Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1074–1084 | Cite as

Factors influencing the grazing management styles of settled herders: a case study of Nagqu County, Tibetan Plateau, China

  • Xiao-bo Hua
  • Jian-zhong YanEmail author
  • Xiang Liu
  • Ying-ying Wu
  • Lin-shan Liu
  • Yi-li Zhang


The implementation of pasture contracting policies in the Tibetan Plateau has been of widespread concern in the scientific community and related government departments. Studying the effects of the implementation of pasture contracting policies will help us understand herders’ attitudes toward those policies and to amend existing policies effectively. This paper analyzes 135 herder families’ grazing management behavior using participatory rural appraisal (PRA), quantitative analysis and a Logistic regression model in three townships of Nagqu County in remote areas of the Tibetan Plateau, China. The results show that the herders have become settled and are no longer nomadic, so the settlement project has basically been completed and the policy of contracting for grazing rights is being gradually implemented in Nagqu County. Since the grazing rights and pastures were under contract, group-based management has been widely accepted in this area, which helps the herders deal with constraints, such as limited pasture area, a small grazing radius, controlled family animal husbandry and an uneven distribution of water. The herders that have more family members available for labor, higher proportion of family members with good health, and higher income from animal husbandry tend to choose household-based management. Herders tend to choose group-based management when higher quality winter pastures are available.


Pasture contract Nagqu County Settled herders Participatory rural appraisal Tibetan Plateau 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Banks T (2001) Property rights and the Environment in pastoral China: Evidence from the field. Development and Change 32: 717–740. DOI: 10.1111/1467-7660.00223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks T (2003) Property rights reform in rangeland China: Dilemmas on the road to the household ranch. World Development 31: 2129–2142. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2003.06.010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banks T, Richard C, Li P, et al. (2003) Community-based grassland management in western China: Rationale, pilot project experience, and policy implications. Mountain Research and Development 23: 132–140. DOI: 10.1659/0276-4741(2003)023[0132:CGMIWC]2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fan YJ (2009) Property relations changes of pasture in Tibet. Chengdu, China. Sichuan University Press, Chengdu, China. pp 223–225. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Foggin JM (2008) Depopulating the Tibetan Grasslands: National policies and perspectives for the future of Tibetan Herders in Qinghai Province, China. Mountain Research and Development 28: 26–31. DOI: 10.1659/mrd.0972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gao QZ, Li YE, Lin ED, et al. (2005) Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Grassland Degradation in Northern Tibet. Acta Geographica Sinica 60: 965–973. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  7. Harris RB (2010) Rangeland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau: A review of the evidence of its magnitude and causes. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 1–12. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2009.06.014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ho P, Azadi H (2010) Rangeland degradation in North China: Perception of pastoralists. Environmental Research 110: 302–307. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2009.12.007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kreutzmann H (2013) The tragedy of responsibility in high Asia: modernizing traditional pastoral practices and preserving modernist worldviews. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 3: 1–11. DOI: 10.1186/2041-7136-3-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lang WW, Zhao SB (2010) The Change from Settlement to Villages of Nomads in Northern Tibet: Study of Two Villages of Dagedo and Zhongrege of Naqu. Tibetan Studies 30(6): 37–47. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  11. Lin L (2010) A very different choice from individual household contracts. Man and the Biosphere (2): 68–73. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  12. Liu LS, Zhang YL, Bai WQ, et al. (2006) Characteristics of grassland degradation and driving forces in the source region of the Yellow River from 1985 to 2000. Journal of Geographical Sciences 16: 131–142. DOI: 10.1007/s11442-006-0201-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu JY, Xu XL, Shao QQ (2008) Grassland degradation in the “Three-River Headwaters” region, Qinghai Province. Journal of Geographical Sciences 18: 259–273. DOI: 10.1007/s11442-008-0259-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ma YT, Lang BN, Wang QJ (1999) Review and prospect of the study on’ black soil type’ deteriorated grassland. Pratacultural Science 16: 5–9. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Miller DJ (1999) Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau Rangelands in Western China Part Two: Pastoral Production Practices. Rangelands 21: 16–19. DOI: 10.2307/4001503Google Scholar
  16. Miller DJ (2000) Tough times for Tibetan nomads in western China: snowstorms, settling down, fences and the demise of traditional nomadic pastoralism. Nomadic Peoples 4(1): 83–109. DOI: 10.3167/082279400782310674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Miller DJ (2002) The Importance of China’s Nomads. Rangelands 24: 22–24. DOI: 10.2307/4001775Google Scholar
  18. Ning BY, He YQ (2006) Causes analyses about farmers’ overgrazing: An investigation of farmers coming from Sunan County lying in Heihe River Basin. Economic Geography 26: 128–132. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  19. Niu SW, Ma LB, Zeng MM (2008) Effect of overgrazing on grassland desertification in Maqu County. Acta Ecologica Sinica 28:145–153. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Pevalin D, Robson K (2009) The Stata survival manual. Open University Press. pp 300–302.Google Scholar
  21. Ptackova J (2011) Sedentarisation of Tibetan nomads in China: Implementation of the Nomadic settlement project in the Tibetan Amdo area; Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 1: 1–11. DOI: 10.1186/2041-7136-1-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ptackova J (2012) Implementation of Resettlement Programmes Amongst Pastoralist Communities in Eastern Tibet. In: Kreutzmann, H. (ed.), Pastoral practices in High Asia. Agency of’ development’ effected by modernisation, resettlement and transformation. Dordrecht: Springer. pp 217–234. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-3846-1_12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Richard C (2005) Developing alternatives to resettlement for pastoralists on the Tibetan Plateau. Nomadic Peoples 9(1–2): 103–106. DOI: 10.3167/082279405781826173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Richard C, Yan Z, Du G (2006) The paradox of the individual household responsibility system in the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau, China. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-39: 83–91.Google Scholar
  25. Wang BS, Jian CG, Jian CG (2006) Review to the large-scale grassland degradation caused by improper policy system. Grassland and Turf 26(5):66–68. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  26. Wang JC, Guo ZG (2001) Logistic regression model: Methods and applications. Beijing, China. Higher Education Press. pp 8–11. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Wang T, Li WJ, Li YB (2012) Pastoralists’ perception and adaptive actions to climate change in arid and semi-arid area: A case study in Hexigten Banner, Inner Mongolia. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis 48: 285–295. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  28. Wang XY, Zhang Q, Xun LL (2010) Non-equilibrium, Publicly owned and the Local: New Thinking of grassland management. Beijing, China. China Social Science Press. pp 3–19. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  29. Wei HL, Sun XT (2010) Cause analysis of grassland degradation in the system as the domain: A case of Maqu Pasture. Xinjiang State Farms Economy (6): 62–65. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  30. Wei XH, Yang P, Li S, et al. (2005) Effects of over-grazing on vegetation degradation of the Kobresia Pygmaea meadow and determination of degenerative index in the Naqu Prefecture of Tibet. Acta Prataculturae Sinica 14(3): 41–49. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Wu N, Yan ZL, Lu T (2012) Enclosure and Resettlement in the Eastern Tibetan Plateau: Dilemma of Pastoral Development During the Last Three Decades. In: Kreutzmann, H. (ed.), Pastoral practices in High Asia. Agency of ‘development’ effected by modernisation, resettlement and transformation. Dordrecht: Springer. pp 291–306. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-3846-1_16Google Scholar
  32. Xie YN, Li WJ (2008) Why do herders insist on Otor? Maintaining mobility in Inner Mongolia. Nomadic Peoples 12(2): 35–52. DOI: 10.3167/np.2008.120203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yan J, Wu Y, Zhang Y, et al. (2010) Livelihood diversification of farmers and nomads of eastern transect in Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Geographical Sciences 20: 757–770. DOI: 10.1007/s11442-010-0809-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yan Z, Wu N, Yeshi D, et al. (2005) A review of rangeland privatization and its implication in the Tibetan Plateau, China. Nomadic Peoples 9(1–2): 31–51. DOI: 10.3167/082279405781 826155Google Scholar
  35. Yan Z, Wu N (2005) Rangeland privatization and its impacts on the Zoige wetlands on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Mountain Science 2: 105–115. DOI: 10.1007/BF02918326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yan J, Wu Y, Zhang Y (2011) Adaptation strategies to pasture degradation: Gap between government and local nomads in the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Geographical Sciences 21: 1112–1122. DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0904-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yi S, Wu N, Luo P, et al. (2007) Changes in Livestock Migration Patterns in a Tibetan-style Agropastoral System: A Study in the Three-Parallel-Rivers Region of Yunnan, China. Mountain Research and Development 27: 138–145. DOI: 10.1659/mrd.0832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yu H, Luedeling E, Xu J (2010) Winter and spring warming result in delayed spring phenology on the Tibetan Plateau. PNAS 107: 22151–22156. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1012490107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang J, Yao F, Zheng L, et al. (2007) Evaluation of Grassland Dynamics in the Northern-Tibet Plateau of China Using Remote Sensing and Climate Data. Sensors 7: 3312–3328. DOI: 10.3390/s7123312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang QQ, Bai WQ, Zhang YL, et al. (2011) Herdsmen’s perception of grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River: A case study in Dalag County. Resources Science 33: 942–949. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  41. Zhang YL, Liu LS, Bai WQ, et al. (2006) Grassland Degradation in the Source Region of the Yellow River. Acta Geographica Sinica 61: 3–14. (In Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-bo Hua
    • 1
  • Jian-zhong Yan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiang Liu
    • 1
  • Ying-ying Wu
    • 2
  • Lin-shan Liu
    • 2
  • Yi-li Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Resources and EnvironmentSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations