JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2016, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (10): 1637-1647.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.20151201

• Resource Utilization and Management • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Role of Market Mechanisms and Customary Institutions in Rangeland Management: A Case Study in Qinghai Tibetan Plateau

GONGBUZEREN1, 2, LI Wen-jun2   

  1. 1. Population Research Institute, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu 611130, China;
    2. College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2015-11-02 Revised:2016-06-09 Online:2016-10-20 Published:2016-10-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171428

Abstract: In recent years, government has promoted rangeland transfer system, a market-based approach to re-aggregate individual grazing land after implementation of Rangeland Household Contact Policy (RHCP) to support larger scale of livestock production. However, there are also pastoral communities who manage their rangelands according to customary institutions. Therefore, the relation between market mechanism and local customary institution in rangeland management needs further analysis. This paper applies the cases of rangeland management in Yuanyi and Chanaihe villages in Qinghai Province to analyze the impacts of different relationship between market mechanism and customary institutions on herder livelihood, livestock production and gap between rich and poor. We find that there is higher level of livestock mortality, lower livestock productivity level and lower rate of livestock production return in Yuanyi Village compared to Chanaihe Village. In addition, compared to Chanaihe Village, lower household income level and higher wealth gap between rich and poor are observed in Yuanyi Village. Based on these findings, the paper concludes that when market is embedded within customary institutions, it is more effective in rangeland management, because the embedded relationship between market and customary institutions better fits to the characteristics of the coupled pastoral social-ecological system. As pastoral communities are integrated into China’s marketization, market mechanism based on clarification of property rights is necessary, but to do so does not need to replace or weaken the community customary institutions in rangeland management system.

Key words: customary institution, market mechanisms, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, rangeland management

CLC Number: 

  • S812.5