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Soil Degradation Through Agriculture in China: Its Extent, Impacts and Implications for Environmental Law Reform

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Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP,volume 2017)

Abstract

China has some of the most intense and widespread soil degradation problems in the world. Mitigating soil degradation problems to achieve sustainable soil environment management has attracted high national priority in China’s environmental protection agenda. Over the past decades, environmental laws and regulations were developed in China to address the soil environmental protection issue, and a number of fragmental mechanisms have therefore been introduced. However, that has proven to be insufficient to address the challenges raised by soil degradation and to tackle issues in terms of food security, food safety and human health facing China. As a comprehensive strategy and method to manage natural resources and the natural environment, integrated ecosystem management (IEM) approach has been recommended as a suitable framework to deal with the soil degradation problems in China. The author argued that China should take prompt steps to reform its environmental regulatory frameworks to accommodate IEM for soil degradation control and sustainable soil environment management.

Keywords

  • Control Soil Degradation
  • Soil Environment Protection
  • United Nations Convention To Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Soil Pollution Prevention
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, And Liability Act (CERCLA)

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Len et al. (2006).

  2. 2.

    Tiziano (2016).

  3. 3.

    UNCED (1992) and UNEP (2006). The SDG’s are intended to replace the Millennium Goals and converge with the post-2015 development agenda. Goal 15 of the SDGs states: ‘Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.’ See Boer and Hannam (2015).

  4. 4.

    UN (2012).

  5. 5.

    DeLong et al. (2015).

  6. 6.

    Hua et al. (2013).

  7. 7.

    Ephraim et al. (2016).

  8. 8.

    Bai and Dent (2009).

  9. 9.

    Deng et al. (2008).

  10. 10.

    Jiang (2006).

  11. 11.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  12. 12.

    Article 2 states that to achieve the objective of the Convention will involve ‘long-term integrated strategies that focus simultaneously, in affected areas, on improved productivity of land, and rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources, leading to improved living conditions, in particular at the community level’.

  13. 13.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  14. 14.

    Ibid.

  15. 15.

    Ibid.

  16. 16.

    FAO (2015).

  17. 17.

    Houghton and Charman (1986), p. 115; Elizabeth (2013), p. 4.

  18. 18.

    FAO (1977).

  19. 19.

    FAO (2017).

  20. 20.

    Oldeman et al. (1991).

  21. 21.

    FAO (2017).

  22. 22.

    UNEP (1994). Desertification, land degradation [definitions]. Desertification Control Bulletin 21.

  23. 23.

    Anthony Young et al. (1994); see also FAO (1976).

  24. 24.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  25. 25.

    Long (2013).

  26. 26.

    Tiziano (2016).

  27. 27.

    Cheng et al. (2006).

  28. 28.

    Wood et al. (2000).

  29. 29.

    China MEP (2015).

  30. 30.

    MEP (2015).

  31. 31.

    Zhou et al. (2008).

  32. 32.

    Ibid.

  33. 33.

    ADB (2002).

  34. 34.

    Qi et al. (2015).

  35. 35.

    CCICED (2010).

  36. 36.

    Eswaran et al. (2001).

  37. 37.

    Asian Development Bank (2007).

  38. 38.

    Liu (2014), Xinhua News Agency, State Forestry Administration Bureau Leader on soil desertification in China (in Chinese), www.gov.cn, Jun 16, 2014. Available at: http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2014-06/16/content_2701798.htm.

  39. 39.

    CCICED (2010).

  40. 40.

    Ibid.

  41. 41.

    FAOSTAT (2013).

  42. 42.

    Carter et al. (2012)

  43. 43.

    Liu et al. (2010).

  44. 44.

    Su (2006); Zhao (2013), p. 18.

  45. 45.

    CCICED (2010).

  46. 46.

    Lal (1997).

  47. 47.

    CCICED (2010).

  48. 48.

    Ibid.

  49. 49.

    EPA (1989).

  50. 50.

    China MEP (2013).

  51. 51.

    China MEP (2014).

  52. 52.

    Ibid.

  53. 53.

    Zhao (2013), at 18.

  54. 54.

    Ibid.

  55. 55.

    Walter (2009) and Zhang et al. (2004).

  56. 56.

    NSP generally refers pollution that comes from dispersed sources such as agricultural fields, parking lots, golf course, and etc. See William (2001), p. 1; Zhao (2013), p. 11.

  57. 57.

    Zhao (2013), at 14.

  58. 58.

    Conradie and Field (2000).

  59. 59.

    National Bureau of Statistics of China and Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (2009).

  60. 60.

    Kenneth and Lewis (2009).

  61. 61.

    Ibid.

  62. 62.

    China MEP (2010).

  63. 63.

    Hannam and Qun (2011), at 38.

  64. 64.

    Berry (2003).

  65. 65.

    Huang and Roselle (1995).

  66. 66.

    Deng and Li (2016).

  67. 67.

    Ibid.

  68. 68.

    Li et al. (2011).

  69. 69.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  70. 70.

    Edward (2014).

  71. 71.

    The Department of Research Center of the State Council (2006).

  72. 72.

    Jin et al. (2010).

  73. 73.

    Xu et al. (2007).

  74. 74.

    UN (2004).

  75. 75.

    UN (2007).

  76. 76.

    Liao (2010).

  77. 77.

    Ye and Ranst (2009).

  78. 78.

    Ibid.

  79. 79.

    Ibid.

  80. 80.

    Western China refers to the western part of China. According to the Chinese government, Western China covers one municipality (Chongqing); six provinces (Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai) and three autonomous regions (Tibet, Ningxia, and Xinjiang).

  81. 81.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  82. 82.

    World Bank (2001).

  83. 83.

    More details about the legislation and policy frameworks for land degradation control of China please refer to Chapter 4 of the PRC-GEF partnership report. It systematically summarised the current laws and regulations in this regard. See Hannam and Qun (2011).

  84. 84.

    Ibid, at 42.

  85. 85.

    Ministry of Land and Resources of P.R.C (2015).

  86. 86.

    To effect this proposal, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the Measures for the Administration of Special Funds for the Prevention and Treatment of Soil Pollution in July 2016.

  87. 87.

    China MEP (2016).

  88. 88.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  89. 89.

    Ibid.

  90. 90.

    Ibid. Cited by Hannam and Qun (2011), at 15.

  91. 91.

    Hannam (2007).

  92. 92.

    Anna et al. (2016).

  93. 93.

    Hannam and Qun (2011).

  94. 94.

    Ma and Ortolano (2000).

  95. 95.

    The capacity assessment programme of the PRC-GEF partnership looked at the relevant elements of laws and regulations in relation to soil degradation, which include: objectives and basis of the legislation; administrative management system; administrative regulation; public participation; dispute resolution; and legal liability. Ibid.

  96. 96.

    Zhao (2017), p. 47.

  97. 97.

    Some efforts have been made in the area of contaminated land management in recent years. The Chinese government has also created favourable tax conditions for forest products, in order to make the conversion of farmland to forested land economically sustainable; Ephraim et al. (2016).

  98. 98.

    Tiziano (2016).

  99. 99.

    Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2007).

  100. 100.

    E.g., US adopted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980. CERCLA provides a Federal ‘superfund’ to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites as well as accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants and contaminants into the environment. In the UK, The system for identifying and remediating statutorily defined contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Similar laws can be found in Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan.

  101. 101.

    Although there is no internationally recognised convention on soil environment protection or soil degradation prevention and control, proposals for global soil regime have been made by some distinguished researchers. See, e.g., Boer and Hannam (2015).

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Zhao, X. (2018). Soil Degradation Through Agriculture in China: Its Extent, Impacts and Implications for Environmental Law Reform. In: Ginzky, H., Dooley, E., Heuser, I., Kasimbazi, E., Markus, T., Qin, T. (eds) International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2017. International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy, vol 2017. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68885-5_4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68885-5_4

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