of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Implementing INFFER (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources) in North-western China

Overview of Project

In China’s transition to a modern economy, development in the North-western China has been slower than in eastern regions, although still impressive by global standards. The government strongly publicises that environmental preservation is an important component of opening up the west. Soil erosion in the Loess Plateau has intensified sedimentation of the Yellow River. Pressure of population growth and economic growth has led to overuse of water, over grazing and cropping, which induce desertification, vegetation degeneration. There is great need for comprehensive analysis of environmental protection according to social and natural elements. The Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) is designed to provide a logical and robust framework to help environmental managers (national, and regional levels) make decisions about environmental protection and achievement of desired outcomes in the most cost-effective way. INFFER focuses on assets – areas of the natural environment that are considered to have significant or very high value from society’s perspective. In this project, INFFER will be applied in North-western China to environmental assets of varying size, from large such as large lake and river systems to small discrete assets. This will be helpful for sustainable development of the vulnerable regions in China.

Key Outcomes of Project
  • This research implemented INFFER in three regions in North-western China and assess its potential to be used by Chinese government. The project was conducted in partnership with relevant government and scientific agencies under the co-leadership of Professor Qiang Yu and Dr. Anna Roberts. The processes to achieve include the following:
  • identified and engaged with key scientific and government personnel in each region to assess their interest
  • Translation of INFFER training materials into Chinese
  • Following training, to assess whether adaptation of the INFFER framework is required to meet national, provincial or regional government needs
  • Development of detailed INFFER analyses. This involved collation and integration of available scientific, technical, socio-economic and financial information required for each environmental asset based project. Specific research addressed knowledge gaps, such as spatial biophysical modelling of crop yield over Loess Plateau. This provide information for nominated and trained asset leaders, and is specific input by scientific and socio-economic disciplines in China.
  • Presentation of preliminary results to key government agencies and policy makers, and then modification of goals/scenarios for particular assets as required
  • Modification of analyses if required to address interests and priorities of government policy makers
  • Assessment of whether INFFER can assist government decision-making and development of recommendations to assist current decision making
  • Journal papers and final project report, including a comparative analysis of the relevance of INFFER in the Chinese context and comparison with Australian context
Project Dates

01 Jun 2011 - 31 May 2013


University of Technology Sydney
Victoria Department of Primary Industries
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Northwest Agricultural and Forest University


Qiang Yu



0424 068 418