PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (2): 161-169.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.02.002

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Assessment of farmers’sustainable livelihoods and future strategies on the Loess Plateau: Based on a survey of 1076 farmers in Yan’an City in Shaanxi Province and Guyuan City in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

TANG Qing1,2, XU Yong1,2, LI Yang1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-08-01 Revised:2012-11-01 Online:2013-02-25 Published:2013-02-07

Abstract: Farmers’sustainable livelihoods have been one of the key issues that deserve the attention from the public since the ecological restoration policy was implemented on the Loess Plateau. Under the background of propelling the formation of major functional zones, the assessment of farmers’sustainable livelihoods is an important premise for ecological restoration and protection as well as the regional sustainable development. By establishing a benefit-assessment model, this paper evaluates and grades the benefits of farmers’sustainable livelihoods, and assesses the differences between the benefits for different types of farmers. The results are shown as follows: The livelihoods income of the farmers with high livelihoods benefit index are generated by diversified livelihood strategies, and the incomes by different strategies tend to share nearly averaged proportions, however, those with low livelihoods benefit index mainly rely on a particular strategy such as going out to work or selling grain and vegetables. Ranking of livelihood benefit index per capita and annual income per capita of farmers of different types is shown as such: developing orchard > doing small business > going out to work > greenhouse planting> raising livestock. Based on the assessment of sustainable livelihoods benefits and the strategy of major functional zones, we put forward future livelihoods strategies for the Loess Plateau in four directions: (1) Impelling population urbanization, guiding the population gradual migration out of ecologically fragile areas; (2) Propelling rural land circulation, enlarging the scale of agricultural production; (3) Promoting livelihood strategies, diversifying the sources of farmers’incomes; (4) Enhancing the technical training, improving the sustainability of farmers’non-agricultural livelihoods.

Key words: future livelihood strategy, livelihood benefit index, Loess Plateau, sustainable livelihoods