The University of Arizona

The effects of China's grassland contract policy on Mongolian herders' attitudes towards grassland management in northeastern Inner Mongolia

Thomas J. Conte


China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is experiencing high levels of grassland degradation partially as a result of government policies to sedentarize nomadic pastoralists and privatize collective grasslands. Previous research suggests that these policies have reduced Mongolian pastoralists' ability to effectively manage grasslands and cope with negative climatic events. Herders in New Barag Right Banner (n = 50) representing both sedentary and mobile livestock management strategies were asked to respond to a scaled survey regarding their attitudes towards the effectiveness of their current grassland management strategies and their perceptions regarding the future of pastoralism in Inner Mongolia. Inter-rater reliability and MannWhitney U Tests were utilized to compare the attitudes towards grassland management and the future viability of livestock production and to test whether or not sedentary and mobile herders share the same attitudes towards these facets of their pastoral way of life. There is both high intra and inter-group agreement on the survey variables across settlement categories, indicating that sedentary and mobile herders share the same attitudinal orientations regardless of their settlement patterns. The implications of these results for future grassland policy and sustainable livestock production are also discussed.

Keywords: pastoralism, China, Inner Mongolia, grassland policy, privatization, marketization

Full Text: