Sustainable Chinese Grasslands

Date released
27 July 2020
978 1 922345 20 2
Publication Code

Editor David Kemp

Associate editors Zhang Yingjun, Wu Jianping, Hou Xiangyang, Hou Fujiang, Han Guodong


The vast grasslands of China cover approximately 400 million hectares and support the livelihoods of 16 million herders and their low-income pastoral households. The grasslands are part of the Eurasian grasslands, one of the world’s largest land-based ecosystems, extending from eastern China and eastern Europe.

After centuries of grazing, much of the Chinese grasslands are considered degraded, with considerable off-site impacts such as soil erosion affecting air and water quality. Since 2001, research institutions in China have worked with international scientists and grassland experts to support the restoration of degraded grasslands through better management, while improving the income of herder households. Australian scientists were involved through several ACIAR-supported projects.

The understanding of Chinese grassland systems significantly improved and better guidelines for managing grasslands to achieve a sustainable and resilient state were developed, to the point where herders see a future in livestock production on grasslands.

This monograph presents the current state of knowledge for managing these vast grasslands and what has been learned in the new century.

The results reported in this book apply not only to the grasslands in China but also to those in Mongolia, Russia and throughout Central Asia, and the principles elicited here are also relevant to grasslands in many other developing countries.