Is the Returning Farmland to Forest Program a Success? Three case studies from Sichuan

Title:
Is the Returning Farmland to Forest Program a Success? Three case studies from Sichuan
Authors:
Trac, Christine Jane; Schmidt, Amanda C. Henck; Harrell, Stevan; Hinckley, Thomas M.
Abstract:
China's tuigeng huanlin or “Returning Farmland to Forest” (RFFP) program has been widely praised as the world's largest and most successful payment for ecosystem services program, as well as a major contributor to China's dramatic increase in forest cover from perhaps as low as 8% in 1960 to about 21% today. By compensating rural households for the conversion of marginal farmland to forestland and financing the afforestation of barren mountainsides, the program, in addition to expanding forestland, aims to reduce soil erosion and alleviate poverty. This paper presents qualitative and quantitative studies conducted on the local implementation of RFFP in three diverse townships in Sichuan. We find the actual results to be more mixed than the official figures would indicate. Though there have been some positive results, we identify problems with site and species selection, compensation for land taken out of cultivation, shift of labor to off-farm activities, and monitoring of replanted sites, which challenge the ecological and economic impacts of these programs and reveal much of the effort of the program has been misdirected. We suggest that efforts are misplaced because of the top-down, panacea nature of the program, which in turn is a feature of Chinese bureaucratic management.
Citation:
Trac, C.J., A.H. Schmidt, S. Harrell, and T.M. Hinckley. 2013. “Is the Returning Farmland to Forest Program a Success? Three case studies from Sichuan.” Environmental Practice 15(3):350-366.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press for the National Association of Environmental Professionals
DATE ISSUED:
2013
Department:
Geology
Type:
Article
PUBLISHED VERSION:
10.1017/S1466046613000355
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/332469

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorTrac, Christine Janeen
dc.contributor.authorSchmidt, Amanda C. Hencken
dc.contributor.authorHarrell, Stevanen
dc.contributor.authorHinckley, Thomas M.en
dc.date.accessioned2014-10-09T12:04:00Zen
dc.date.available2014-10-09T12:04:00Zen
dc.date.issued2013en
dc.identifier.citationTrac, C.J., A.H. Schmidt, S. Harrell, and T.M. Hinckley. 2013. “Is the Returning Farmland to Forest Program a Success? Three case studies from Sichuan.” Environmental Practice 15(3):350-366.en
dc.identifier.issn1466-0466en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/332469en
dc.description.abstractChina's tuigeng huanlin or “Returning Farmland to Forest” (RFFP) program has been widely praised as the world's largest and most successful payment for ecosystem services program, as well as a major contributor to China's dramatic increase in forest cover from perhaps as low as 8% in 1960 to about 21% today. By compensating rural households for the conversion of marginal farmland to forestland and financing the afforestation of barren mountainsides, the program, in addition to expanding forestland, aims to reduce soil erosion and alleviate poverty. This paper presents qualitative and quantitative studies conducted on the local implementation of RFFP in three diverse townships in Sichuan. We find the actual results to be more mixed than the official figures would indicate. Though there have been some positive results, we identify problems with site and species selection, compensation for land taken out of cultivation, shift of labor to off-farm activities, and monitoring of replanted sites, which challenge the ecological and economic impacts of these programs and reveal much of the effort of the program has been misdirected. We suggest that efforts are misplaced because of the top-down, panacea nature of the program, which in turn is a feature of Chinese bureaucratic management.en
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherCambridge University Press for the National Association of Environmental Professionalsen
dc.identifier.doi10.1017/S1466046613000355en
dc.subject.departmentGeologyen
dc.titleIs the Returning Farmland to Forest Program a Success? Three case studies from Sichuanen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalEnvironmental Practiceen
dc.identifier.volume15en
dc.identifier.issue3en
dc.identifier.startpage350en
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