Scientists from the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University used a simulation model to study the amount of land farmers in the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China reenrolled in the Grain-to-Green Program (GTGP), which aims to reduce soil erosion by converting sloping cropland to forest or grassland. Farmers receive an annual payment of either 5,000 pounds of grain or $498 for each 2.5 acres enrolled in the program. In 2005, this was about 8 percent of the farmers’ income.
“To achieve global environmental sustainability, it is important to go beyond traditional economic and regulatory approaches,” said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, center director and a co-author on the paper. Liu holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU.
Xiaodong Chen, who conducted the research while working on his doctorate at MSU, and colleagues found that if farmers had the opportunity to interact with each other, they were willing to reenroll their land in the GTGP. And the more times they interacted, the more land was reenrolled.
The study is published online in the journal Ecological Modeling.
“When people talked to each other, they learned of the others’ decisions and were more likely to reenroll their land at the same payment,” said Chen, now assistant professor of geography at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “More than 15 percent more land was reenrolled when people had 10 interactions with their neighbors. With three interactions, 7.5 percent more land was reenrolled. The study shows that if people interact, it improves the efficiency of the program and is good for the environment.”
The research builds on earlier findings by Liu and Chen showing that employed people in larger Chinese cities were more likely to adopt environmental behaviors, such as separating recyclables from trash, recycling plastic bags or participating in environmental education programs.
“One of the possible reasons urban Chinese who have jobs tend to be more green-minded is because people's environmental behavior may be affected by other people's environmental behavior in their working environment,” Chen explained. In the Wolong Nature Reserve, we found that people's participation in the GTGP also is definitely affected by their neighbors' behavior.”
The Wolong Nature Reserve is home to several thousand species of plants and animals, including the endangered giant panda.
“The GTGP takes advantage of the general trend of rural-to-urban migration in China,” Chen added. “People want to work off-farm, but they don’t want to give up their land. Grain-to-Green allows them to do that and still get some income from the land. We found that if they talked to their neighbors, most people would actually leave the land in the program even if the payments stopped.”
In addition to Liu and Chen, other study authors are Frank Lupi, MSU professor of environmental and natural resources economics and fisheries and wildlife; Andrés Viña, MSU research specialist; Li An, of San Diego State University; and Ryan Sheely, of Harvard University. Lupi and Vina are also CSIS members.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the MSU Environmental Research Initiative, MSU AgBioResearch, and the Giorgio Ruffolo Fellowship in Sustainability Science at Harvard University.
Jamie DePolo | EurekAlert!
Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behaviour
28.04.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
UNH researchers discover new method to detect most common bacteria contaminating oysters
23.04.2015 | University of New Hampshire
A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's...
Scientists from Nepal, Switzerland and Germany was now able to show how erosion processes caused by the monsoon are mirrored in the sediment load of a river crossing the Himalaya.
In these days, it was again tragically demonstrated that the Himalayas are one of the most active geodynamic regions of the world. Landslides belong to the...
A world-class prime systems integrator and electronic systems provider known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is currently developing a new space transportation system called the Dream Chaser.
The ultimate aim is to construct a multi-mission-capable space utility vehicle, while accelerating the overall development process for this critical capability...
Today, textiles are used for more than just clothes or bags – they are high tech materials for high-tech applications. High-tech textiles must fulfill a number of functions and meet many requirements. That is why the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC dedicated some major developing work to this most intriguing research area. The result can now be seen at Techtextil trade show in Frankfurt from 4 to 7 May. On display will be novel textile-integrated sensors, a unique multifunctional coating system for textiles and fibers, and textile processing of glass, carbon, and ceramics fibers to fiber preforms.
Thin materials and new kinds of sensors now make it possible to integrate silicone elastomer sensors in textiles. They are suitable for applications in medical...
KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.
Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...
23.04.2015 | Event News
23.04.2015 | Event News
13.04.2015 | Event News
04.05.2015 | Life Sciences
04.05.2015 | Trade Fair News
04.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy