Implication of coupled natural and human systems in sustainable rangeland ecosystem management in HKH region
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- Dong, S., Wen, L., Zhu, L. et al. Front. Earth Sci. China (2010) 4: 42. doi:10.1007/s11707-010-0010-z
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The sustainable development of rangeland ecosystems, the vital ecosystems providing many important ecosystem services for millions of people in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region is presently confronted with a number of challenges. A coupled natural and human systems approach is needed to facilitate effective collaboration among social scientists, bio/physical scientists, and management practitioners to better understand how people interact with the environment in which they live. In pursuing this argument, three existing case studies, i.e. Indigenous rangeland management in Himalayan Nepal, Cultivated Grassland Systems in Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and Grassland Restoration in Central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau were synthesized in this paper to address the importance of coupled natural and human systems in promoting sustainable rangeland ecosystem management in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region. It was concluded although the research sites and objectives were very different, that these three case studies had many commonalities that addressed the complex interactions and feedbacks between natural and human systems, and highlighted the integration of various tools and techniques from the ecological and social sciences, as well as other disciplines, in sustainable rangeland management. These case studies have offered unique interdisciplinary insights into complexities that cannot be gained from ecological or social research alone. The results from these case studies can be applied to many other coupled systems at local, national, and global levels.