China's sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?
China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP) is the largest land retirement program in the developing world, having the goal of converting 14.67 million hectares of cropland to forests by 2010, primarily targeting high-slope and marginal lands. The program is being implemented in more than 2000 counties across 25 provinces in China and affects tens of millions of rural households using PES models to promote afforestation.
Research & methods
This case study draws upon past research of the program during its pilot phase (1999-2001) as well as a 2003 household and village-level survey conducted by the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy to examine program design, implementation, and outcomes to date. The study finds that implementation strategies and requirements vary significantly by region, with compliance and outcomes thus affected.
Conclusions & takeaways
The study finds significant problems in design and implementation in terms of the program’s predominantly top-down approach and lack of true conditionality, differentiation and mechanisms to ensure permanence. The authors argue that SLCP needs to be redesigned to allow for greater choice on the part of rural households, greater local participation in decisionmaking, utilization of market-based mechanisms, and extension of the subsidy length beyond the current 8 years.
China\textquotesingles sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?. Ecological Economics. 2008;65:699–711. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.09.017..
- Visiting Scholar, College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Peking University, Beijing, PR China