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Ecological Migration

Environmental Policy in China

Edited By Masayoshi Nakawo, Yuki Konagaya and Shinjilt

In the context of the current wave of global environmental concern, this book considers measures aimed at solving environmental problems, investigating the example of ecological migration.
The term «ecological migration» refers to the organized migration of people engaged in occupations that cause ecological destruction, aimed at rehabilitating and conserving the affected areas. In the vast arid and semi-arid regions that constitute the steppes of Inner Mongolia, grassland vegetation is in imminent danger due to overgrazing. Therefore, the herders are made to migrate to other areas in order to ensure regeneration of the affected grasslands. This book’s contributions are guided by questions such as: What has been the result of the strategy of ecological migration? Have the grasslands successfully been conserved? And can the desertification of Inner Mongolia be prevented?
The essays collected in this volume originate from a workshop on ecological migration held in Beijing, China, in 2004, and were published in Japanese and Chinese, both in 2005. They have been adopted as a textbook in university classes in Japan and China, and were updated and translated for the English publication.


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III Questioning cultural aspects: What kind of transformationdoes “ecological migration” effect?


Part 3 Questioning cultural aspects: What kind of transformation does “ecological migration” effect? III Cultural acceptance of inhabitants in “ecological migration” from case studies in Xianghuang Banner, Shilingol League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region ALTA Introduction It is estimated that there are approximately seven million people now liv- ing in poverty in rural China, due to difficulties in making a living from deteriorating grasslands. A sizable number of these people are living in Inner Mongolia and other parts of western China. To address this con- cern, the national government has increased investment in these areas and is implementing an “ecological migration” plan that aims to improve the standard of living of the poor by relocating them from degraded ecologi- cal environments. By the end of the 20th century, 2.2 million people, out of a total of more than 3.0 million living in poverty in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, had managed to escape poverty. However, 1.5 million people fell below the poverty line again due to a drought that began in 2000, and in 2001 a further 990,000 people joined the ranks of the poor, bringing to 3.94 million the total number of people living in poverty in agricultural and livestock-raising areas. Of these, 1.5 million were officially designated as “especially poor” (Wuligeng, 2003: 12–14). At this point, the government of the Autonomous Region invested several hundred million yuan in a plan to effect the migration of 650,000 people over a period of six years. Of the 82...

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