Evaluation of Ecosystem Service Policies from Biophysical and Social Perspectives: The Case of China


Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Zhiyun Ouyang, Wu Yang, Weihua Xu, Shuxin Li

Journal or Book Title: Encyclopedia of Biodiversity

Keywords: Biodiversity; Carbon sequestration; Cost-effectiveness; Coupled human and natural systems; Environmental conservation; Grain-to-Green Program; Livelihood; Natural Forest Conservation Program; Nature Reserve System; Payment for ecosystem services; Poverty alleviation; Sustainability

Volume/Issue: Second edition, Vol. 3

Page Number(s): 372-384

Year Published: 2013


China is endowed with immense reserves of natural capital and ecosystem services that flow from it (Ouyang, 2007; Task Force for Eco-Compensation Mechanisms and Polices in China, 2007). Unfortunately, natural capital in many areas has been degraded or lost due to a variety of reasons, such as rapid economic development (Task Force for Eco-Compensation Mechanisms and Polices in China, 2007), increasing human population size (Liu and Diamond, 2005), even faster household proliferation (Liu et al., 2003a), and inappropriate governance (Liu and Diamond, 2008; Liu and Raven, 2010). The resulting degradation and loss of ecosystem services have contributed to large disasters, such as massive flooding in
1998, and other huge impacts on human well-being (e.g., economic losses and harm to human health) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). Having realized these problems, China has developed and implemented a series of large-scale policies to protect and restore natural capital and ecosystem services.
These policies include the Key Shelterbelt Construction Program, Beijing–Tianjin Sandstorm Control Program, Nature Reserve System (NRS) (Liu et al., 2008; Ouyang, 2007), Forest Eco-Compensation Program, Grassland Eco-Compensation Program, Wetland Restoration Program, Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP; also known as Natural Forest Protection Program), Grain-to-Green Program (GTGP; also known as the Farm-to-Forest Program or the Sloping Land Conversion Program) (Liu et al., 2008; Ouyang, 2007; Xu et al., 2006a), and Ecosystem Function Zones (EFZs) (Ministry of Environmental Protection and Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2008). These programs have generated important
biophysical effects (e.g., biodiversity conservation; and mitigation of climate change, desertification, droughts, floods, soil erosion, and water runoff) and socioeconomic effects (e.g., poverty alleviation and economic development) (Liu and Diamond, 2005; Liu et al., 2008; Xu et al., 2006a). They also have provided significant benefits, such as carbon sequestration, at the global level (Liu and Diamond, 2005; Liu et al.,2008).
The purpose of this article is to evaluate three major programs – NRS, NFCP, and GTGP – from biophysical and social perspectives. These programs are national in scope and have significant global implications. For example, NFCP and GTGP are among the biggest payments for ecosystem service programs in the world (Liu et al., 2008). For each program, this article offers an overview of background and goals, illustrates their biophysical and socioeconomic effects, and discusses future opportunities, challenges, and needs. The
programs are presented in the order of their inception times (1956, 1998, and 1999, for NRS, NFCP, and GTGP, respectively).

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384719-5.00335-X

Type of Publication: Book Chapter


Simon Levin

Publisher: Elsevier