastoral areas. However, the impact of this new reform on grassland management practices is widely debated by scholars and policy analysts. To identify the factors impacting the pastoralists' choice of grassland management practice and the social, economic and ecological benefits derived from different grassland management practices, we conducted a field survey of pastoralists (n = 259) in 7 counties on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The results showed that respondents' gender, grassland area, scale and location of the village, grassland condition perception significantly exerted positive influence on pastoralists' willingness to participate in cooperative grassland management practices, while grassland fence and urban life expectation negatively influenced the willingness. We found that cooperative grassland management practices led to significantly higher household incomes, more equal gender relationships and better-managed grasslands than individual ones. In spite of this, there were still a large number of pastoralists who chose individual grassland management practices due to their long-term customary operations. In conclusion, this new rural land tenure reform has facilitated pastoralists’ choice for diverse grassland management practices and the promoted voluntary large-scale cooperative grassland management practices benefit the social-ecological system of pastoralism.