Ecosystem management to alleviate poverty on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau
This project was part of the ESPA scoping phase, which ran between 2008 and 2011. The resulting proposal for further funding was unsuccessful.
The overall goal of the Partnership and Project Development grant was to develop a project that aimed to: (a) identify the relationship between ecosystem properties/processes and the provision of critical goods and services in these grassland ecosystems; (b) develop tools that helped to conserve particular ecosystem services or benefits of these grasslands in a changing climate; and (c) strengthen decision-making options and transfer this knowledge to the rural poor, to the commercial sector, and to regional and national governments.
The grant allowed us to review relevant policies and regulations on grassland management and poverty alleviation in China, to compile a list of all major stakeholder groups required for developing the project, to organize a regional workshop as well as a field excursion to the Habei experimental field station on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, and to write the project application with a participatory approach involving all the consortium members as well as relevant stakeholders.
The grasslands in China were in a state of ecological crisis. For example, about 33% of the grasslands on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, the largest grassland unit on the Eurasian continent, were degraded, and about 15% of those were severely degraded with only 0%-40% of the original vegetation cover left.
Grassland degradation had important economic and environmental consequences. About 80% of the rural poor in China lived in grassland ecosystems and any further degradation of this fragile ecological environment, with an associated loss of ecosystem services, would accelerate their poverty.