Grassland Adaptive Management in Arid Region Based on Livelihood Capitals of Peasants and Herdsmen—A Case Study of Fuyun County in the North of Junggar Basin, China
2018, 33 (5):
As the largest terrestrial ecosystem, the natural grassland occupies 41.7% of the land area in China. However, since the grassland degenerated in pastoral region and animal husbandry costs increased obviously, the livelihood of herdsmen was difficult. Grassland adaptive management is an important way to solve the problem concerning “pastoral region, animal husbandry and herdsmen” effectively. The objective of this study was to provide some strategies for grassland adaptive management in arid region. We used the system (stratified) sampling method and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) to investigate peasants and herdsmen in Fuyun County in the north of Junggar Basin, China, and designed the quantitative index system used for measuring their livelihood capitals. Using the quantitative index system and system coupling coordination model, we analyzed five livelihood capitals of peasants and herdsmen and their coupling coordination degree. Our analysis showed that grazing activities of peasants and herdsmen depended on natural grassland too much and were generally short of development oriented livelihoods. Therefore, the livelihood capitals of peasants and herdsmen were universally low (i.e. natural, human, physical, financial, and social capital was only 0.017 7, 0.109 9, 0.187 4, 0.040 1 and 0.184 5, respectively), the capacities of livelihood conversion were weak, and the vulnerability of livelihood was high. Moreover, the coupling coordination degree among five livelihood capitals of peasants and herdsmen was also low (0.277 4), which was mainly due to the high homogeneity of peasants and herdsmen, obvious attribute difference of the five livelihood capitals, and less of professional cooperative economic organizations. Therefore, it is important to promote livelihood diversification of herdsmen so as to reduce the grassland pressure caused by grazing, to transform the way of animal husbandry production so as to reduce the dependence on natural grassland, to develop grass industry in pastoral region so as to effectively promote the formation of resilience/elasticity of the coupling system between grassland animal husbandry ecology and human society. The results also suggest that it is very urgent to train herdsmen with the knowledge of science, technology, management, etc., to develop modern grass and animal husbandry, to construct good organizations of peasants and herdsmen, to strengthen grassland grazing management scientifically, so as to comprehensively improve the level of livelihood capitals of peasants and herdsmen and promote the development of animal husbandry production.
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