Edited by Jeff Bennett, Xuehong Wang and Lei Zhang
Chapter 3: The Conversion of Cropland to Forest and Grassland Program
3. The Conversion of Cropland to Forest and Grassland Program Jeff Bennett, Lei Zhang, Guangcui Dai, Chen Xie, Jincheng Zhao, Dan Liang, Yongwei Liang and Xuehong Wang INTRODUCTION Deforestation and the degradation of grasslands, with subsequent accelerated rates of soil erosion and desertiﬁcation, is considered by the scientiﬁc community, as well as those in policy circles, to be the main immediate biophysical cause of the increased frequency of ﬂooding and serious sandstorms experienced in the 1990s in China (PTFDSSD 2003). This is especially the case in the Western Provinces of China, where over 70 per cent of land has a slope of more than 25 degrees and where the two main river systems in China, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, originate. The increasing severity of environmental degradation was further evidenced by the ﬂooding in the Yangtze River Basin in 1998. In order to bring soil erosion and frequent ﬂooding under control, the Chinese government initiated the Conversion of Cropland to Forest and Grassland Program (CCFGP). Also known as the Grain for Green Program and the Sloping Land Conversion Program, the CCFGP involves the world’s largest expenditure on a single environmental services programme after the Conservation Reserve Program in the United States (CCICED 2002; Xu, Bennett et al. 2004). This land-use policy featured the conversion of steep-sloped and degraded cropland to forest and grassland by millions of small landholders in 25 provinces and autonomous regions across China with the provision of cash and grain subsidies to participating...
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