of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Sustainable development of grasslands in western China

Overview of Project

China’s western grassland regions provide the basis of the livelihoods of around 40 million people. The per capita income of Gansu, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia are amongst the lowest in China, in part due to the poor productivity of the grasslands. A severe climate combined with overgrazing limit production; however, it is land degradation that is the main problem. Almost 90 per cent of the approximately 300 million hectares of grasslands are considered degraded. Dust storms, siltation of the Yellow River and declining biodiversity have all resulted and are accelerating and frequency and severity of such storms.

Rehabilitating these grasslands is a focus of Chinese Government policy and supporting international programs. Grasslands management concentrating on livestock farming systems aims to identify better strategies to overcome degradation and improve smallholder incomes.

The project is working to provide research support and training at a range of levels (including scientists, policy makers and extension staff) to contribute to the development and adoption of a systems approach to pastoral management. Achieving this will raise farmer incomes, while sustaining or enhancing the productivity of the resource base, and will help in identifying the priorities for research and development and Government programs by developing:

* a framework for grassland farming systems that integrates the major components that influence grassland use, and

* a suite of policy/regulatory approaches and on-farm strategies that impact positively on farmer incomes and grassland rehabilitation (using the farming systems framework)."

Project Dates

01 Jan 2005 - 31 Mar 2010


Charles Sturt University - Australia
Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute - China
Gansu Agricultural University - China
Industry & Investment NSW - Australia
Inner Mongolia Agricultural University - China
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences - China
University of Queensland - Australia
Research Centre for Rural Economy - China
Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development for Agriculture - China


Professor David Kemp



02 6365 7526

Launch Website