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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2008

DETERMINANTS OF GRASSLAND DYNAMICS IN TIBETAN HIGHLANDS : PASTORALISTS, LIVESTOCK, WILDLIFE AND SOCIAL INCENTIVES

Grassland Dynamics Tibetan Highlands

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education & Economics Information System (REEIS)

Titre : DETERMINANTS OF GRASSLAND DYNAMICS IN TIBETAN HIGHLANDS : PASTORALISTS, LIVESTOCK, WILDLIFE AND SOCIAL INCENTIVES

Identification : MONZ-65955

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : Sep 15, 2008 à Aug 31, 2013

Mots clés : china ; degradation ; development ; grasslands ; pika ; plateau ; pastoralists ; rangelands ; qinghai province ; tibetan plateau ; vegetation ; wildlife

Partenaire : UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION MISSOULA,MT 59812

Objectifs
Grassland degradation is a global concern, affecting not only wild species and pastoralists who rely on healthy grasslands for their survival, but also non-local people. Livestock grazing is the dominant form of land use in Central Asia, and pastures of the Tibetan highlands are located upstream of 40% of the world’s human population. Grasslands on the Tibetan plateau are described as increasingly degraded. Causes for this grassland degradation are attributed to over-stocking of livestock, poor livestock management, historical-cultural factors, alteration of land tenure arrangements, changes in socio-economic systems, climate change, and excessive herbivory and soil disturbance from wildlife. But studies have yet to provide clear support for any putative causative agents, and have not examined interactions and complexity among these factors. Thus policy choices to reduce or reverse grassland degradation are often made without a clear rationale and are based more on prejudice or convenience than evidence of their effectiveness. We will examine multiple correlates of grassland status and trends simultaneously, using replicated measurements at permanent plots in a multi-strata design, measuring the strength of evidence for various competing hypotheses. It will link ecological measurements directly to current and recent historical actions by pastoralists, which in turn are affected by cultural norms, economic incentives, and policies of central and provincial governments. In addition to biophysical attributes of each site, livestock density and pasture usage patterns will be quantified. Importantly, each site will also be described by the particular grazing strategy employed by the pastoralist managing it, and that strategy, in turn, will be related to the complex of economic and policy incentives and historical determinants that pastoralists face. This data will be used to motivate the development of models that link broad historical, policy, economic, and cultural factors to local grassland conditions as mediated by the agency of individual pastoralists which, in turn, may be used to evaluate the implications of different policy interventions. This work will deepen our understanding of the complex interactions involving geophysical, biological, social, and policy factors and feedback systems in determining grassland status. Because multiple factors affect grasslands simultaneously and interactions are critical, the multi-disciplinary, the systems-approach adopted by this project is fundamental. Our enhanced understanding of this socio-ecological system will provide important input for policies on grassland restoration, biodiversity, and economic development in arid ecosystems worldwide. In addition to direct training of students, the project will train numerous Tibetan field assistants, and will coordinate closely with local and provincial grassland and forestry officials. Direct collaboration with Chinese scientists and officials, as well as facilitated workshops, will enable research results to be understood by policy makers. Direct interactions with local pastoralists will allow immediate, practical applications of project results

Présentation : USDA

Page publiée le 9 octobre 2015, mise à jour le 6 novembre 2017