Undermining Grassland Management Through Centralized Environmental Policies in Inner Mongolia


"China's government is trying to protect grasslands from desertification. The government first 'contracted out' pasture land to individual herding households because it believes private ownership provides incentives for households to protect their pasture holdings. Pasture contracting out, however, did not solve the problem. Faced with continuing serious desertification the government responded with new environment policies and more-direct intervention - with additional funding to strengthen centralized government - policy implementation and enforcement capacity. These new policies have also failed to stop grassland degradation. This paper, based on a case study in an agro-herding area in Inner Mongolia, China, shows how and why the pasture contracting system and subsequent centralized environmental protection policies failed to enhance conservation. The policy of pasture contracting out damaged the existing local administrative practices of common grassland management, while grassland protection policies undermined local management capacity."



grasslands, resource management, environmental policy, environmental protection, land tenure and use