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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2018, Volume 5, Issue 1 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2018203

Using balance of seasonal herbage supply and demand to inform sustainable grassland management on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau

. Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810001, China.. Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China.. Key Laboratory of Alpine Grassland Ecosystem in the Three River Head Waters Region Jointly Funded by Qinghai Province and Ministry of Education, Qinghai Academy of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Xining 810016, China.. State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China

Accepted: 2018-03-08 Available online: 2018-03-21

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To mitigate the impacts of grassland degradation on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP), in recent decades China has been implementing large-scale conservation programs and has invested about 42 billion CNY (7 billion USD). However, these programs are faced with major challenges involving trade-offs between ecological function, livestock production and income of pastoralists. Scientific assessments, as well as technical and policy issues, have not fully captured the complex ecological, social and economic dynamics of the challenges facing grassland management on the QTP. Pastoral livestock production on the QTP is characterized by imbalance in both quality and quantity between livestock seasonal nutrient requirements and herbage production, which forces pastoralists to keep larger numbers of livestock for longer periods, leading to overgrazing. To solve these problems, an integrated crop-livestock system is promoted to improve the efficiency of livestock production and conserve natural grassland as well for a sustainable system for the QTP.

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